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November 28, 2008

Valuable Volunteer Work Helps Restore Lodge Bog

The IPCC’s Conservation and Reserves Officer, Cillian Breathnach was full of praise today for everyone who worked on the restoration of Lodge Bog, Co. Kildare. “I want to sincerely thank all of the people who gave their time towards the restoration of Lodge Bog this summer. Without the help of our volunteers we simply could not have achieved all that we have since work began here”.

The 70 volunteers involved helped the Irish Peatland Conservation Council carry out valuable work this summer including:

  • Mapping the distribution of 172 different species of plants on the bog
  • Doing a survey of dragonflies and damselflies which found two new species on the reserve: the Common Spreadwing and the Beautiful Jewelwing.
  • Placing 41 dams in 1.5 km of drains on the bog
  • Measuring the water table in the bog which remained quite high all year

“During fieldwork, IPCC staff shared their knowledge of peatlands, ecology and fieldwork methods with volunteers. The work was as varied as the weather, but spirits remained high all of the time and great friendships were formed” added Cillian Breathnach.

The site is used as an outdoor classroom to show school groups and visitors the wonders that our raised bog habitats have to offer. It makes a great addition to the Bog of Allen Nature Centre which is now recognised as a Discovering Primary Science Centre by the Department of Education and Science. In terms of flora and fauna, raised bogs offer habitat for such things as insect-eating plants, iridescent beetles, nesting birds like the curlew and captivating rare orchids. In an era full of debate on climate change and carbon footprints, some may find it interesting to know that bogs actually act as carbon sinks, storing carbon in the undecomposed plant remains that form peat. With Ireland’s peatlands decreasing at an alarming rate, restoration works such as that on Lodge Bog are becoming more and more important. By working with the IPCC, volunteers have helped protect this natural gem for future generations to enjoy.

Volunteering offers people a means of getting out into the field with qualified experts who are more than willing to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for their work. There is something for everyone, with volunteers coming from all walks of life, including interested members of the public to university graduates looking to gain experience in nature conservation. If you are interested in volunteering with the IPCC call 045 – 860 133.

This project was supported by the Heritage Council under the 2008 Biodiversity Fund.