MEMBERS of Waterford’s Friends of St John’s River group are busily preparing their activities for the year ahead.
This group of proactive volunteers have made huge strides in improving the area in and around St John’s River in Kilbarry since beginning their activities two years ago.
Much of the group’s work throughout the past weeks and months has centred on dealing with the aftermath of the recent storms which battered the area, along with ongoing general maintenance.
Volunteers have been busy removing cans and bottles as well as fallen trees, while they have also been busy planting woodland wildflowers and tree saplings.
The area’s newly constructed slip remained intact despite all of the recent flooding and strong currents.
Along with the construction of this impressive slip, significant work has been achieved to date by everyone associated with the Friends of St John’s River.
Since their efforts were first highlighted in this newspaper in 2014, the group’s members have attracted huge praise.
Unfortunately, this area had become known for some instances of anti-social behaviour but thankfully such issues are now being addressed by the powers that be.
And the contributions of the Friends of St John’s River group have undoubtedly helped with the transformation of the area’s image.
St John’s River, Kilbarry has been transformed into a recreational amenity which is now enjoyed by families and people of all ages.
The volunteers involved with the Friends of St John’s River group regularly give up their own time to help improve the area.
Its transformation is testament to their hard work and commitment to this very worthwhile project.
While they do not seek plaudits, the volunteers are certainly deserving of all the compliments which have come their way.
Last year, Brian Simpson and his fellow volunteers were recognised with an award from the Get Involved Sustainable Community Initiative.
The group hold regular meetings and their regular Saturday morning clean-ups have become popular social gatherings within the locality.
A whole host of various different events which have been organised throughout the past two years have showcased the beauty and potential of the river itself and the surrounding areas.
Boat meetings have been held throughout the past two summers which have highlighted the potential of the river for use by canoes, kayaks and small boats.
But these events were not just important for highlighting the recreational potential of the area.
They also served an important purpose by allowing the volunteers to establish areas of the river in need of further work in order to improve accessibility.
Additionally, a number of wildlife walks have taken place which proved very enjoyable and educational.
These walks took place under the guidance of Munster Express wildlife columnist Albert Nolan who provided fascinating details of the area’s abundant wildlife.
These events proved hugely popular with people of all ages including the many children who were in attendance.
Everyone was amazed at the diversity of wildlife in the area, as Albert regaled everyone with fascinating facts about butterflies, hoverflies, moths, wild roses, nettles, alder trees, and everything in between!
Now, the group’s members have a clear vision as they go forward into 2016.
The Friends of St. John’s River will hold a meeting on Tuesday, 9th February in the Sacred Heart Family and Resource Centre, Richardson’s Meadow, at 7.30pm.
This meeting will allow the volunteers to regroup after the winter months and to plan activities for the year ahead.
All are welcome to attend and the group would love to hear from new volunteers.
For more information check out the Friends of St John’s River, Kilbarry Facebook page.