Rathcormac and surrounds to get new nature reserve


Rathcormac and surrounds to get new nature reserve

Plans for a new nature reserve in Rathcormac has moved a step closer to realisation with Cork County Council granting planning permssion for the project.

Saturday, 16 March 2013
12:00 AM GMT

Plans for a new nature reserve in Rathcormac has moved a step closer to realisation with Cork County Council granting planning permssion for the project.

The decision by Rathcormac Game and Wildlife Club to create the reserve was made as far back as 2007 when club members became concerned at the huge amount of habitat loss and destruction that was taking place in the area. They devised the plan in order to save a little of those wetlands. A major and very successful fundraising campaign was launched in the years 2007 and 2008 which resulted in enough funds being raised to purchase some land. A lot of time was spent in the following years trying to source and secure the land that would suit the club’s purpose and at the same time, have some ecological value. That took some time and eventually paid off when a suitable and affordable plot of six acres was purchased in Corrin.

Planning permission for the venture, for the conservation of grey partridge and other wildlife species and associated works, was sought back in May of last year by the club. The estimated cost of the project is €80,000. The nature reserve will have seating areas and viewing stands where people can come to watch the wildlife. A pond is also planned along with a wildflower meadow. It will be the only one of its kind in the area and one of the few being managed by a gun club. The reserve will be open to the public free of charge year round and will serve as an excellent education and learning amenity which will provide an introduction to the countryside for many, especially schoolchildren who will be able to see conservation at work. The reintroduction of the red listed endangered native grey partridge will be a major part of the plan and represents a huge undertaking for the club. It's one that will be watched closely by all nature lovers.                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Founded in 1971, Rathcormac Game and Wildlife Club celebrated 40 years in existence in 2011, an auspicious year for them, as they won National Club of the Year, adding the accolade to their many competition wins over the years.

The club's conservation work is ongoing. They excavated two new duck ponds in the past two years in lands belonging to local farmers. The ponds are already inhabited by aquatic life and look as good as if they were there for years. Nest boxes and bird tables were donated to both schools in the parish in 2009. Some were also erected in the village and have been a great attraction to small birds during the winters since. Hardwood trees were donated to both schools in 2007. As part of the club’s gratitude to the farming community 500 hardwood trees are also given free to local farmers every year. This would equate to five acres of native hardwood trees planted in Rathcormac parish in the last 10 years.  Special game crops are given to interested farmers every spring to sow and mallard duck are released in local ponds every year. Pheasants are also released annually.  Last year three new release pens were constructed. Native grey partridge re-introduction is ongoing and again this year, 100 will be released. Pest control, vital to the success of any wildlife related project, is operated by the club using a select policy to achieve a natural balance.

Anyone who'd like to keep up to date with what's happening and learn more about the club's activities can log on to their website www.rathcormacgameandwildlife.ie

The club is in the process of making an application for funding to Avondhu Blackwater Partnership and, if successful, it will see the establishment of the first nature reserve in the area.  In order for this application to be approved, the club needs to provide match funding for the project, so more fundraising is needed to do that. In the current climate club members don't want to go collecting door to door and there will not be any canvassing for donations. Instead, they are asking people to voluntary donate whatever they can afford. The club will plant indigenous Irish trees in people's honour, or memory, in return for any donation of €100 or over. The trees will then be preserved and managed by the club on behalf of the donor for 100 years. Each tree will be numbered and the benefactor will receive a certificate with their tree number, have their name listed on the club's web page and on the reserve notice board for the next 100 years. The donors will be encouraged to visit the reserve as often as they like and monitor their tree’s growth and progress. These trees will be planted far enough apart to grow and mature successfully so that there will be no any need for thinning and each tree will be allowed to reach maturity. The donation is relatively small if measured in years at €1.00 a year when you consider the life of the tree to be 100 years. A special habitat account has been set up in the name of Rathcormac Game and Wildlife Club at AIB, Fermoy for donations.  The sort code is 93 60 81, and the account number is 13135121. All donations will be acknowledged and receipted.

Because the reserve is situated in the centre of the three parishes of Rathcormac, Castlelyons and Fermoy and will benefit those parishes more than any other, the club is appealing for donations from this catchment area particularly, though they will warmly welcome donations from nature lovers everywhere. By donating, people will be part of the reserve and will be contributing to the safeguarding of rare and endangered species in their area. Work is expected to commence in early summer and be completed in one year.

The reserve is adjacent to the Corrin walk and will serve as an added attraction to visitors of Corrin Cross. It is envisaged that community groups, like scouts and cubs, primary and secondary schools, as well as many others will all benefit and be welcome there. Club member John Howard said: "This will be akin to an outdoor classroom for children and adults alike where all will learn to appreciate nature at its best.

"This reserve will reinforce the well known fact that gun clubs all over Ireland do so much work for conservation that normally goes unnoticed and without recognition." John emphasised that "most people now accept that shooting and conservation go hand in hand and without the work of gun clubs there would be a lot more endangered species out there and this reserve will be living proof of that in years to come."

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