4. Nature and Biodiversity in Your Locality

Doing our best to enhance and support our community includes looking after our wildlife, flora, and fauna.

Competition Guide Notes:

Show your understanding and awareness of nature and biodiversity in your locality. This may include protected areas and/or areas important for conservation e.g. waterways, field boundaries, coastal features etc. Show an appreciation of how your local species and habitats should be best managed and protected. Evidence of co-operation with expert groups and relevant authorities, especially in carrying out work in sensitive areas is desirable. 

2022-23 Summary

Wide Area Projects

Sunflower Trail

Engaging our whole community in planning, nurturing, and celebrating.

Our 2022 display engaged several classes from of our 4 schools, several local businesses, Meath County Council departments of Environment, Transport and Maintenance, and Heritage, Navan IDA and 5 businesses, and 3 local sporting clubs to host nearly 50 displays and over 600 sunflowers.

2022 Sunflower Trail

For 2023 more than 50 sites have been suggested, and we are germinating 1400 sunflowers. We've taken the opportunity to change the trail route to include the newly opened Milbrook to Johnstown Wood pedestrian link together with alternative paths. 

We've greatly increased the scale of the potential display by continuing with our existing school growing teams and asking local volunteers from several residential estate groups to germinate an extra 500 seeds with the aim of them asking their neighbouring residents to grow these sunflowers in their front gardens and fill in the gaps between display sites.

2023 Sunflower Trail

2023 Logo, April to September

Annual Growth

Over the past 3 years, the trail has increased in scale as we draw in more members from the community to help participate.

 2021 Trail

2022 Trail

Proposed 2023 Trail

Community Biodiversity Action Plan

We're delighted to receive a €5,000 grant to create a Community Biodiversity Action Plan for Johnstown from The Community Foundation For Ireland. This grant will enable us to gain feedback from qualified ecologists to identify what biodiversity Johnstown currently has and the actions that we can undertake to support wildlife within our neighbourhood.

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January 19th

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. We were unsuccessful in seeking the Community Capital Grant for the Foamstream treatment and resorted to Plan C with help from Meath County Council. 

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August 24th

Project Sites

(M) St Martha's Bridge

Our x30 planters were 100% pollinator-friendly flowering from early June to late October.

(P) Bothar Sion Bank

Our proposed sculpture and biodiversity planting project in collaboration with Wild About Navan and Cllr Yemi Adenuga, initially proposed to MCC in 2021, has been put on hold. The results from an ecology report highlighted the considerable biodiversity value with over 50+ valued species within the banks.

(M) Bailis Downs Fence Line

The Bothar Sion Fence Line Native Irish Wildflowers originally came from an expensive seed packet and since each flower produces hundreds of seeds we've collected these.

This summer's 2nd-year display was quite different to the vivid red poppies. yellow, orange, & blue cornflowers pictured. This year we've intervened to cast a few collected seeds to add some vibrant colour next year.

October 25th, 2022

(N&M) Dispersed Urban Orchard

Together with the upkeep of the 12 fruit trees planted last year Johnstown has obtained another site for 5 trees as part of the Wild About Navan Dispersed Urban Orchard project.

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Bailis Downs Orchard, January 20th

(M) Bailis Downs Wall

The scheme didn't develop beyond the 5 holly trees of 2022 due to differences of opinion and management ideas. Despite native wildflowers including dandelions but largely nettles taking hold and providing a thriving insect home, unbeknown to us, a resident chose to spray weedkiller over the strip and the nearby verges. To hide the scars and suppress unwanted weed growth we plan to sprinkle grass cuttings until the situation can be resolved.

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(M) Athlumney Hall Verge

We added 60m of path edging to prevent soil from spilling onto the pavement but we didn't anticipate many of the fruit and herb plants being stolen. Due to the noticeable loss, we let the native flowers take over and flower through spring. We will remove the ragwort as requested by Meath County Council, the rapeseed has likely come from the nearby farmland, and we're working to identify the others.

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(P) Crocus Bank

We didn't have the available manpower and time to plant our spring bulbs ion the banks of Athlumney Hall last autumn so a temporary home was sought in a spare patch of a volunteer's garden. Here's a preview of what will appear next year on the lawn of the Athlumney Hall bank on Metges Road. The 1,000 bulb mixture includes crocus and hyacinth.

April 25th

(P) Bus Stop Planting

Due to the loss of plants at the nearby Athlumney Verge site we have paused this project until we can secure volunteers living close by who will monitor any planting.

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(M) Former Petrol Station Verge

Transformed from scorched poisoned earth to host climbers, wildflowers, and summer meadow we were prevented from planting replacement climbers in late Spring 2022 due to the heatwave, and then later in the Autumn torrential rain and wind. The staff at O'Brien's Bar and Restaurant hosted these climbers on their rooftop dining area and this promoted our group to guests and provided them with plants. One year later they've grown but we've abandoned plans for planting climbers at the Petrol Station site since there is so much hard concrete/tarmac surface resulting in insufficient water available in the ground. 2 other sites have been proposed: the Dunville wire fence and the Bothar Sion wildflower fence.

