A ‘Green Highway’ in Galway City - Build It & They Will Come!


The survey of the Terryland River and its surrounding area, presently been undertaken by full-time summer intern Tara Speares and her supervisor Dr. Colin Lawton of NUI Galway, is further reinforcing the scientific evidence from over many decades that the community-driven council-managed Terryland Forest Park is having a significant positive impact on the numbers and species of biodiversity in Galway city and shows the critical importance of an ‘ecological corridor’ or 'green highways' (one of the objectives of its founders) in restoring wildlife in urban environments. Terryland connects the Corrib Waterways into the farm lands of east Galway. The park is Galway’s largest and oldest (2000) ‘rewilding’ initiative but hopefully not its last. With the continued huge growth in human populations and cities worldwide, it is crucial that we make significant spaces in urbanised areas to serve as wildlife sanctuaries as well as ensuring their protection from human footfall. Otherwise we destroy the very thing that we are trying to nurture and preserve. Parts of Terryland Forest Park as with parts of the other borough parks (Merlin Woods and Barna Woods/Rusheen Bay) across Galway admirably fulfill this function.

Photo shows Dr. Colin Lawton and intern Tara Speares with wood mice temporarily captured in ‘traps’ whose data was recorded before being released back into the wild. I enjoyed watching the freed little mammals disappear into the undergrowth of the woods and riverbanks.
Colin has a long and distinguished role in assessing the impact of Terryland on the city’s biodiversity as he has been undertaking different types of mammal surveys on its lands since 2004. His efforts provide important scientific data to policy makers, scientists, and environmentalists. Thank you Colin- we really admire and appreciate your great efforts!

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