Watering Between Showers
Even though it's been an extremely wet few weeks the flower boxes on St Martha's Bridge still need watering.
Together with the Sunflower Trail flowers we use rainwater collected in water butt's at volunteers homes around Johnstown.
The bees, hoverflies, and butterflies seem to love the colourful flowers on the Bridge as much as we do.
More Sites Planted
This year we're very short of volunteers who are available to both plant sunflowers and more importantly to regularly water them. We will make a final push to get as many in the ground before they flower in the next few weeks.
This year we entered Johnstown into the Best Town category of the Navan Pride of Place Awards. Today was an opportunity to show the work to visiting judges that our volunteers have undertaken in the past 12mths.
Weeding Lap 2 Ends
Volunteers came to help complete the 2nd lap of Johnstown's 4km 'MCC Greem Km Initiative' where we cleared the roadside weeds without the use of chemicals.
Find out why we're doing this and why you should also play your part.
Anti Grass Seed
The yellow rattle wildflowers sown at Spireview Lawn summer meadow have seeded in their name sake rattle pods. Subject to some dry weather we'll be out to harvest these before cutting back the meadow.
100% Weed Killer Free
It's great to see that our involvement in Meath County Council's Green Km Initiative has removed 100% of the use of weedkillers along the entire 8km roadside perimeter of Bothar Sion of Metges Road. The final few hundred metres of the IDA fence line was strimmed by our volunteers instead of any chemical treatment.
Helping Neighbouring Groups
Volunteers donated their time and some of our sunflowers to help The Courtyard Flower Hill Residents Group and their Pride of Place Entry.
Delaying the planting by 2 weeks compared to previous years has allowed some of the sunflowers to shoot up.
You can follow our planting progress here and of course see the sites yourself.
Weeding Lap 2 Begins
With 8km of pavements to weed it's a time-consuming task and one that we cannot win without more volunteers lending a helping hand. With the assistance of Meath County Council clearing up the debris 2 people are able to weed 2km of the route within 2hrs.
Find out why we're doing this and why you should also play your part.
'Thank You' to Darragh and all the students and staff at Ard Ri NS for growing over 200 sunflowers for our trail.
Gathering the Tribe
Working with Wild About Navan the first community event of 'Gather The Tribe' was held at the Solstice Theatre and attended by those interested in "protecting nature, cultivating connections, sharing local knowledge and building capacity."
The aim of this event was "to empower our community to work better together on local issues."
Join Wild About Navan and do more to improve our wider neighbourhood.
Clean Up Time
I will be starting a new litter Picking Roster in Johnstown next week. Hopefully, with enough people involved, we can get out on a daily basis.
If you would like to get involved please PM the page.
'Dropped sleeping bags and food to a young couple who have been homeless for more than a week.
Met another man tonight who was sacked from his job and evicted from his home on the same day. I gave him a tent and a sleeping bag. I visited six homeless people in total tonight, sleeping on the streets of Navan.
Thanks to Sharon Lynch for her help tonight and to @smiths_supervalu_navan for the goodies they gave me today for the homeless.'
When graffiti appears it's usually very unsightly and time-consuming to remove. Dunville and its surroundings recently experienced an overload of unwanted scribbles on many walls that have shocked residents.
The house purchased at the end of St Martha's Bridge could be a stepping stone to the homeless crisis in County Meath.
A very exciting proposal has been put to Meath County Council ofering the Council the opportunity to be a leader in the provision of homeless services for families in the country.
For every family entering emergency accommodation its a very traumatic experience but for children it must be terrifying.
Last months homeless figures showed 94 children in Meath living in emergency accommodation.
With only one family HUB in the County run by the Fr McVerry Trust its very obvious that with 94 children homeless in the county we are in dire need of extra beds.
But remember this project is not only offering a bed its offering a space where children can leave their homeless trauma behind enjoy four acres of gardens while their parents receive the surround supports they need to help them exit homelessness.
I would urge all our Meath public representatives to get behind this project and to encourage Meath County Council to sign up to the plan and lead the way in family emergency accommodation in the country.
Thanks to Amanda Geraghty & Graham Gerathy, and Athboy's People Who Care and Share Group for preparing all the food hampers today.
