A significant focus of Ballinahown Community Development is raising understanding and awareness of nature and biodiversity in the area. A considered and ongoing effort is visible in the community to protect and promote the importance of these areas. This is evident through the variety of hedgerow habitats around the village. Hedgerows are a very important but threatened habitat in the Irish Countryside.They are like mini-woodlands, containing a wide variety of trees, shrubs and lower plants which provide birds, mammals and invertebrates with food, shelter and a safe passageway from one area to another. Two thirds of breeding birds in Ireland nest in hedgerows.Their heritage value as traditional field boundaries in County Westmeath is also significant. Some of the species which make up the hedgerows in the village are Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Elder, which are all native to Ireland. As a result of these important hedgerows, a wide variety of butterflies and birds can be seen in the village along with colourful displays of wild flowers. There a lots of information on all of these wonderful aspects of nature available around the village.
A joint initiative between Ballinahown Community Development and the local primary school is the development of a butterfly garden, situated beside our Community Hall. This supports prenenial plants and flowers and plays host to many butterflies such as the Orange Tip Butterfly, Small Tortoiseshell and the Peacock to name a few.
Over the past number of years Ballinahown Community Development committed to the replacement of annual flowers in our large community flower beds at church and hall grounds with perennials focusing on pollinator friendly choices for promoting bees and other pollinators to the area.
Ballinahown is in the enviable position of having river gurgling through the village. A wonderful river walk is available for locals and visitors alike that showcases many aspects of nature and biodiversity embedded in our community. This river is fenced off in the playground for children’s safety. It is protected by safe farming practises of surrounding farmers.
Some ongoing projects that will enhance the biodiversity of the village significantly is the development of a new pond, a wildflower garden and an apiary. It is an exciting time. Watch this space carefully!!!