The past few weeks have been a busy time for the Nature+ Energy project. In March, we attended the third annual Wind Energy Ireland Awards, where the project was nominated for the Sustainable Development Award. It was a wonderful night celebrating the achievements of the wind energy industry in Ireland. We were delighted to accept the Sustainable Development Award, it was a real highlight and great to see the project get such recognition early on! At the end of March, we held our first Project Steering Committee Meeting. We presented an overview of the project to our steering committee members and partners, as well as our plans for the upcoming fieldwork season. It was a great opportunity to get to meet everyone (virtually!). The Committee has a great diversity of expertise which made for really insightful and interesting conversations about the trajectory of the project. We left the meeting with lots to think about and looking forward to the next one.
April was jam-packed with site visits, as we began placing acoustic recorders out at some of the windfarms. We visited five different windfarms, all across Ireland. The acoustic recorders will remain on-site for a couple of months. They are scheduled to record both birds and bats in the vicinity of the turbines near to which they were placed. The data that we gather from these recorders will then go on to inform a new environmental monitoring system that will be trained to automatically identify both birds and bats. It is still early days for the environmental monitoring system but getting these recorders out on site is a big first step towards this goal! The site visits also gave us the opportunity to discuss summer fieldwork with the partners we met on each site and raised questions about how we will navigate the large size of some of the sites and the range of habitats within a relatively limited fieldwork season. Visiting each of the sites in the springtime also provided an important glimpse into areas which we should prioritise during our surveys. It was also fantastic to see the biodiversity that was already starting to spring up at the windfarms we visited, such as hedgerows beginning to come into bloom as pollinators buzzed all around.
Nature+ Energy: Day In The Life
Emma & Anthony from the Nature+ Energy project visited one of the wind farms sites to deploy an acoustic recorder to measure bird and bat activity on site.