They will be delivered today and tomorrow by @johnstowntidytowns1 volunteers Navan and the surrounding areas.
Thanks also to @smiths_supervalu_navan for supporting our outreach service with tasty goodies for the homeless.
'No Mow May' or 'No €ash to Cut'?
An interesting post on Navan South 27/5 expressed a few social concerns together with some misconceptions about long grass.
Here we highlight just a few of the points with our explanations:
Cash saving isn't the reason for Council participation in any of the 'Don't Mow' initiatives - they're trialing more environmentally responsible solutions for every type of public grass lawn, and these will initially cost more.
The 31 days of May is a particularly crucial time for creatures seeking food, shelter, and safety. However, it doesn't end since there are also 11 more months when those creatures need life support!
Individuals will always express a preference for what looks aesthetically 'nice' rather than what is 'healthy'. It really depends on whether we want a future to 'live in' too.
Short-cut lawn grass is a food desert to biodiversity and carries the highest financial cost to people.
For many decades we've been sold products that kill because it has profited billionaire corporations. For a few recent decades, we've been told that we're poisoning our planet. For decades to come, we will struggle to change our ways, and it will be very uncomfortable.
Wildflower seed packets make vibrant, colourful flowering, pollinator-friendly garden displays. Since they are manmade they require anual mainenance to remove highly invasive grasses, require anual cut, reseeding, before autumn clearing of huge volumes of green waste and are therefore not suitable for public verges or lawns. These do not create natural low-maintenance environments even if they contain 100% native plants - we don't live in Connemara where most of our native seeds are collected.
There are a few lawn areas within local estates where money isn't available to regularly cut grass and so we watch with interest to see what solutions residents try.
Not Everything Goes To Plan
A misunderstanding on the scale of our project has resulted in our Metges Rd Summer Meadow being turned into a narrow verge.
Despite 500sqm of yellow rattle seeds appearing and coming into flower we'll need to reseed in autumn to get nature's lawnmower to take hold.
Gathering The Tribe
We are gathering people together who are interested in cultivating connections, sharing local knowledge, protecting nature, and building capacity, to empower our community to work better together on local issues.
Lovely to see that our autumn sowing of 'Nature's Lawnmower' is starting to flower in the summer meadow bank of Spireview Lawn.
'Yellow Rattle' is a semi-parasitic plant that attaches itself to the roots of grasses to reduce its vitality and make space for native wildflowers.
Volunteers quickly came forwards to help germinate sunflower seeds on mass. Each has a compost bag with 40 seeds to care for and between the dozen resident volunteer growers we hope to have over 1,000 plants to add to our 2023 Sunflower Trail.
Pictured is an ingenious bird and pet defense barrier plus an eagle eye to keep the slugs away.
Bothar Sion Weeds
Volunteers continue weeding our Green Km main roads from St Martha's Bridge to the roundabout and halfway to the Johnstown School Campus. Thanks again to MCC for sweeping up and collecting the debris.
Cycle Week 2023
Navan Cycling Initiative host an 'Intro to the #BVLCGreenway' cycle, an inclusive family-friendly event for all, taking place on Sunday 14th May, along the new greenway in Navan.
Today we distributed compost and seeds to staff and students at St Marys Special School, Ard Ri, and St Stephens Primary Schools. Colaiste Na Mi Secondary School will soon hopefully join them in germinating 800 sunflowers for this year's Johnstown Sunflower Trail.
We'll also soon be asking members of the community to help germinate a further 800 to fill in the gaps between our display sites to make the trail even more exciting.
A very big Thank You to The Grow Shop for providing the compost and our thanks too to Beechmount Garden Centre for obtaining the seeds for us.
Weeding Without Chemicals
Having had our funding request for the Foamstream System declined last year, a chemical-free weed removal system, today volunteers resorted to manually cutting off the weed heads. South Metges Road was cleared with the help of MCC who followed us with the road sweeper to collect and remove the debris.
As part of our Green Km we still have north Metges Rd, Bothar Sion and the School approach road to clear if there are any willing volunteers ready to help.
Our aim is to make this a monthly event to keep Johnstown herbicide free.
Missed Opportunity Comes Good
We didn't have the available manpower and time to plant our spring bulbs in their intended place 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.
