Dr Catherine O'Reilly from the Department of Science in WIT and Dr Henry Schofield from the Vincent Wildlife Trust were honoured to meet Irish President Michael D Higgins this week at an Ireland-Wales event held in Swansea University. The MISE Project, which stands for Mammals in a Sustainable Environment, was selected as one of 11 projects to showcase the programme.
MISE was established in 2011 as a collaborative project between WIT (lead partner), Waterford City & County Council and the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Ireland and The Vincent Wildlife Trust, Natural Resources Wales and Snowdonia National Park Authority in Wales.
Earlier this year, the MISE project announced an extension of project activities to June 2015, thanks to additional part-funding by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Ireland Wales Programme (INTERREG 4A) which brings the total project funding to €1.68m. Through to June 2015, the MISE team in Ireland and Wales will continue to promote public awareness of mammals. The new and additional work packages will include advanced training for volunteers, mapping of habitat networks and the design of an educational resource pack.
MISE fosters the involvement of communities in Ireland and Wales in mammal conservation through public engagement in volunteer mammal survey work. This promotes stewardship of the local environment, up-skills members of the community and provides an alternative source of outdoor enjoyment. In Ireland, the survey work targets mammals such as otters, pine martens, bats and squirrels, and mammal monitoring in Wales also involves additional species such as polecats, weasels, harvest mice and dormice. Survey methods include faecal collections, hair-tube surveys and small mammal feeding stations. DNA testing is then carried out at Waterford Institute of Technology on the samples collected and this can reveal the species, the sex of the animal and can often identify a genetic fingerprint.
To date, MISE has established over 66 cross-border contacts linking schools, organisations and interest groups with members of the scientific community, and has engaged with over 3,000 people in Ireland and Wales as a direct result of the activity of the project.
For more information on the MISE project, to keep up-to-date and to get involved with upcoming events and activities, visit www.miseproject.ie