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Community Garden

Projects

Joy of Bats

Understory Logo

Jun 2023 - Nov 2023

Joy of Bats Training in Greystones

Wednesday, July 26, 2023 at 18:00 IST

Mill lane, Greystones, Wicklow

Joy of Bats Training in Delgany

Saturday, July 29, 2023 at 10:30 IST

Kindlestown Castle, Delgany, Wicklow

Wicklow remains rich in bat diversity with bat activity observed over fields and waterways but how much do we really know about our local bats? In 2020, the Greater Horseshoe bat and Brandt’s bat was also noted in Wicklow for the first time. What else is there left to discover right at our doorstep?

Delgany and Greystones are highly attractive to investors and developers with several planning applications being submitted annually. Both are heritage towns, with Architectural Conservation Areas and multiple historical and biodiverse sites that are likely to be of significance to bats. Modification to local heritage may result in knock-on impacts on bat roosting and overall ecosystem health.

The “Joy of Bats” project is a bat tree roost potential survey and an acoustic survey of Wicklow bats in Delgany and Greystones, led by Alex (BSc. Environmental Science) from Understory, in partnership with Greystones TidyTowns and Delgany TidyTowns. 

Citizen scientists taking part have the opportunity to:

·    Learn bat surveying and fieldwork skills

·    Explore the bat roost potential of trees

·    Contribute to science

·    Influence decision-making in Delgany & Greystones

The project provided up to date information on the presence and diversity of bats or lack thereof in Delgany and Greystones. The Joy of bats project provided this vital information to NPWS to help to inform decision making, conservation and mitigation strategies such as creation of feeding and roosting sites and could lead to targeted surveying of specific locations identified as significant.

The project was funded by National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The Project Report can be found here.

Partners include:

Greystones TT logo
Delgany TT logo

Funded by:

department of housing logo
NPWS logo

Catching Raindrops

Understory Logo
Catching Raindrops Logo

Jun 2022 - Feb 2023

More than 9 billion litres of untreated sewage and storm waters were discharged into Dublin Bay between 2015-2019, mostly from the overflow tanks at the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment plant, which is significantly overloaded and no longer in compliance with the EU’s Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (link).

 

Several beaches suffer as a result of this pollution with temporary and long-term restrictions on sea swimming on Dollymount, Sandymount and Seapoint beaches in Dublin, among others. This pollution combined with climate change leads to serious implications for biodiversity and marine life, such can be observed through an increase in the number of Lions Mane jellyfish on Dublin beaches, which can cause nausea, sweating, cramps, headaches and other symptoms in victims of their sting.

The project was co-designed by Alex, founder of Understory, An Taisce's Climate Ambassador Angela Deegan and the Ringsend Irishtown Tidytowns and Environments Group. Catching Raindrops is raising

awareness about the importance of good water quality and collective action to protect our natural resources and habitats. We used reclaimed wood to build two industrial sized rainwater retention planters, carried out a canal clean up, fixed dysfunctional gutters and installed water butts to harvest rainwater in the community. 

 

This active-learning approach gave community members the opportunity to gain hands-on experience at building with waste materials and eco-friendly products, raised awareness about Climate Action and nature-based solutions and encouraged the community to conserve and protect their heritage and natural resources. Increased collection and retention of rainwater is actively reducing the amount of stormwater entering the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment plant, and preventing a proportion of sewage and other pollutants from the sewer network getting into the city’s watercourses including the Dublin Bay Biosphere and beyond, while the government plans to upgrade the plant by 2025. 

Partners

RITE logo
RICC logo
Raytown Mens shed logo

Funded by:

LAWPRO logo

Rathmines Revival

Understory Logo

May 2021 - 2023

Green spaces play an important role in increasing community's quality of life, through a range of added values, including scenic (e.g. greening of urban environments), psychological (e.g. relaxation, wellness, contact with nature, relief from stress), social (e.g. promoting social interaction, integration, equality), and last but not least educational and scientific services (e.g. offering environments for study and exploration by students and researchers at all education levels).


Although fragmented and scarce, Rathmines' green spaces already provide important food and shelter to local wildlife and are beaming with biodiversity.  

This project came about to promote public awareness, ensure adequate protection of such areas as provision of further supports to encourage more wildlife. Additionally, it was important to us to come together as a community during lockdown and minimise the feeling of isolation and loneliness.

Alex created a WhatsApp group for local residents, organised two community action days and an online information session on how to report dumping, vandalism and other illegal activities. Together we compiled a list of projects and carried out numerous litter pickings. The community keeps on growing with meet ups and events still taking place.

Partners

The Rathmines Initiative

Planting Seeds

Jan 2020 - Aug 2021

Planting Seeds Logo

The Planting Seeds Programme supported small steps towards a culture of sustainability with environmentally themes activites, case studies and events. It was rolled out in the Dublin headquarters of one of Fortune Global 500 companies.

First, Understory founder Alex, conducted an audit and led  works and installations to improve building efficiency, reduce use of plastic and promote zero waste practices. Secondly, the Planting Seeds team launched an employee campaign that educated, inspired, and invited staff to get involved, creating a sense of community. Each month of the 12 month programme focused on a different aspect of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, showcasing relevant local businesses and artists, offering talks,  workshops

and resources and opportunities to take on projects and win prizes. It was the grassroots and authentic content that set this project apart.

We observed dozens of people changing their habits and making a big impact on the world around them within a few weeks of the launch date. One employee switched from buying 2 plastic bottles of sparkling water a day, to using a soda maker and a reusable bottle, preventing the use of over 700 plastic bottles during the course of the programme.

 

Planting Seeds was a huge hit, quickly gaining global recognition and winning the most prestigious Greater Than 2021 Award.