Over the last two Monday evenings, Siobhan Thompson – the project lead for Saving Nature in the Area has been working alongside Bryonie and Gemma from Quarto to explore Community Connect with Moss.
Local community members joined us on two walks through the moss, one along the condemned rampart and one on the ramparts behind Derrytresk community centre.
We looked at how the moss has changed and altered over the lifetime of local people, and to get a sense of what is important for you as community and how we could help move this forward.
We had a lot of good discussions with people and have collated insights from those that came along, from local place-names to stories of using special moss shoes and the right way to stack the peat. There were a lot of photos taken and there will be a final workshop on Wednesday the 26th June at Washing Bay Community Centre @ 7.30pm which we hope as many local people will get along to as possible… Children are also welcome to come along and take part…
The curlew have been very active, and our Ornithology team on the ground (which consists of Kendrew Colhoun and Kerry Mackie) have been out monitoring and watching – as well as getting lots of cups of tea, and pieces of cake – they tell me this element is particularly vital and an integral part of the hard work they are doing – and actually it is, as the information they get from you is massively important and helps us shape our project for the current and future benefit of the Curlew and other wildlife.
We are well into the season, the Curlew arrived mid-March and have been busy courting one another, setting up nests, guarding their nests from aerial/ground predators, and trying to get their eggs to the hatching stage.
From our monitoring we have observed one pair has managed to get their eggs to hatching point – as they are ground nesting birds many of the eggs in nests are predated by other birds, or by ground predators, and never get to hatch.
We watched with great excitement as the pair we know got the eggs to hatching stage, but sadly we suspect the chicks that hatched have already been predated.
These birds as ground nesting birds have a lot of contend with and we hope that in years to come we can help manage this local landscape with your help for their benefit. Future funding will include how we can create a benefit for the community as you have been integral in shaping this landscape to date.
Rosalind Lowry our project artist has been working with Kingisland Primary school, and together with the students and staff, has created and painted the beautiful mural you can see on the gable wall… it shows the wonderful wildlife you have in the area, from Curlew, Cuckoo, Meadow Pipits, to Large heath butterfly and insect eating plants known as sundew which are a wonderful plant found on bogs. If you get the chance pop along to see it, it blends in very well with the colourful school grounds. We have also delivered some workshops to the students on Curlew and local wildlife and have been very impressed by the Curlew calls the kids can make…
We will be meeting with Anne Reid the Access and Recreation officer for Mid Ulster Council in the next week – to progress discussion around access and recreation across the site, across ramparts and through the moss – from discussion with many of you we know that this is something that local community would like to see happen – the roads are busy in the area and it’s good to have routes you can take that avoid traffic and lead you through beautiful areas.
We will also be raising the matter of the walk way between Kingsland primary school and Derrytresk community centre – though we have been told this is a matter for the Department of Infrastructure
We are in the final stages of working with the Department of Education over the lease. As with all legal processes it is proving to be one thing that requires patience, and we will keep the community committees informed as to what is happening with this aspect. So please feed any questions with respect to this either directly to me or to your local community committee members and they will pass it on to us.
Upcoming Workshops, and information talks:
- Wednesday 26 June – Exploring community connection to the moss – for all members of local communities to attend at washing Bay Community Centre at 7.30 – 9.30 pm (approx.)
- Wednesday 3rd July – Painting the land – Derrytresk Community Centre – 7.30 – 9.00 pm
- Wednesday 10th July – A Conversation in Clay – Washing Bay Community Centre – 7.30 – 9.00 pm
- Meet the Ornithologist – Update on the moss Curlew & other birds – Date & Venue TBC
- Access & recreation – Consultation with Community – Date & Venue TBC
We welcome feedback on the timings of our workshops – we could hold the last two towards end of July but understand a lot of people may be away – please let us know your thoughts, or ideas for info talks/workshops you would like.
One of the discussions we were having on one of the community walks on the moss was how you do make a peat creel… Has anyone any idea of the local design used? Would you in interested in trying to build couple with us?
Any thoughts and comments let us know… Either on Facebook or by sending email to Siobhan.firstname.lastname@example.org