Irish Wildlife Trust

Congratulations! This Entry has been selected as a semifinalist.

Irish Wildlife Trust: Make It Wild

IrelandDublin, Ireland
Year Founded:
2010
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Habitat loss is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity and wildlife. Make it Wild inspires people to take action for biodiversity in their local community and create areas for wildlife in gardens, green spaces and derelict areas - making a difference for biodiversity both locally and globally.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if local communities working together could reverse biodiversity loss globally?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Habitat loss is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity and wildlife. Our lives depend on biodiversity and the consequences for wildlife, people and economies will be profound. Rapidly expanding urban and suburban areas are eating up great tracts of valuable wildlife habitat. Too frequently do we ask: “What has happened to the wildlife that used to inhabit these lost areas?”

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The biggest difference people can make for biodiversity is in their own local area. The Irish Wildlife Trust's ‘Make it Wild’ programme inspiring people to help biodiversity and wildlife by replacing some of this lost habitat on their own properties and in their local communities. 'Make It Wild' encourages and supports community groups and residents associations by providing the tools and information needed for success. Our comprehensive workshops and materials are part of a whole new way of looking at our relationship with nature - appreciating that we’re a part of, and not separate from, it. Participants are shown how to create wildlife habitats in their gardens, green spaces and derelict areas and then certified by the programme.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In Roscommon the IWT worked with over 20 local groups. Participants received a Make it Wild starter pack, which explained biodiversity & outlined how an area can be improved for wildlife, including improving food sources by planting native plants & trees, increasing water sources & habitats by building ponds & sustainable gardening to reduce the use of chemicals. The IWT facilitator then conducted a series of workshops & site visits to support the participants in formulating a wildlife management plan & discuss other issues linked to global biodiversity loss. Groups then went on to conduct the improvements directly in their own areas, feeling enabled to do so by the programme before then applying for the IWT certification scheme.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The project has thus far impacted upon 28 groups in four different counties, with many more groups being made aware of the programme, their ability to help biodiversity on a local scale and the resources available to them to achieve this. Over 350 starter packs have been sent to participants and several interactive workshops and site visits have been conducted. IWT worked closely with these communities to conduct wildlife surveys and develop biodiversity action plans for the community and local school. Actions that have been conducted include: building and hanging bird boxes and insect homes, increasing habitats and water sources by building ponds, planting native trees and wildflower meadows and clearing invasive plants. The project has also received overwhelmingly positive feedback and peoples’ eyes have been open to how to work with nature and not against it.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We would like to run Make It Wild across the 849 cities & towns in Ireland. Our key strategic areas are groups that have shown an interest plus the counties where we have branches run by volunteers with local knowledge & contacts. Once established in an area, the programme would be reasonably self-sufficient with the Trust visiting annually to ensure the group’s active engagement & progress. This efficiency would enable us to focus on new area groups without increasing the strain on resources. Training of local area committees would also help facilitate the spread of the programme.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The programme has been financed by the Irish Wildlife Trust’s general fundraising initiatives and local government funding that community groups can apply for directly. Due to the economic downturn, this funding has been reduced and so financial sustainability is being sought from grants, such as the Makers of More, and via local businesses. The more groups we can reach, the more funding can be acquired as the programme’s reputation grows.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Local government authorities assist community groups through funding, promotion and advice and are beginning to encourage areas are set aside for wildlife. However, not all districts have the staff or expertise to make this a reality and their primary environmental focus is still on litter picking, planting species native wildlife cannot utilise and tidying areas that destroy wildlife habitats. Our programme not only delivers innovative tools and support, it provides the expertise and experience required to fulfil this objective along with the primary focus on improving habitats for wildlife.
Team

Team

The team is comprised of Sean Meehan - ecologist, IWT Director & member of IEEM with a BSc in Agricultural Science, MSc in Biological Recording - & Lorraine Bull - Development Officer, with a BA (Hons) in Natural Science & PRINCE2 Project Management. Both have experience conducting ecological workshops & surveys & project management experience. Another team member will be employed to assist with surveys once the project grows.
About You
About You
First Name

Irish Wildlife

Last Name

Trust

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

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Project
Organization Country

, DB, Dublin

Country where this project is creating social impact
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, NGOs, Regional government.

Supplemental
Awards: What awards or honors has the project received?
Where have you learnt about the competition?

Funding newsletter from The Wheel. www.thewheel.ie

Tell us about your partnerships:

We liaise with local Tidy Town groups and local government councils in lreland. Tidy Towns is an initiative to encourage people to keep their local areas clean and tidy, culminating in a grading and award system each year. The councils will also liaise Tidy Town groups, so our programme links nicely with these groups, who already have an established network of local people with an interest in their environment.

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

The major challenge to environmental projects of this nature is the lack of funding currently available. The global economic downturn has hit Ireland hard and local government funding that local community groups can apply for has been severely reduced. However, there is strong interest in the project and we are determined that the project grow and develop so that further wildlife areas can be established. To this end we are looking for alternative funding avenues, including widening our applications for grant funding and other initiatives such as social media campaigns.