Pictured at the launch of the Community Wetlands Forum Strategic Plan are (L-R): Liam Scott, CARO Atlantic Sea Board North; Catherine Casey, Head of Climate Change at The Heritage Council; Patricia McCreesh, Biodiversity Officer Monaghan County Council; Michael Carroll, Tullamore Lions Club; Barry O'Loughlin, Biodiversity Officer Clare County Council; Chris Uys, Abbeyleix Bog Project; Barry Tapster, Climate Action Officer Roscommon County Council.

Community Wetlands Forum launches Strategic Plan

A group which is dedicated to community-led conservation and the wise use of wetlands has launched its first strategic plan.

The Community Wetlands Forum (CWF) launched its strategic plan for 2024 – 2026 at a networking event in Moore, Co. Roscommon last week.

Among the speakers at the event was Michael Carroll of Tullamore Lions Club who spoke about a peatland restoration project being led by the club in conjunction with a Co. Offaly landowner, and suggested this was a model other Lions Clubs could follow.

Pictured at the launch of the Community Wetlands Forum are (L-R): Tommy Minnock, Bernie Henry and Phyllis Price, all from Clara Heritage Society and Michael Carroll, Tullamore Lions Club.

Other opportunities highlighted by attendees was the appointment of biodiversity and climate action officers at local authority level, who have a mandate and budgets to work with and support community led initiatives.

A number of biodiversity officers attended the launch, including those from Clare and Monaghan, along with Roscommon’s Climate Action Officer and Liam Scott of the Climate Action Regional Office (CARO) for the Atlantic Sea Board North Region.

The Strategic Plan, which was launched by the Head of Climate Change at the Heritage Council, Catherine Casey, sets out the main objectives of the Community Wetlands Forum in the years ahead, namely: to seek to strengthen the organisation, develop its membership base and work with other stakeholders to advance community led wetland conservation, and the important contribution it makes.

Mary Mulvey, company secretary of the CWF, thanked all who contributed to the plan’s development, including members, stakeholders and Sandra Velthuis of Whitebarn Consulting, who led workshops with members of the Forum to finalise the plan.

Development Officer with the CWF, Mícheál Callaghan commented that “community led initiatives, working in collaboration with local and state authorities are vital in the delivery of healthy wetlands which benefit nature and people.”

The launch was part of a wider networking event held in Moore Community Centre, which focused on community led wetland conservation, and in particular on opportunities for collaboration between community groups and newly appointed local authority climate action and biodiversity officers.

The Community Wetlands Forum looks forward to furthering its objectives in the years ahead as well as the increased opportunities to work with local authorities, as well as a range of agencies and publicly funded projects. It invites community groups and individuals with an interest in community led wetland conservation to engage with it.

Further details about the CWF and its members can be found by visiting www.communitywetlandsforum.ie or by contacting: development@communitywetlandsforum.ie