The National Trust has been awarded £49,140 for a major project to restore biodiversity at Mount Stewart.
The project has been funded by Biffa Award, a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK (www.biffa-award.org). Biffa Award is managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT).
The project will involve clearance of non-native invasive species such as rhododendron ponticum and cherry laurel from woodlands, replanting cleared areas with red squirrel favoured trees, red squirrel conservation, and raising awareness through volunteering and community engagement.
Andrew Upton, National Trust coast and countryside manager commented: “We would not have been able to undertake this project without the generous support from Biffa Award. It will allow us to undertake vital conservation work which will benefit a wide range of biodiversity, most notably the iconic red squirrel, of which Mount Stewart is one of the last strongholds in Northern Ireland.”
Mr Upton added: “The project will start this autumn and will be completed by February 2017. A key outcome will be to raise awareness of the importance of red squirrel conservation and woodland management by engagement with the local community and through volunteering opportunities.”
Gillian French, programme manager, Biffa Award said: “We’re really proud to be supporting this project to restore habitat for the charismatic red squirrel. This project is a great example of how the Landfill Communities Fund can help people come together to rebuild biodiversity, for the benefit of people and wildlife alike.”