Exploring the Woods and Ponds in Slieve Gullion Forest Park
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, through the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership, joined forces with Herpetological Society of Ireland and Amphibian and Reptile Groups of UK (ARG UK) to explore the woods and ponds in Slieve Gullion Forest Park.
The event, which took place on Saturday 30 March was designed to give everyone an opportunity to learn about amphibians and pond life and provide information about garden ponds and how to make them more wildlife-friendly. As well as walks and talks outside, all those who took part were invited to create their own frog and newt stones and make some fun models to take home.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin said, “I for one didn’t know that there were common lizards in the area and I was very interested in learning more about Ireland’s only native reptile.
“This event gave participants the chance to learn more about the common lizard population in Slieve Gullion and discover what is in the pond in the Courtyard. It encouraged everyone to get outside and help look for frogs, lizards and newts. Garden ponds can be an oasis for wildlife, supporting a wide range of species that were once common in the countryside.”
Councillor Murnin continued, “Not only was this a fun day out, it also encouraged people to get involved in helping organisations such as Centre for Environmental Data Recording (CEDaR) to identify areas where frogs, newts and common lizards are to be found. We know that over a third of known amphibians are declining or in danger of extinction, due to a combination of habitat loss, disease, pollution and climate change. We also know that the number of ponds available for frogs and newts have fallen. We still do not know the full impact, and events like this help us raise awareness of these important environmental issues.”
By taking part in “What’s In Your Pond?” participants were able to help CEDaR begin to understand what, if anything, is happening to these slippery characters. Frogs and newts depend on ponds for their survival and it’s amazing how much life can be found in even a small garden pond.
To find out more, go to the Ring of Gullion website www.ringofgullion.org. For information on tours provided in the area and to sign up for the Ring of Gullion monthly email newsletter, call 028 3082 8590.Back