National Lottery Good Causes Awards 2022 - Heritage Award Winner

24 November 2022

Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary is the National Heritage Winner of the National Lottery Good Causes Awards 2022!

Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary is a not-for-profit community organisation dedicated to preserving a vital area of wilderness in the Lough Grainey valley, protecting its biodiversity, rewilding and restoring its ancient oak forest, and helping children and adults to reconnect with nature.

Lough Grainey valley in East Clare is an area of immense natural beauty and huge ecological value. It is the setting and birthplace of the most famous poem written in the Irish language, The Midnight Court. Named after the ancient Irish Sun Goddess Grian, it is home to some of Ireland's most endangered species of animals and plants, including the hen harrier, Blue-eyed grass, and Marsh fritillary butterfly. There are precious stands of old oak trees such as the majestic Bunshoon Wood, a remnant of the ancient oak forest of Brian Boru.

The team of the Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary were delighted to receive Good Causes funding that allowed them to conduct a bat presence survey and to install a NatureCam trail camera on the land of the Nature Sanctuary, to study the wildlife without disturbance.

Marina Levitina, PhD, chairperson of Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary, said, “Rewilding and nature restoration is one of the aims of our project, it is about giving the land back to Nature and allowing Nature to restore herself with minimum human intervention. At the time of the global climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, when we are losing so many species of plants and animals, with 1 in every 5 of the assessed species in Ireland being threatened with extinction according to a recent report, we need to ensure that the few existing places of wilderness and wildlife corridors are protected. Our nature sanctuary is such a place, and it needs to be protected for all its beauty and for the vital habitats that it provides to wildlife.”

“All of us are completely interconnected with Nature. We are part of it, we are not separate from nature. A healthy and sustainable community includes not only humans, but also all the plants, trees and animals, the healthy soil and pristine waters, rivers and lakes that we depend on for our health and well-being.”

“We are already observing such an abundance of wildlife here at the Nature Sanctuary! We are also restoring the oak forest, by planting native trees and helping natural regeneration of native woodlands. Trees ensure stability of the global climate by absorbing and restoring carbon. Currently, only 10% of Ireland is covered with forests, and only 1.2% is native woodlands. We need more trees!”

The team of Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary were absolutely delighted to have won the National Lottery Good Causes Heritage Award 2022! This was announced recently at the Good Causes Gala event. Many other fantastic community organisations and finalists were also present. Big congratulations to all the other finalists and winners in the other categories! It was so inspiring to hear everyone's stories!

We envision Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary to
become Ireland’s flagship project
in rewilding and protection of biodiversity.


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