2022 'Actions For Pollinators'
We are proactively encouraging biodiversity to thrive in Johnstown.
Actions for Pollinators Pride of Place Award 2022 was presented to volunteers at MCC Buvinda House 12th October.
Encouraged by our first ever entry in 2021 where we hosted 30 sites, our 2022 entry has risen to potentially over 80 public sites and +300 residential gardens contributing.
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Our volunteers are proactively encouraging biodiversity to thrive in Johnstown. Encouraged by our first ever entry in 2021 where we hosted 30 pollinator specific planting sites, our 2022 entry has risen to potentially over 80 public sites with up to 300 residential gardens contributing. Adding to this are our projects to remove weedkiller use from our entire neighbourhood, planting sunflowers trail 2022, and promoting alternative lawn and garden management.
It would be fair to say that since 2020 we have only undertaken pollinator friendly planting and management projects within our neighbourhood.
At the time of submitting this we have 1,400 sunflowers being grown, at least 2 estates (Johnstown Wood Elm & Chestnut and Bailis Downs) looking highly likely to achieve ‘No Mow May’ for approx 20,000 sqm of public lawn. Combined with the recent ‘Don’t Mow Yet’ initiative by MCC for public spaces the community will certainly notice the changes. We intend to continue promoting these positive initiatives with 2 new summer meadows, composting leaves and grass, water efficient planting, and a sustainable approach to public planting displays.
Our projects demonstrate (we make no apology for the huge number that we have underway – our apologies though for the number of pages to read) and we have engaged all ages and abilities within our community to achieve this.
We also conform to the pollinator.ie communities’ actions with steps taken to:
Identify and protect existing areas that are good for pollinators
Signage used to identify the public areas within the local community that are important for pollinators
Protect existing sources of food and shelter for pollinators
Reduce the frequency of mowing grassy areas
Reduce mowing and aim to create a wildflower meadow
Create a short flowering ‘6-week meadow’
Let the Dandelions bloom!
No Mow May
Flowering trees and shrubs
Perennial flowers for pollinators
Annual flowers for pollinators
Pollinator-friendly urban planters
Create new hedgerows
Reduce the use of pesticides
Eliminate the use of pesticides
Ensure best practise where the use of pesticides cannot be avoided
Raise public awareness of pollinators within the local area
Promote the Junior Pollinator Plan
Raise awareness within local businesses
Put up signage
Tracking progress and recognition for efforts
Log your ‘Actions for Pollinators’ on the mapping system
We have follow-up projects to identify what is growing in our project sites, what species benefit from our actions, and how to encourage more through surveys and studies. Our current engagement with schools will hopefully lead to more proactive citizen science projects.
One aspect we’re highly conscious that we have yet to provide are things like man made bug hotels, bird boxes, bird feeders, and nesting sites. We are divided in how to proceed with these since there is conflicting discussion between what is ‘marketed’ as being wildlife friendly and that which mother nature would provide. The ‘designer’ image couldn’t be more different to the simplicity of what is actually useful and healthy. One such example are bird feeders where members have seen first-hand the harm they can do to birds such as goldfinches if not properly cleaned, these are valuable but are not substitutes for planting fruit bushes, hosting meadows with insects and flower seeds etc.
On a smartphone to zoom in and view 'pinch out' with 2 fingers on the screen.
Projects Map Key
(N) New since last entry.
(M) Maintenance of previous entry.
(E) Expansion of an earlier project
(P) Planned project for 2022
Our projects to promote biodiversity and support pollinators can be divided into 3 categories:
1.Wide Area Projects
(E) Johnstown Sunflower Trail
In 2021 we hosted x19 sites (of the x28 potential) with 250 flowers along an 8km trail from July to October. This year we have 4 schools producing 1,400 plants for up to 58 public sites on a 10km walk! We also have up to +300 plants to give to the community to grow in their front gardens to fill gaps in the trail. The next few weeks will decide how many we can achieve.
(E) Green Km: Stop Weedkiller Use
We can't support biodiversity and actively be seen to kill it at the same time.
As part of our green km MCC initiative, we are maintaining 4km of public main roads without weedkillers. Again we will be inviting the community to help by providing free patio scrapers. If our grant appears from the Community Capital Grant we will be implementing the Foamstream treatment over a wider area.
2.Local Planting Areas
Presented in the order of a walking route.
(N) St Martha's Bridge
(M) Bailis Downs Fence Line
Irish Native Wildflowers were sown in 2021 to stop weedkiller use and act as a litter barrier and make collection easier. It also looked amazing, although we have ceased sowing packet seeds in preference for natural wildflowers.
In 2019 we planted 100 crocuses as a pilot project around the bases of trees on the Bailis Downs green. We thought they had all perished in the wet clay soil but some reappeared in Feb 2022!
No's 3,11,14, &19
(N) Native Tree Planting
No's 4, 20, & 21
(N) Navan's Dispersed Urban Orchard
(N) Bailis Downs Wall
A planting scheme that has 5 holly trees as defensive planting and potential for either a sown 'designer wildflower meadow', six-week meadow, or a summer meadow depending on residents' input.
No's 6,13,15, &17.
(N) Estate Marker Stones
(E) Athlumney Hall Verge
(M) Former Petrol Station Verge
No's 10 & 25.
(E) Welcome Signs
The intention is to plant perennial shrubs such as heathers and herbs in June. Unfortunately, the tulips and daffodils planted in 2020 are of no benefit to pollinators but the sunflowers are well loved.
(N) Chestnut & Elm Lawn Summer Meadow
(E) School Roundabout
(M) JPP Corner
Irish Native Wildflowers were sown in 2021 to stop weedkiller use and encourage the community to embrace planting for pollinators. It looked amazing but we have ceased sowing packet seeds in preference for natural wildflowers.
(M) Spireview Lawn Summer Meadow
Residents 2nd year of growing long grass should see new lawn flowers begin to develop. We will repeat the cutting and clearing before our first sowing of Yellow Rattle in August. This aims to reduce the grass content and make space for local wildflowers.
(N) Spireview Parade Summer Meadow
(N) Delay Estate Lawn's First Spring Cut
A non-judgmental survey which we will use to cajole and support those who manage lawns to follow other estates to both save residents money and also benefit pollinators at a time when they need the most support.
(N) Cut Less Often.
(N) Weedkiller-Free Estates
(M) Tree Survey
We simply don't know what trees we host in Johnstown and the benefit they may host as habitats, food, or shelter. Although our survey is very slowly building we aim to engage residents with a kick start by telling us what's in their garden and we'll map it.