A new initiative was launched yesterday (Monday 14 October) by The Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership (SLLP) who are inviting local residents to become ‘Coastal Guardians’.
With the support of Action for Biodiversitym which is a project part funded by the European Union’s Regional Development fund through the INTERREG IVA cross border programme, the initiative is encouraging people to take an interest in their own piece of coastline, help record its wildlife and conserve the shore for generations to come.
This is a project on biodiversity, the variety of all living things. The abundance of life on County Down’s shorelines provides us with a beautiful range of plants and animals, perhaps with more still to be discovered. The SLLP would like local people to join them in gathering information on the coastline. Many of the species need to be looked after, not only for their beauty and interest but because they are essential in keeping the balance of this beautiful landscape, in which we are all so lucky to live.
SLLP Heritage officer Anna Liesching said: “This is an opportunity to learn the story of the vast flocks of birds that migrate here every winter, enjoy the striking colours of our wildflowers and make a difference to the future of this exceptional part of the world. All whilst enjoying meeting new people and joining together to learn about and look after our coast.
“There will be learning activities and workshops through the SLLP’s partnerships with other organisations, such as the National Trust. Volunteers can build skills and knowledge in bird watching, plant life, monitoring of conditions and care of the coast.
“The Partnership also wants volunteers to have their say in the events and activities; this is a project that will grow with its members.”
Abby McSherry from Action for Biodiversity is also enthusiastic about this new project and added: “In every drop of water there is a story of life and in every grain of sand there is a story of the earth, and the story of our coast should be told, shared, protected and celebrated and that is what this project will do”.
Whether you want to catch sight of a heron in sheltered coves, spot seal pups of the shore or see a school of porpoise chasing up the lough, please contact the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership and help us become a part of the legacy of this fascinating place.