YFCU members take part in the Grassroots Challenge

Coleraine YFC members with their bird boxes that they made during the Grassroots Challenge

Young farmers’ clubs are continuing to take up Ulster Wildlife’s Grassroots Challenge – an exciting youth empowerment initiative which is led by Ulster Wildlife and provides young people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to give nature a helping hand in their local communities, through the delivery of ‘wild idea’ projects.

Seven clubs took part in the Grassroots Challenge during September – Ballymiscaw YFC, Coleraine YFC, Crumlin YFC, Newtownards YFC, Mourne YFC, Annaclone and Magherally YFC and Derg Valley YFC.

Members from St Paul's YFC recently took part in the new Lantra accredited course entitled 'Conservation on the Farm'

The clubs picked from six available workshops, each offering the chance to learn more about our native wildlife and have fun getting hands on building a habitat box.

Ballymiscaw YFC got to see a bat up close as Robin Moffett from the Bats Trust NI brought along a recovering Pipestrel bat.

Crumlin YFC and Annaclone and Magherally YFC also got hands on with wildlife as they had a hedgehog night, meeting Mr Prickles a Pygmy hedgehog.

Newtownards YFC, Coleraine YFC and Derg Valley YFC all built bird boxes which will help local garden birds thrive while Mourne YFC built mini beast boxes.

A YFCU member meeting Mr Prickles, a Pygmy hedgehog

The Grassroots Challenge team also recently delivered the first session of a new Lantra accredited course ‘Conservation on the Farm’.

The one day course ran on Wednesday 27th September with 10 young farmers from St Paul’s School YFC.

This course covers the benefits of conservation for farmers, wildlife and the landscape.

This course highlights the reason conservation is required, and identifies opportunities for the implementation of conservation on the farm.

Mourne YFC members with their mini beast boxes that they built during the Grassroots Challenge

The benefits of having a farm conservation plan in place and where to access financial help are also included.

The bad weather didn’t stop the group from visiting Culmore Organic farm, where David Laughlin gave an interesting farm talk.

David has farmed at Culmore all of his life and is committed to organic farming.

He was able to show examples of conservation on his grounds and the pupils visited his wind turbine, learning how it powers the electronic milking system.

The next free Lantra course which is open to all YFCU members is running on Thursday 2nd November at an arable farm on Audleystown Road in Strangford. 

If your Young Farmers’ Club would like a club night challenge or would like to book on to the Lantra course contact your project officer:

Shona Campbell

(Antrim, Londonderry/Derry, Ards and North Down) 

Email: shona.campbell@ulsterwildlife.org, telephone: 07816065978

Andrew Gracey

(Mid and South Down, Tyrone, Armagh and Fermanagh) 

Email: andrew.gracey@ulsterwildlife.org, telephone: 07816065948

To keep up to date with the project you can follow the Grassroots Challenge on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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