Calling all Mayo amateur naturalists

Outdoor Living

RECORDING NATURE Grants for helping to capture and record Mayo’s natural history are now available.

Ciara Moynihan

IS SPENDING a few hours with your nose in a hedgerow your idea of heaven? Could you happily while away the hours recording bats, moths or birds? Does the idea of following deer tracks or looking for otter poop set your pulse racing? In short, are you an amateur naturalist?             
If this sounds like you, perhaps you might be interested in getting a few euros to help support your endeavours while also doing your bit to help Ireland’s biodiversity efforts.
Grants for capturing and recording the country’s natural history are available, and Mayo nature enthusiasts are being urged to apply.
The Grants for Small Recording Projects scheme, managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), aims to help established naturalists recording in Ireland to maintain and enhance their expertise in species identification – and to develop the next generation of natural history recorders.
These grants are aimed at volunteer, unpaid recorders – or groups, societies and associations of recorders – with little or no access to financial supports for their work.
This is the fifth year of the scheme, and it has already supported more than 70 projects. Previous ventures to receive funding offers have included insect surveys in Killarney, bee-identification courses in Wicklow, rookery surveys in Laois, a publication on flora in Wexford and surveys of skate and ray in Tralee bay.   
The data produced by these recording exercises is used by the NPWS to inform its understanding of the distribution and ecology of many species and to assess their status. This in turn informs advice on nature conservation objectives and practical measures to protect species and habitats.
If this sounds right up your unbeaten path, you need to apply before 5pm on March 31. The form and further details can be found on the National Parks and Wildlife Service  website at