Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Barn owl conservation in the Borough

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been doing its bit for Barn Owls.

The barn owl is one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic species but is unfortunately also one of the most endangered. There is thought to be less than 30 to 40 breeding pairs left in Northern Ireland and the main reason for the barn owl's decline is the loss of suitable feeding and nesting sites.

In order to enhance our parks and open spaces for barn owls our staff have specially chosen three sites in the Borough as potential barn owl habitat and have installed three custom built barn owl nest boxes. The boxes have been installed at Eden Allotment Gardens Carrickfergus, Diamond Jubilee Wood Whitehead and Ecos Nature Park Ballymena. Rough grassland near the edges of watercourses, with good rodent populations, provide ideal hunting habitat, and these three sites fit the bill. 

Local schools Eden Primary, Kilcoan Primary and Ballykeel Primary helped out with the project, with pupils learning all about barns owls and helping to build the nest boxes.

Mayor of Mid & East Antrim, Ballykeel Primary School & Ecos Nature Park barn owl box

The habitats in Mid and East Antrim offer great feeding opportunities for barn owls but there was a lack of suitable nest sites in the area. Hopefully barn owls will find and use these new nest boxes. If even one box is used, we can monitor it and this will make a significant contribution to the knowledge of these mysterious birds.

So keep a look out and if you are lucky enough to see one of these wonderful birds we would be delighted to hear from you. You can contact:
 T: 028 9393 8231

However, please do not disturb the barn owl in any way. They are protected under the Wildlife Order and it is an offence to disturb the birds or their nests.

Monday, 27 June 2016

National Insect Week 2016

To celebrate National Insect Week 2016 everyone was invited along to help build a giant bug hotel at Dixon Park, Larne. Bug hotels can provide shelter for some of our favourite insects such as bees and ladybirds, but can also be used by frogs and hedgehogs. 

We think you'll agree the Dixon Park bug hotel looks fantastic! Thanks to all who helped out. 

For more information on biodiversity in Mid and East Antrim or to download the Local Biodiversity Action Plan please click here

Saturday, 25 June 2016

In Bloom - The Cart at the Castle

The first, fourth and fifth Cub Scouts of Carrickfergus have been digging in and getting involved in the Mid and East Antrim ‘In Bloom’ campaign. The Cubs and Leaders helped Parks & Open Spaces staff plant up local favourite, the ‘cart at the castle’, with beautiful bedding to make the town bloom this Saturday 25th June 2016

Everyone who lives in the Borough can help make our Borough bloom too, and think about their local environment and how flowers, plants and gardens can enhance it for people and wildlife.
By actively supporting our ‘In Bloom’ campaign and competitions residents will not only make their garden, school or business more attractive but also assist Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s entry to the Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition and the Britain in Bloom Competition. Residents can get involved in the ‘In Bloom’ campaign by entering our community competitions, there are great prizes to be won and winners and runners up will be invited to an awards ceremony in October.

The Mid and East Antrim in Bloom categories are;

General Categories
Best Kept Front Garden;
Best Kept Front Container Garden
Best Kept Community Planting Scheme;
Best Kept Allotment Garden;
Best Kept Commercial Premises.
Gardening for Wildlife Award

Young People’s (16 and under) Categories
Tallest Sunflower Competition;
Painting Competition;
Poetry Competition;
Best School Gardening Project; 

For more information on In Bloom please click here 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Meet the birds of Mid and East Antrim

Find out more about some of our fascinating bird species this month with two special events taking place:
Discover the Birds of Larne
Smiley Park, Larne
Thursday 16th June, from 7pm
A free public walk with expert Dermot Hughes to enjoy birdsong and specifically to learn more about spectacular swifts

Meet the Whitehead Peregrines
Beach Road Nature Reserve, Whitehead
Saturday 18th June, from 10am
Find out more about the Whitehead peregrines with expert Ian Enlander. Please consider bringing binoculars if you have them

Free events. No booking neccessary. 

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Greenisland Allotments officially re-open

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE, officially re-opened nd Allotment Gardens on Saturday 11th June 2016.

Cllr Wales said “It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all this afternoon to the official re-opening of Greenisland Allotment Gardens. Due to a number of development issues with Greenisland Allotment Gardens over the past year, Mid and East Antrim Council have made a number of significant improvements to the site including new fencing and gating. There will be a series of workshops delivered by The Conservation Volunteers onsite each weekend throughout the summer, beginning today, which I hope plot holders and the local community will take advantage of.”

“Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is committed to improving the quality of life for all the people of the Borough through the services it provides including our allotment service.
Allotment gardening can provide a number of benefits such as the opportunity to produce a wide range of inexpensive healthy vegetables, whilst at the same time providing physical exercise in the outdoors. It can create the opportunity to make new friends and provide the chance to socialise with others. Allotments can provide a great sense of well-being and give pleasure and satisfaction to people who through their own skills and effort produce their own food. Allotments are also beneficial to the environment and wildlife generally. Owning an allotment could also mean cancelling that expensive gym subscription and having an alternative workout at your very own 'green gym'. “

“I hope today will be an opportunity for you all to find out what allotment gardening is all about and perhaps consider taking on a plot here. I hope Greenisland Allotment Gardens can be transformed into a horticultural paradise full of delicious fruit and veg and hope the local community will fully embrace and look after this valuable asset so it can be enjoyed for many years to come.”

To celebrate the official re-opening a community fun day was held on site with activities including grow your own workshops, scarecrow making, bee hotel building and face painting.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has three allotment sites – Greenisland Allotment Gardens, Greenisland, Eden Allotment Gardens, Carrickfergus and Larne Allotment Gardens, Town Parks, Larne. To find out more or to apply for a plot please visit

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Greenisland Allotment Gardens

Greenisland Allotment Gardens will be officially re-opened on Saturday 11th June at 2pm.

There will be a free family fun day on site until 4pm. Come along and learn how to grow your own, help build a scarecrow and build bee homes to take away with you 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Volunteers Week

Volunteers Week runs 1st – 12th June 2016 (this year there are an additional five days enabling more people than ever to take part and more time to celebrate.)

Over 21 million people volunteer in the UK at least once a year and this contributes an estimated £23.9bn to the UK economy. Behind these big numbers is a big contribution. These 21 million people are a shining example of how we can all make a big difference to individuals and communities every day by improving the environment we live in and contributing to a range of other essential services and support. 

Volunteers week is a chance to celebrate volunteers achievements and is also a chance to inspire others to get involved.

Pictured: Volunteers from McDonalds carrying out a big clean up at Ecos Nature Park, Ballymena