Mourne YFC excels in achieving prestigious Green Flag Award

Mourne YFC have excelled in biodiversity throughout their bronze, silver and green award journey.

Mourne Young Farmer's Club has been awarded the prestigious Green Flag Eco Club Award through Ulster Wildlife’s Grassroots Program. They were presented with their Flag by Orlagh McNeill, project officer, YFCU, Grassroots Challenge and Charlene McKeown from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful
Mourne Young Farmer's Club has been awarded the prestigious Green Flag Eco Club Award through Ulster Wildlife’s Grassroots Program. They were presented with their Flag by Orlagh McNeill, project officer, YFCU, Grassroots Challenge and Charlene McKeown from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

Mourne YFC educated their members about the importance of biodiversity and took steps to create habitat for biodiversity and improve the natural environment.

This included working with Mourne Heritage Trust on Slieve Binnian where they put coils in water tracks to stop the water carrying the peat down the mountain, therefore allowing it to build back up again.

Peatlands are a really important habitat for biodiversity and very important carbon sinks so this work is really valuable.

Mourne YFC club members Rebecca Connor and Darren Corbett presenting the club donation to the Cornerstone Foodbank in Kilkeel

In addition, Mourne YFC members planted wildflowers, planted trees and created nest boxes for barn owls which can help to control rodents on the farm as well as making feeders for red squirrels and planters for pollinators.

The club also took part in many community beach clean ups at the Kilkeel harbour and Annalong beach.

The club also took part in the YFCU big clean where the club covered a four mile trek from the foot of the Mourne mountains to the coastal area of Annalong.

As the club is local to the sea, Mourne YFC also tasked the members with learning more about the marine environment and took part in events such as a night time rock pool ramble as well as visiting Rathlin to learn more about the marine wildlife and its importance.

Mourne YFC Eco Club Award Green Flag presentation

Commenting on the award, Alexey Janes, co-ordinator of the Grassroots Challenge at Ulster Wildlife, said: “I am so pleased to be congratulating Mourne YFC today on this exceptional achievement.

“What makes today extra special is that despite being a fairly new and small club, Mourne YFC was the first to really embrace the Eco Club Award Scheme.

“They were the first YFC in Northern Ireland to achieve the Bronze section back in 2017. Thanks must go to our partners at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful who administer the Eco Club Award scheme and to our funders the National Lottery Community Fund and Our Bright Future programme.

“Thanks are also due to project officer Andrew Gracey who visited Mourne YFC on many occasions over the last few years and more recently to staff member Orlagh McNeil who has supported the club through the final stages of the Green Award.

Mourne YFC eco committee members smiles all round after success building squirrels feeders that were later donated to the red squirrels United to help bring back the red squirrel population in the Mourne rural area

“Caring for wildlife and the environment and taking action in response to climate change is something we all need to do. Mourne YFC have led by example and as a result encouraged others to do the same.”

Eco club chair Darren Corbett would like to congratulate the club on all their hard work over these past few months.

He said: “Although we hit a few road bumps along the way with a global pandemic I am proud to say the club rose to the challenge and were rewarded with our green eco club status.

“On behalf of the club I would like to thank the Grassroots Challenge team for all the help and encouragement along the way.

“I can’t wait to see how the club grows from this achievement and look forward to the upcoming young farmer year.”

As the club launches into it seventh year we are looking forward to our upcoming winter programme which will launch in September with a fun filled action packed games nights team building. Meet new friends to last a life time. Join a family you never knew you needed. With endless laughter, jokes, farm visits, club nights out. There is something for everyone. You do not have to be a farmer to be a young farmer.

There is a wide range of competitions and activities, such as stock judging, tractor driving, tag rugby, football, floral art and choir practice.

If you would like to find out more about the club or find out what they get up to during their eco challenges check out the club’s Facebook page @mourneyfc.