My name is Siobhan Thompson and I am Natural heritage project officer for Lough Neagh Partnership Ltd.
We have secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver the Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership Programme which aims to address the heritage needs of the Lough and its shoreline on a holistic integrated landscape basis. The Programme will deliver 27 projects that relate directly to the conservation of the Lough’s natural, cultural, and built heritage.
The primary objective of the overarching Saving Nature project is to restore the peatland habitat and wet grassland for birds, waders and other wildlife that live alongside the people and community, in and around the Lough Neagh shore. Alongside this we would like to explore the relationship that the community and its people have with the landscape – from their memories of family life in the area through to their aspirations for the land and how it is used in the future. The programme aims to reinforce the connection the local community has with the surrounding lands and natural heritage
The saving nature programme not only aims to contribute to the protection of both cultural and natural heritage landscapes but encourages partners and local communities to recognize that the future of their regions depends on finding synergies between preserving the cultural and natural values and the sustainable management of both. Communities and social groups experience place through real and imagined facets, to make sense of the world and the stories told therein. The visualisation methodology we hope to apply to the landscape, and in particular the peatlands, of southwest Lough Neagh will be used to join up the dots of the factual and imaginary that form affective networks of identities, which in turn shape local memory, sense of self, community and sense of the past. The project will bring people together to examine how our 21st century sense of place, livelihood and community has been moulded by our links to the environmental, especially processes of water and peatland. It is through these environmental connectivity’s that local actions will be linked to the natural heritage protection and conservation. This work will be delivered in conjunction with Quarto a team of four sisters from Northern Ireland.
We will also be monitoring the Curlew population in the area. Curlew are one of the fastest declining birds in the UK and Breeding populations are becoming increasingly rare – with numbers decreasing in the island of Ireland by 80% in the last ten years – We have employed a team/Curlew Monitoring Officer (CMO) to monitor the breeding population on The Department of Education lands – Starting Tuesday 26th March 2019, the focus of the CMO will be to monitor the area for Breeding Curlew and engage with the local landowners/businesses to raise the profile of the Curlew within the local community. Positive outreach is an integral part of the role and this will be carried out alongside the LNLP team.
We have also engaged an artist Rosalind Lowry to work in the area with different groups and we envisage strong community interest and engagement from different parties and landowners in the area – we will be keen to work with all and will hold some information nights at a number of locations in the area for locals – including Derrytresk Community Centre to let you know what is happening and when – we will advertise these on our facebook page and locally in the communities of South West Lough Neagh.
We are keen to work with all in the community and there will be plenty of opportunity for engagement over the next year – if you have any questions or would like to know more about the project please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org