No Mow May
Shortly we'll be calling on the community to put away their lawnmowers for May. Play your part in ensuring that biodiversity has a fighting chance this year by letting lawns grow. This will provide food, shelter, and security for so many creatures - and you'll soon have lawn flowers too!
Play your part at home by joining #NoMowMay
More Metges Rd Trees
Half a dozen new native trees provided by MCC were planted by residents to extend the tree line on Metges Road.
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.
Late First Lawn Cut
Delaying the first lawn cut of the year isn't easy when Easter keeps moving around and when many decide to revisit their gardens and children want to play outside. Several estate lawns did however benefit and the display of dandelions turned Johnstown yellow.
Don't Mow Yet
Last year MCC allowed certain verges and roundabouts to grow the grass longer than usual. This is to allow wildflowers to appear and to provide a better habitat for biodiversity. Metges Road has been a flurry of dandelions already and we're about to help improve the presentation by clearing the cyclepath weeds and edging some of the verges. If you can help please get in touch with us.
Play your part at home by joining #NoMowMay
Bike Share Scheme
10 bike parking locations around Navan will be rolled out in June for a 12mth trial. Navan Cycling Initiative has raised concerns that the remaining cycle infrastructure won't commence until 2024. We don't yet know the locations and if any sites are in Johnstown.
Well done to the Saturday morning volunteers who came from all across Navan to clear up over 20 bin bags from the Ramparts. Organised by our local Wild About Navan team we continue to work with and support environmental groups who go the extra mile to enhance and care for our neighbourhood.
The cans and bottles that had accumulated over the years have now been collected by MCC.
Sunflower Trail 2023
Proposed sites are shaping up this year's trail. The new formal Milbrook and Johnstown Wood 'Gap' pedestrian link has opened up a new possibility for our neighbourhood looped route.
Riverside Clean Up
The River Boyne is one of our best local features and the Community is being asked to come together and take part in the 'Big Boyne Clean-up' 11am this Saturday, 1st April.
Our nearest meeting place will be at the Ramparts and everything you'll need is provided. Please let them know you're coming by registering here: https://forms.gle/wMGXf9V9JTnBweJM8
If you regularly walk the Athlumney Riverside Trail through the IDA woods between Kilcarn and St Martha's Bridges then please do take a litter bin bag with you on your walk and help keep our local riverside area clean.
Great to see teamwork in action again and making a positive difference in the community.
Many thanks to John Rochfort Property Maintenance for giving up his morning to clean the St Martha's Bridge railings. We don't appreciate how dirty it gets until you see it shine after the pressure washing.
Thank you also to Navan RFC for providing the water.
Old Johnstown Makeover
Cllr. Emer Tóibín informs us that the Town Council Meeting has discussed a proposal for a makeover to Old Johnstown Village if URDF funding comes through. The Council has bought 1.7 acres that includes the vacant and derelict old stone house opposite Mace and the corner site surrounding it.
The indicative plans show a public plaza area that will form the focal heart of Old Johnstown, a cycle lane, and redevelopment for mixed-use. Conceptual plans show 14 townhouses,8 apartments, and 5 commercial units.
Concerns about levels and speed of traffic have been an issue for some time and will be further addressed at a later date.
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 and a selection of plants.
As part of our Community Biodiversity Action Plan we engaged ecologist Fintan Damer to create a baseline. We're not short of potential study areas such as the River Boyne, wooded, grassed, and even wild pocket areas within estates. Our aim is to develop a series of positive biodiversity actions that members of our community can implement and develop in the coming years.
We've already started recording our projects, we need to record our native wildflowers, and continue mapping our trees, we need to record our visiting garden wild birds, and later this spring after dusk you might get a chance to see some of our local bats.
📷Adaptation of Meath Photography
More Tree Planting
Thank you to Meath County Council for providing 30 native species trees for us to plant in Johnstown during National Tree Week. Perhaps we'll extend last year's planting along Metges Road. You can help us to record what trees are in your street! See our website for more information.
National Tree Week is 19th-26th March. Find out more visit https://www.treecouncil.ie/
Dalgan Park Biodiversity
Three members were invited to attend a private biodiversity tour of Dalgan Park hosted by members of Wild About Navan. We gained a new insight into the native mosses, lichen, wildflowers, trees, animals, and birds by following the trail that will be familiar to many.
