Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wild Flowers at Diamond Jubilee Wood in Whitehead

The wild flowers at Diamond Jubilee Wood in Whitehead are looking great at the moment.

To find out more about the wood visit

Friday, 21 June 2013

2013 Translink Ulster in Bloom Launched

The 2013 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition was officially launched today (June 20) and this year judges will be paying particular attention to efforts to support Northern Ireland’s rich biodiversity.

The 35th year of the annual horticultural competition has attracted 145 entries representing councils, community groups, businesses, bus and rail stations all preparing to impress judges with beautiful plant and floral presentations.

2013 competition categories include: Small Village, Large Village, Small Town, Town, Large Town, City, Roses in Towns, Crystal Award, Special Awards for Outstanding  Presentation, Community Rail Halt, Floral Station and Most Improved. This year one of the ‘Special Award’ categories will be presented to the entry that shows the greatest efforts to support local biodiversity.

This latest development reflects Translink’s Biodiversity Action Plan that seeks to support natural habitats and species around the bus and rail network.

Translink is also distributing thousands of free packets of wildflower seeds to local stations for customers in a bid to support bees and the process of pollination.

Speaking at the official launch at Corick House, Clogher, Co Tyrone, Translink board member Angela Coffey explained:  “The Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition continues to attract entries from cities, towns and villages right across Northern Ireland, encouraging them to look their best through exquisite plant and floral displays. The skill, passion and dedication shown by local gardening talent leaves a lasting positive impression on visitors who possess considerable ‘spending power’, encouraging them to make a return visit.

“While displays look beautiful they also have the capacity to support nature and we are particularly keen for more people to consider biodiversity when choosing their plants, shrubs and flowers.
“Our Big Seeds Giveaway and the recent launch of Translink’s ‘BioBuzz’ initiative  - that asks passengers to record biodiversity they discover while travelling on the bus or train – all contribute to building a brighter, greener and more attractive environment for everyone,” said Angela.

Councillor Freda Donnelly, Northern Ireland Local Government Association, said: “It is my pleasure and privilege to represent the Northern Ireland Local Government Association and to convey our admiration, appreciation and encouragement to the Councils, the local ‘In-Bloom’ committees, the residents, the business community and the very many people who supported, and actively participated in, the Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition since its inception.  “NILGA represents, promotes, sustains and improves local government on behalf of its 26 member councils; it is therefore fitting that we fully support and promote the Ulster in Bloom competition which aims to improve the quality of life for citizens right across Northern Ireland by the enhancement of our cities, towns and villages while encouraging us to care for the wider environment.

“I would like to pay a special tribute to the Councils ‘Parks and Technical Services’ Departments.  Their interest, enthusiasm and high standards of horticulture are to be admired and encouraged.  I would also like to thank the many citizens and local community groups for their tremendous work in conjunction with local councils. This combined effort has made a notable improvement to the environment and townscapes right across Northern Ireland, which I applaud and I know the Northern Ireland Local Government Association is most keen to encourage.”

Friday, 14 June 2013

'Love Parks Week' saved by Keep Britain Tidy

Keep Britain Tidy has stepped in to save Love Parks Week following the news that national parks charity GreenSpace was forced to close in March this year. Keep Britain Tidy already run the Green Flag Award scheme celebrating the country’s best parks and green spaces and the decision was taken that the flagship campaign should be rescued to run alongside it. Love Parks Week, which runs from 27th July to 4th August. Keep Britain Tidy has also announced that they will also be using Love Parks Week as the launch pad for building a new coalition of key partners to develop the week of action and, beyond this, build it into a year round ‘Love Parks’ campaign. The partnership is in its infancy but is likely to include Groundwork, the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, as well as partner organisations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Love Parks Week was launched in 2006 to raise awareness of the importance of green space. Last year, more than 1,000 events took place during the week, encouraging more than 1.4 million people to head down to a beautiful park or green space. Despite the tight timescale to deliver this year’s campaign, Keep Britain Tidy hope the week will be another huge success, encouraging hundreds of thousands of people to celebrate the country’s fantastic green spaces. Their Chief Executive Phil Barton said: “We know that  parks and green spaces are an essential asset to every community and make a major contribution to people’s health. That is why we were determined that Love Parks Week should be saved. By bringing together Love Parks Week and our Green Flag Award programme, our goal is to encourage millions more people to visit, enjoy and take pride in their local parks and green space. Ultimately, we believe everyone has a right to good quality green space on their doorstep and there is a huge body of research shows that they are an essential component of healthy, happy and strong communities. In addition, I’m excited at the prospect of a new coalition of organisations coming together in support of a broader year round Love Parks campaign. While it’s early days, the fact that we can use Love Parks as a rallying call to bring the sector together in the face of substantial budget cuts and threats to park services means we can continue to demonstrate just how valuable our parks and green spaces really are."

Carrickfergus Borough Council who have supported Love Parks Week over the years, has welcomed the move by Keep Britain Tidy. A Council spokeperson said "We showcase are Parks during Love Parks Week to celebrate that quality green spaces are essential to healthy, happy communities.  See the Council's Love Parks webpage at"

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Peregine Watch

Like to meet the Whitehead peregrine family? You can on Saturday 8th June at 10am (to 12noon) in Beach Road Nature Reserve, Whitehead. Bring binoculars /telescopes if you have them. Park by the Scout Hut and join local expert Ian Enlander and Biodiversity Officer Ben Simon. For further information contact Ben Simon at 07841927919.