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Community University Biodiversity Action

About the Initiative

Community University Biodiversity Action (CUBA) is a partnership initiative between SECAD Partnership, Cork communities and University College Cork.  

The initiative brings community expertise together with academia to collaborate and build capacity to address Ireland’s biodiversity crisis. It supports a range of community university partnership activities including a series of coordinated Key Action Projects being delivered over a five year period (2019-2023), and ongoing activities delivered through student placements and CARL(Community Research Academic Links) community based research projects.

Student Wildwork Podcasts

Rachel Hayden and Kinga Szalecka talk carbon sequestration, biodiversity action plans, managing green spaces and more in these podcasts created during student placement with Wildwork.

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Research partnership supports Ballyvergan biodiversity action plan

Ecology student, in partnership with Youghal Tidy Towns, completed a study into the factors that effect Ballyvergan Marsh, supporting the community's local biodiversity action plan.

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Key Action Projects

The CUBA Partnership Initiative and Key Action Projects represents a pioneering coordinated effort to bring community and university expertise together, working initially with the communities of Carrigtwohill and Passage West. The ambition is that in time, additional communities across the region will become involved.

Starting in 2017, SECAD Partnership CLG and Cork County Council facilitated the development of Town and Village Renewal Plans in the Cork communities of Carrigtwohill and Passage West. Local biodiversity working groups were established and each community developed bespoke five-year biodiversity action plans to complement the main renewal plans. Both plans identified partnership with academia as a key action, reflecting the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021.

SECAD and UCC began to explore how a community and university partnership could be formed to support these and other local communities engaging in biodiversity action.  During UCC’s Community Week in October 2019 community and university partners came together explore the opportunity. A number of key action projects were identified and a plan to deliver them over the period 2019-2023 was devised, beginning with the establishment of an advisory group to steer the effort. Read preliminary report here. 

In collaboration with UCC Green Campus, the Environmental Research Institute at UCC and Cork County Council, the agreed Key Action Projects set out to deliver a coordinated series of actions across:

❖ Community based research: Supporting and encouraging the communities to carry out biological recording and other citizen science projects.

❖ Training and knowledge development and awareness raising.

❖ Volunteer Mobilisation

❖ Grant identification

❖ Capturing learning from the initiative and dissemination

To be implemented over five years (2019-2023), the emphasis in the Key Action Projects is on quality over quantity of outputs, and progression over a manageable timescale that is respectful of local resident’s time. The realisation of projects will recognise the importance of community leadership and ownership of the overall initiative.

SECAD Partnership CLG is a local partnership company whose remit is to provide a range of rural development and social inclusion supports to communities. Through its Wild Work initiative SECAD is harnessing its community development experience and expertise to enable local communities to have a real impact on environmental issues through increasing people’s awareness, respect and understanding of biodiversity and empowering and enabling them to act. SECAD Partnership is also one of the named representative organisations in Irelands National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021.

Enquiries on the Community University Biodiversity Action initiative can be sent to

Civic & Community Engagement

Comhpháirteachas Cathartha agus Pobail