Killarney National Park Woodland Conservation Project
Description: Killarney National Park in Co. Kerry in the south west of Ireland is over 10,000 hectares in size and comprises mountains, lakes and woodland. The park is managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. It has an extensive range of trees, plants and wildlife. In the 19th century the rhododendron tree/bush (Rhododendron ponticum) was introduced and this has proved to be a highly invasive and destructive tree and has threatened to colonise large areas of the park. The rhododendron is threatening the bio diversity of the park and many native species of trees, shrubs, mosses are under threat.
Type of Work: Volunteers will work on natural methods of rhododendron control in remote mountain areas of the park such as dead-heading rhododendrons, stem treating of mature plants with small tools, the picking of seedlings and cutting of saplings using secateurs. The work may include using handheld tools such as loppers and hatchets, which you will receive full training on how to use safely on the 2nd day of the project. In addition, volunteers will help to construct dead hedges using dead rhododendrons, and in habitat conservation by pulling up seedlings, as well as assisting with visitor awareness in the National Park.
Accommodation: Accommodation will be in a dormitory style hostel in the park, with all modern appliances. Volunteers will cook for themselves on a rota basis and will bring a packed lunch to their worksite each day. Please note there is no wifi at the hostel and phone reception in the park is limited, but wifi is available in a local pub 15 mins walk from the hostel.
Requirements: Since the work in Killarney is in remote areas of the National Park and the work itself can be physically demanding, a moderate level of physical fitness is required. The park terrain is mountainous and tough, and volunteers need to be fit enough to handle this.
Approximate Location: 5km from Killarney, Co. Kerry in the southwest of Ireland
Notes: The midge fly is widespread in the park as well as ticks so volunteers must be prepared to use a strong insect repellent and wear a protective net when working. The park will provide nets, gloves and rubber boots. Volunteers are also required to wear long sleeves and trousers while working.