THE people of West Cork can now ‘save a sod’ and help to preserve 25 wild acres in Rosscarbery.
It’s part of a nationwide initiative by Green Sod Ireland, an environmental registered charity that was set up in 2007 to establish wild acres and safe habitats that are vital for biodiversity.
Green Sod Ireland (GSI) was established as a direct response to the loss of land and biodiversity during the Celtic Tiger era.
The charitable trust has gifted land in its care in Cork, Carlow, Cavan, Donegal, Mayo and Connemara.
Jenny Cunningham, the charity’s administrator, told The Southern Star that the 25-acres at Páirc a’ Tobair at Burgatia in Rosscarbery was gifted to GSI by the Mercy Sisters, Southern Province, in 2018.
Páirc a’ Tobair is, in fact, Green Sod Ireland’s first ecology centre with 10% of the land dedicated to a working organic garden that involves local gardeners, Co-Action groups, Tidy Towns volunteers and local schools.
Each of the GSI sites embodies the charity’s core belief that all of life – all the plants, land, animals, watersheds and humans – are interconnected.
They form a web of life in which the survival of one depends upon the other.
Jennifer said GSI works to raise awareness of the health, educational, social, economic and environmental benefits of caring for the land and its biodiversity.
GSI also delivers ecological education programmes across all sectors of Ireland, and develops initiatives for primary and secondary school students.
It organises adult workshops and talks too, as well as networking with the University of Galway on various projects with masters’ students.
‘Like the 25-acres in Rosscarbery,’ Jennifer said, ‘wild acres are safe havens in which species can flourish through appropriate land management and rewilding.’
GSI draws on the support of other like-minded groups such as the Clonakilty Area Sports Group, which is facilitated by Kevin McCaughey.
The Clonakilty Area Sports Group has arranged for three community employment scheme workers to become involved in the Páirc a’ Tobair site.
People can support every aspect of the charity’s work through its Save a Sod campaign, which is an all-year-round promotional fundraiser.The money raised goes directly to protecting the land in GSI’s care.
As part of its land management plans, for example, the money can be spent on rewilding, fencing, planting and the eradication of invasive species.
‘Save a Sod is a beautiful alternative gift for all occasions,’ said Jennifer, ‘especially for someone who is interested in sustainability, the mitigation of climate change and biodiversity loss in Ireland.’
Donors can ‘gift’ the protection of Irish land for one year in someone’s name for €25 and, in return, they will receive a digital certificate by email.
Recipients of a gift donation over €50 will receive a beautiful letterpress certificate that is hand-made by One Strong Arm using card made from recycled coffee cups, and printed with ecological ink.