Keep an eye on their social media pages to see if you can join them for future tours.
Hosted by MCC at the Trim Castle Hotel TrimTidy Towns, winners in 2022, presented a seminar and tour of their 'Tidier Town'.
It's been a long time coming and no one was sure whether or not the wall would be filled in again!
Work has been underway by MCC for a few days to ensure that the old 'Gap in the Wall' is to become permanently fully accessible.
We're now hoping that our Sunflower Trail 2023 can include this route.
We’re included in the current round of the Tesco Ireland Community Fund in Navan. If you’re shopping in this store over the next few weeks, we’d really appreciate if you’d vote for us using your blue token.
Green Clear Up
Tree branching locally has taken place during winter and the collection amassed a large pile of debris for MCC to collect from the JPP.
Overhanging low branches posed a hazard to pedestrians and cyclists along the Priory, Boyne, and Athlumney Hall estates and these were clipped back.
MCC contractors removed more substantial low branch pruning in estates previously 'taken in charge' such as Bailis Downs and Athlumney Wood in January.
The 'Most Innovative Idea' prize at this year's Intel Mini-Scientist competition has been won by two 6th class students from St Stephen's NS. Their project entitled 'One Step Ahead' focused on creating renewable electricity from everyday tasks.📷 Read More In The Meath Chronicle
Donated Tree Planting
A cherry tree was 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.
If you have unwanted plants or even trees please let us know.
Holly Tree Planting
Donated by MCC last year they 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.
We've teamed up with Wild About Navan to collaborate in a 5-week Heritage Keepers workshop with The Heritage Council and Burrenbeo Trust.
We're hoping to create a project in April that celebrates something about Navan.
Disappointing to see graffiti sprayed anywhere near Old Kilcarn Bridge. As Navan's 2nd oldest bridge the orange paint doesn't add anything positive. Fortunately it's only on the tarmac and this paint will eventually weather and fade.
Please report graffiti asap.
Often filled with litter the hedge trim at the Beech Estate, Johnstown Wood, outside the Johnstown School Campus has dramatically opened up the area. Local residents hope that it will deter late-night gatherings by youths.
3 of the fruit tree stakes in Bailis Downs needed replacing after less than 12mths.
Johnstown Set To Create A Biodiversity Action Plan
Fantastic news! We're delighted to announce that The Community Foundation For Ireland is providing us with a €5,000 grant to create a Community Biodiversity Action Plan for Johnstown.
JTT has come a long way in recent years with our actions promoting and supporting pollinators within Johnstown. This grant will enable us to go much further by working alongside qualified ecologists to identify what biodiversity Johnstown currently has and the actions that we can undertake to support wildlife within our neighbourhood.
We are currently seeking volunteers from local residents, businesses, clubs, and schools to participate in this project. If you're interested in finding out more message us or email JohnstownTidyTowns@Gmail.com.
Volunteer Drivers Needed
Volunteers continue to deliver Food Hampers to local families in need every Saturday morning.
You can help by getting in touch with Alan Lawes 0851757216
The view from Metges road doesn't show the amount of tree and scrub clearance carried out via MCC. The woodland area next to Bailis Village and seen here from within the IDA might appear severe but the volume of water now in the ditch emphasises the need to keep the water flowing.
In December Meath County Council inquired as to the origin of significant hedge and grass clippings dumped on the side of Metges Road opposite The Priory estate. It was identified as being household waste illegally dumped.
During works to clear the drainage channels the waste was removed and 2 'No Dumping' signs erected.
Johnstown's Fruit Orchards Expand
Wild About Navan have engaged another Johnstown estate to join the Navan Dispersed Urban Orchard.
Residents will plant 6 new trees in the next few weeks and increases the number of fruit trees in public space to 18.
More about the project here www.wildaboutnavan.ie/wildaboutdispersedorchards
The Meath Chronicle report, Jan 7th, on the Navan Municipal District Council Meeting where it was revealed that over 4 acres of land at the Dunville estate is finally being released to the Council.
After 20 years of asking will Johnstown gain a community building this year?