On May 25th we hosted a very successful Biodiversity Day in our community hall in Ballinaglera to raise awareness on the state of biodiversity in Leitrim. One of the main purposes of this event was to share the results of the study conducted by ecologist Heather Bothwell on the biodiversity found in the nearby high nature and heritage areas and present an Action Plan to protect the species inhabiting it.

As we wanted this day not to focus just on Leitrim but also on various aspects of biodiversity in order to cover it as broadly as possible, the event saw speeches from several personalities on different topics. These included presentations on the connectivity between water and biodiversity by Karen Kennedy, from the Local Authority Waters Programme; a description of the Leitrim Biodiversity Plan presented by Sustainable Development Officer James Duffy; a discussion on the close links between soil health and biodiversity held by Leitrim organic farmer Tommy Earley; a talk on the WaterLANDS Project currently taking place in the Cuilcagh-Anierin Uplands by John Gallogly, senior agronomist and Project Coordinator and, lastly, a report on the Leitrim Sustainable Agriculture delivered by James Madden, from the Leitrim Sustainable Agriculture Group.  Most importantly of all, Heather Bothwell presented her study of the Ballinaglera area and local Biodiversity action plan.

The key speaker was biologist and national biodiversity champion Éanna Ní Lamhna, who gave a dramatic and sobering depiction of the general state of biodiversity in Ireland.

In the afternoon there was a field trip organised to the local heritage site of St. Hugh’s Well to demonstrate the richness of our biodiversity and built heritage. This also turned out to be an ideal venue to show the impact of Himalayan Balsam, which is invading the local river banks and making them more susceptible to erosion. The participants removed as much as they could, giving them a chance to apply practically what they learned during the morning talks!

The feedback following the event was extremely positive: the community was satisfied with how the day was planned, and found the talks and debates interesting.