Launch of Rathlin's Local Biodiversity Action Plan

Friday 20 November 2015

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A large groups of island residents turned up to Bruce's Kitchen on Tuesday afternoon for the official launch of Rathln's Local Biodiversity Action Plan. Both the island's Tuesday Club and the pupils and staff of St Mary's Primary School had been centrally involved in the formation of the Plan, which used the island's twenty two townlands as a way of exploring Rathlin's very special flora and fauna.

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Speaking at the event, Michael Cecil, Chair of the RDCA said that the process had been a very rewarding one for all involved, and represented a very strong harnessing of local community knowledge and energy. Jane McVeigh, Principal of St Mary's Primary School on the island praised the school's pupils who had worked very hard on the project, and who had in particular worked well with the members of the Tuesday Club.

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Peter Cush

The guest speaker was Peter Cush, who had recently retired from the Northern Ireland Enviroment Agency, and who had been a key support in helping the Rathlin community form their Action Plan, as well as being heavily involved with the school's recent Great Auk project. Peter went out of his way to highlight that Rathlin's Plan was truly a distinctively local one, and that it had genuinely grown out of the island community.

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The staff and pupils of St Mary's with Michael Cecil and Peter Cush

This stage of the Biodiversity Action Plan process was represented both by the official launch of the 'Nature of Rathlin and its Townlands' leaflet, and the new section of the Rathlin Community website that will help raise awareness in general of Rathlin's biodiversity and focus attention on the Plan's actions. The Plan also involves the use of social media, and in particular it is hope that the Nature of Rathlin twitter profile will help to spread the word of Rathlin's beautiful natural heritage as far and wide as possible.

Many thanks to all who took the time to come along on a very wet day, to Jane, Patricia and Julie-Ann and all the pupils of St Mary's Primary School, Shauna and Margaret and all in the Tuesday Club, and to Catriona and everyone in McCuaig's Bar who all made the event so special. And of course, the whole project would not have been possible without the support of the NGO Challenge Fund 2015.

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