‘Meadows at the Met’ was a project to back meadows to a historic meteorological observatory. It was led by Calum Sweeney and Fiach Byrne, UCC LIVE Project, in 2022 in collaboration with Met Éireann staff in Valentia Observatory, and is detailed in a previous Met News article Meadows return to Valentia.
Since then, the project was nominated for a Biodiversity Award at the 2022 National Heritage Week Awards. This award was won by Kerry Biosphere, however we were honoured to be nominated, and to be a runner up for this conservation award.
National Heritage Awards – Biodiversity Award
The Heritage Council’s National Heritage Awards celebrate the most engaging projects and events organised by National Heritage Week project organisers under several categories. The Observatory was recognised as a runner up in the Biodiversity group. This is awarded to the event or project that successfully encouraged a greater appreciation of our natural world or a consideration of the variety of plant and animal life in the area, and / or conservation of native species and natural landscapes, and / or that considers a resilient and sustainable future for the environment.
All submitted projects were considered on the basis of their fulfilment of the criteria established for National Heritage Week 2022, as follows:
- Community engagement: has the project maximised engagement with the local community?
- Cross-generational collaboration: has the project brought different generations together to share knowledge and skills?
- Awareness-raising: is there a clear plan for growing awareness of the project at community-level and beyond?
- Existing networks / resources: has the project organiser(s) drawn on heritage organisations and resources (websites, guides, etc.) to inform their project?
- All projects must also clearly promote at least one aspect of natural, cultural or built heritage, and have a clear educational value by helping people to engage with and find out more about heritage.
A public event tour to showcase the meadows rewinding initiative at Valentia Observatory was held on Saturday August 13th 2022 and was organised by Calum Sweeney and Brian Fiach of the UCC Live Project in conjunction with Valentia Staff and was very well attended.
The gardens and the rewilding areas are managed by local staff Leo McCarthy and Andrew Garvey. Karen O Connell and Charles Gillman assisted with the tour on the day.
It is planned to continue with the initiative in 2023 and this will be part of the Observatory open day event to be held in May.