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. 

2023-24 Summary

Wide Area Projects

(N) Johnstown Community Biodiversity Action Plan

in 2023 we were delighted receive a €5,000 grant from The Community Foundation For Ireland to create a Community Biodiversity Action Plan for Johnstown. 

A series of surveys throughout 2023 by ecologist Fintan Damer highlighted species of flora and fauna and opportunities to support biodiversity. The report has now been produced and we are discussing a plan of action to communicate and implement the proposals.

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May 2nd

County Meath Biodiversity Action Plan

Wild About Navan together with Ben Malone, the Meath Biodiversity Officer, on the Biodiversity Action Plan on May 8th, Wednesday evening at 7.30pm at the Solstice. 

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May 3rd

(N) Green School Talk

From Coláiste Na Mí

'Today our Green Schools Committee welcomed Councillor Alan Lawes, Ben Malone (biodiversity officer with Meath County Council) and Robin (Johnstown Tidy Towns) to our school. 

Our guests spoke to students on all things biodiversity. During this visit students learned about pesticides and the effects that they can have on our wildlife and water. Huge thanks to Alan, Ben and Robin for taking time out of their busy schedule to come in and chat with us. '

January 23rd

(N) Student Volunteers

From Coláiste Na Mí

Today was a day of action for our Coláiste Na Mí Green School Committee and Coordinator Iníon Elliot!

Together, they took charge of cleaning up the road leading to our school. Our incredible students worked hard, scraping weeds to prevent harmful pesticides from being sprayed and protecting our water from contamination. Plus, they did a fantastic job clearing away litter, making our environment cleaner and healthier for everyone.

A huge shoutout to Alan A Lawes and Robin from Johnstown Tidy Towns, as well as Tuscany Pizzeria, for their incredible support. They treated us to a delicious well-deserved lunch after our efforts!

A massive thank you to everyone involved for making today both productive and enjoyable. Let's keep working together for a greener, cleaner future!

#coláistenamí #CNM2023 #cleanup #tidytowns #johnstown

December 12th

(M) Green Km

Our Green (4) Km supported biodiversity for the first time with both longer-grown grass verges and pesticide & herbicide-free pavement and curb weed removal.

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 'Don't Mow Yet' May 27th
Students and Council, December 12th

(M) Sunflower Trail

Following the success of 2022 we took the opportunity to expand and proposed over 50 sites with two routes. The 4 local school students participated in germinating and growing flowers for the public spaces. The local 'Grow Shop' generously donated over 40 compost bags and 10 local residents agreed to germinate an extra 500 seeds in their own gardens for sharing amongst their neighbours' front gardens to fill in the 'trail gaps'.

The weather ultimately decided the success of the trail and the germination of 1400 sunflowers was severly hampered by the very wet and unseasonal cool weather. The small plants were more susceptible to hungry slugs (we didn't encourage slug pellets) and coupled with the slow plant growth the final crop was less than 20%. This resulted in only 16 display sites. 

The 2024 trail has been abandoned due to a number of key volunteers being unavailable during critical months of May, June, and early July. We hope to have the sunflower trail re-established in 2025. 

2023 Sunflower Trail

2023 Logo, April to September

Proposed 2023 Trail

Project Sites

(M&N) St Martha's Bridge Flower Displays Map Ref 1

For the first time we hosted both Summer and Winter flower display at St Martha's Bridge with both being extremely well received by followers on social media. 

The Summer emphasis was pollininators whilst the over-winter plants added delicate colour during the darker colder months.

Thank you to Navan Garden Centre for the Summer display and Beechmount Garden Centre for creating our first ever autumn display.

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Summer Display

June 26th to November 3rd 2023

Autum, Winter, and Spring Display

November 2023 to June 2024

(P) Bothar Sion Bank Map Ref 2

Our initial proposal for a sculpture and biodiversity planting project in collaboration with Wild About Navan and Cllr Yemi Adenuga, initially proposed to MCC in 2021, is still on hold. The results from an ecology report highlighted the considerable biodiversity value with over 50+ valued species within the banks that meant we should significantly scale back the project. The forthcoming Council elections may determine if funding for this project is available.

(P) Bus Stop Planting Map Ref 8

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.

We have a volunteer trialing the sowing of clover lawn to see if this will be a suitable proposal for the grass bank instead of planting.

If successful we propose removing the grass from the Johnstown roundabouts Map Ref 18 & 38 and replacing with clover 

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(M) Bailis Downs Fence Line Map Ref 4

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.

The summer's 2nd-year display was quite different to the vivid red poppies. yellow, orange, & blue cornflowers pictured. We intervened to cast a few collected seeds in 2023 to add some vibrant colour but very few germinated but they were noticeable but the grass is overpowering the site.

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Year 1, 2021
Year 2, October 25th, 2022
Year 3, July 26th 2023

(M) Dispersed Urban Orchard Map Ref 5,22 and 23

17 trees now for the contribution by Johnstown to the Wild About Navan Dispersed Urban Orchard project.

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Bailis Downs Orchard, January 20th

(Complete) Bailis Downs Wall Map Ref 6

The neighbour disliked the wildflower proposal so much that they removed the vegetation, leveled it, and sowed grass lawn seeds. This therefore concludes the project site.

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(M) Athlumney Hall Verge Map Ref 7

We continue to allow the strip to evolve although at times we have cut it back to make it more presentable. In the spring it is full of dandelions and the rosemary flowers, a few colourful wildflowers emerge during summer. The challenge is over winter when it looks at its least appealing. 

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(M) Former Petrol Station Verge Map Ref 10

We continue to maintain the bank as a summer meadow with no significant changes since 2023, and the raspberries reappeared in autumn.

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Metges Rd, Spring 2022
Berries Appear, August 11th

(P&M) More Metges Rd Trees Map Ref 12 & 15

We plan to double the length of the planting area along Metges Road east side and to double it's depth Trees received from MCC in March 2024 have been put into temporary pots ready for planting in the coming days/autumn.

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Metges Rd, April 19th 2023

(M) Wild Area Map Ref 13

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 Estate Summer Meadows Map Ref 15

Now into our 3rd season it is visble to passing vehicles along the busy Metges Road and is quite accepted by the public with no complaints received. The sea of dandelions soon swells with grasses, we edge the plot with our lawn mower, and it severely cut back in September. A mix up with the grass contractor meant we lost the vast majority of yellow rattle. 

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 April 15th
One foot tall grasses, occasional weeds, and early sighting of yellow rattle. May 25th
September 13th

(N&P) Estate Marker Stones Map Ref 16

We expected clover in early Spring 2023 but only the native Irish wildflowers appeared, even the Rudbeckia Goldsturm's, previously held back in pots before planting in July, didn't appreciate the soil or location.

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Johnstown Wood Roundabout, August 31st 2022
August 23rd 2023

(M) JPP Corner  Map Ref 29

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. The wildflowers have not quite recovered from previous early mowings and we sust=pect that we will need to reseed if we wish to retain the display.

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2021 Wildflowers

(M) Spireview Lawn Summer Meadow Map Ref 24

Yellow rattle thrived here made a brief appearance before turning brown for autumn harvesting by volunteers.

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Yellow rattle flowers, May 18th

(M) Spireview Parade Summer Meadow Map Ref 25

We have left the area to Mother Nature since it is not resolved for us to manage the site as a summer meadow. This is still benefiting biodiversity although cutting it in September is the concerning issue.

 The unloved area where we offered to manage a summer meadow in 2022 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.

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(P) Spireview Steps Map Ref 26

Still on Hold awaiting a partnership with The Old Johnstown Village Community Tidy Towns Group

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 Map Ref 32

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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