The Petrol Station is now managed as a wild area with a regularly mowed edge and cleared grasses in Autumn. For those keen on foraging for summer fruit then raspberries, planted in 2018, finally appeared this summer.

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Metges Rd, Spring 2022
Roof top plants, August 24th
Berries Appear, August 11th

(N&M) Native Tree Planting

Donated by MCC last year 5 Holly trees were 'grown on' in pots for another year to give them a head start. Now planted along the lawn next to the boulders in Johnstown Wood they should help deter a motorist from attempting to cross the green again.

Half a dozen new native trees provided by MCC were planted by residents to extend the tree line on Metges Road. 

Together with the maintenance of trees previously planted it is hoped that as traffic increases along this road in the coming years that these trees will form a pleasant noise barrier that also benefits pollinators and birds.

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Johnstown Wood Estate, February 1st
Metges Rd, April 19th

(M) Wild Area

A completely 'wild' area where we're doing very little except to leave the space alone to see what grows. After walking the site with the Biodiversity Plan ecologist we have agreed to 'do nothing' to the site until we receive feedback from his report.

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Johnstown Wood, Spring 2022

(M) Chestnut Elm Meadow

The grass grew long over the summer and we used traditional scythes which proved effective and with a little practice it's fairly quick and reasonably simple to use. The grass cuttings were composted via Meath County Council before yellow rattle seeds were sown.

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September 24th

(N&P) Estate Marker Stones

We didn't get the required volunteers from nearby residents from the 4 estates along Metges Road. We still have the rudbeckia goldsturm planted and growing in pots. 

A pilot attempt to grow clover and some native wildflowers at the Johnstown Wood Roundabout failed to germinate. This was likely due to the brief torrential Autumn rain and winds.

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Johnstown Wood Roundabout, August 31st

(M) School Roundabout

Additional pollinator friendly bulb planting involving Colaiste Na Mi students in Autumn 2021 for the Gaisce - The President's Award flowered in Spring 2022 and was followed by our Sunflower Trail. 

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August 2022

(N) Seeds of Change

We're looking forward to seeing what students and staff at Colaiste na Mi Secondary School create to support our local pollinators. We've provided some native seeds Keelings and a selection of plants donated to us from MCC.

Native Irish Wildflower Seed Packet, March 15th

(M) JPP Corner

The Irish Native Wildflowers sown in 2021 to stop weedkiller use and encourage the community to embrace planting for pollinators have proved problematic to council landscapers. No Mow May resulted in the wildflowers being mistaken for long grass and being cut down to the ground. This happened in both 2022 and again this year. The results are not beneficial to the slower growing wildflowers and grass is rapidly returning into the flower bed.

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2021 Wildflowers

(N) Donated Tree Planting

Over the past few years we've recieved many unwanted plants and general objects such as this cherry tree, given to us by a resident in the Orchard Estate, and 2 ash trees found growing in a nearby garden lawn are replanted in the Boyne Estate lawn along Metges Road. 

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Boyne Estate, February 14th

(M) Spireview Lawn Meadow

Many thanks to Meath County Council for agreeing to take our collected meadow grass to the recycling centre. 25 brown waste bins worth have now been composted from our meadows.

Immediately after Irish Yellow Rattle seed was sown on the bank to hopefully see nature's lawnmower flower in early summer.

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November 3rd 

(M) Spireview Parade Summer Meadow

The unloved area where we offered to manage a summer meadow to resolve the issues of the lack of commitment to regular traditional maintenance has yet to be embraced. The occasional attempt to cut back the grass by residents has not had the financial support of any residents and therefore the longer grass is returning, albeit unmanaged.

We have reapproached key residents to see if our support will be welcomed.

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(P) Spireview Steps

An opportunity to resolve antisocial behaviour and to 'beautify' an essential link is still yet to progress. We included the site in our 2022 Sunflower Trail but unfortunately, vandals removed the entire display of 15 sunflowers within 48hrs.

We will revisit the proposal perhaps with wildflowers or planting mature fruiting bushes.

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Regular litter clean-ups are needed.

(M) Kilcarn Bridge Field

Benefiting biodiversity by being natural the owner is continuing to let mother nature take over.

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Neighbourhood Initiatives

(M) 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. 

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(M) Cut Less Often. 

Similar intention to delaying the first Spring cut will allow lawn flowers to develop and flower more often over vast areas. 

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(M) Weedkiller-Free Estates

This is an extension of our public road work to control weeds without using harmful chemicals. The non-judgmental survey could encourage estate managers to do the same. 

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(M) Pollinator Gardens 

The register on pollinators.ie has gotten off to a slow start across Ireland. We're aiming to put Johnstown on the map with a kick start.

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(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. 

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(M) Hedgerow Survey

First of 3 survey stages aims to raise awareness that our suburban neighbourhood already has the backbone for pollinator corridors. 

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