7,200 native trees including 1800 saplings of the endangered Burren pine were distributed to selected landowners in Co.Clare as part of The Hare’s Corner – a new community-led ecological restoration project.
The GAA pitch in Tubber, Co.Clare was abuzz on Saturday 12th of February as it became the collection point for thousands of native trees including the endangered Burren pine – Ireland’s only native pine for Clare landowners that are participating in The Hare’s Corner project. It is expected that 38 new mini woodlands would be created in Co.Clare as part of the pilot phase of this ecological restoration project.
The name ‘The Hare’s Corner’ comes from an old farming expression for an ‘awkward’ section of a field which wasn’t intensively farmed and so was ‘left to nature’. The project aims to help Clare landowners create pocket-sized habitats such as a mini-woodland, a pond, an orchard, or a combination of all 3, to enhance biodiversity on species -poor areas of their land.
The Hare’s Corner was launched as a pilot project in Co. Clare in August 2021. Before it completes its first year, it will have supported the creation of 32 ponds, 43 mini orchards -with 350 Irish heritage apple trees from Irish Seed Savers Association and 38 mini woodlands – a wonderful investment in the natural infrastructure of the County.
Henry Wilkinson, a farmer in South Clare and one of the participants in the Hare’s Corner project said, “We are delighted to be receiving this support and connecting with likeminded people. These trees will enhance nature on our farm, provide a much needed shelter belt as we are really exposed to the weather where we are and ultimately be a wonderful legacy to leave for our son”.
“It has been an inspiring and educating experience meeting so many landowners in Co.Clare who are keen to support biodiversity on their land. We are providing advice and micro-financing for the work itself but the time, the labour, and the enthusiasm to create and manage habitats is all coming from the landowners – and that is invaluable!” says Karen van Dorp, Field Technical Officer for The Hare’s Corner Project.
Dr Brendan Dunford who is the Project Advisor says, “What makes The Hare’s Corner different and special is that its ‘hassle free’ for the landowner – who isn’t overburdened with paperwork and that the actions involved are rather unique – rare pine trees, heritage fruit trees and wildlife ponds. Participants also feel supported and valued by the Burrenbeo team and there’s plenty of advice available, plus they feel part of a network of like-minded people. It’s great, there is so much good energy and enthusiasm!”
‘The Hare’s Corner’ is coordinated by the Burrenbeo Trust, a local landscape charity and is being funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) through The European Innovation Partnerships Initiative (EIP)/Locally led schemes, by the EU Recovery Instrument Funding under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2022 as well as the Clare County Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
While the first round of applications for this project is now closed, it is expected that more calls in the future may be announced depending on funding availability. Burrenbeo Trust welcomes support from government agencies, businesses or individuals who would like to support the The Hare’s Corner project and become a part of this community-led climate and biodiversity action.