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Launch of new conservation group promises to promote and protect Louth's natural resources.

A new conservation group, "Louth Nature Trust Ltd.", has been launched in order to protect the county's natural resources and to aid in promoting awareness of and interest in the landscape, wildlife, flora and fauna of Co. Louth.

In collaboration with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Birdwatch Ireland, the Louth Nature Trust has already embarked on managing the Little Tern Conservation Project at Baltray.

Little Terns are Ireland's rarest breeding seabirds which nest at only a few sites in Ireland. The birds nest on the beach, leaving their chicks and their eggs vulnerable and in need of protection from dogs, walkers, various natural predators and other disturbances.

Launching the group, Chairperson Sandra McKeever said, "This project is of international significance. With a species in decline, we have a real opportunity to protect these birds. The Little Terns will nest again in Baltray from May through to August. Our volunteers will be on hand, monitoring the beach during the daylight hours of the three month breeding season so as the Little Tern eggs and young are given their best chance of survival".

Ms McKeever who oversaw the project last year says the project has been of huge benefit, "Last summer we were delighted by the hatching and survival of 41 chicks, who we hope to see return in the future from Africa where they spend the winter"

Sandra McKeever says "the group will expand in time, actively acquiring and/or managing other sites of conservation interest". The group promises to promote nature conservation in Co. Louth and to monitor the quality of the environment in the county and also in surrounding counties.

To coincide with the launch of the group a website has been launched http://www.louthnaturetrust.org/. Louth Nature Trust is committed to working with public representatives, local authorities, government agencies, non- governmental organisations, businesses, and the general public to promote and protect Louth's natural resources. The Trust welcomes information and suggestions from the public on sites and issues of interest.



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