Wednesday 23 October 2019

Allowing ground to grow wild

Reducing waste and trying to achieve a zero waste status coupled with a zest for creating biodiversity areas around the county are just some of the ways people are trying to do their bit for the environment

The meadow at Presentation College, Bray
The meadow at Presentation College, Bray

Mary Fogarty

Biodiversity Bray has teamed up with the staff and students of Presentation College Bray to allow a 900-metre squared field to grow wild over the summer months of 2019.

Keith Gordon of Biodiversity Bray said that the area will be cut back in the coming weeks, the cuttings removed, and allowed to grow once again.

Lands where this has been done are full of bees, butterflies and windflowers and therefore contribute more to the biodiversity of both a local area and the planet.

'Biodiversity Bray is concerned with very local topics such as tree planting, and the development of wildflower areas, as well as more macro environmental areas,' said Keith.

The relatively new organisation is looking for volunteers, as well as for schools and businesses, to allow parts of their land to be given over to projects such as that taking place at Pres.

Keith said that while attitudes have been changing, his fear is that they are not changing anywhere near enough. Ten years ago, if he had approached his own former school with this idea, it may not have been met with such positivity.

While manicured lawns have heretofore been seen as 'beautiful' for garden and land owners, Keith says that we need to adjust what we see as being beautiful.

Keith said that he had done a lot of work with Green Party councillor and Cathaoirleach of Bray Municipal District, Steven Matthews, on tree planting.

Unfortunately, recently a number of trees they planted on Bray Head were vandalised.

Keith was also then behind the Presentation College field.

'The idea is at a local level, to be able to take ownership of issues, whether it's tree planting or looking at areas that could be allowed to grow wild.'

The objective next year is to achieve 10,000 square metres of wild meadow in Bray.

'We want schools to come forward, or anywhere with open grass land, to sign up to allow them to grow wild from March to the end of August,' he said.

Another way in which the person at local level can effect global change, is to eat less meat, said Keith.

Some issues surrounding meat include the destruction of forestry to grow feed for intensively farmed animals, as well as the emission of greenhouse gases.

Ireland imports five million tonnes of feed from South America each year.

Keith hopes to hold a meeting in September with anyone who has responded to Biodiversity Bray's invitation to get involved.

The group's modus operandi will be genuine action at a local level.

'People feel lost and helpless,' said Keith. 'Look in your fridge or your own back garden.

'I personally allowed a three metre by three metre space in my own garden grow wild over the summer months,' he said.

'The harsh reality is we aren't changing fast enough.'

He said that the medium and long-term consequences of not addressing these issues now will be catastrophic.

To get involved, find 'Biodiversity Bray' on Facebook, or email

Wicklow People