Eye Spy wildlife on Sliabh Beagh, published today, results from a great collaboration between book lovers and nature lovers.
The Library service of Monaghan County Council reached out to the CANN project, which works to protect the environment of Sliabh Beagh, to see if there was a way of helping enrich the lives of local citizens by making the limited lockdown walks more meaningful. The CANN project (Collaborative Action across the Natura Network), funded by the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, through the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), wants to encourage more citizen science on the mountain and took the opportunity of the Library’s Keep Well COVID funding to create this booklet.
The Keep Well campaign aims to show people of all ages how they can mind their mental health and physical wellbeing by adding healthy and helpful habits to their daily and weekly routines. The CANN project believes that recording wildlife on a regular walk adds richness and encourages people to go out more often. The citizen science of data gathered in this way is essential to the long-term health of the mountain and the long-term health of the people encouraged to walk. Unless the CANN team knows what species live where, it is difficult to conserve them, and walkers can provide the eyes and ears to record this information.
The booklet features twenty species of birds, terrestrial animals, insects, and plants found on Sliabh Beagh. Spotter points are collected depending on how rare or common the species is. People are encouraged to use their mobile phones to scan a QR code to record what they see with the National Biodiversity Data Centre. QR technology is also used to link users to the bird song that might help them identify what they are looking at.
The booklet is available for free from libraries throughout County Monaghan and as an electronic pdf download.