Grants of up €5,000 announced to capture and record Ireland’s natural history

The Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan T.D. today welcomed applications for the Department of Housing, Heritage and Local Government’s grant scheme to ensure Ireland’s natural history is captured and recorded.  The scheme, managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, aims to help established naturalists recording in Ireland to maintain and enhance their expertise in species identification, and to develop the next generation of natural history recorders. Applications under the scheme for 2023 are now being sought. 

Ireland has a long tradition of natural history recording, and natural history recorders are recognised as vital in maintaining the quality of information on Ireland’s native species and natural and semi-natural habitats. However, the National Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage recognises that the recording community – individuals and groups – needs support to carry out their important work. 

Grants are available for volunteer, unpaid recorders, or groups, societies and associations of recorders who have limited or no access to financial supports for their work. This is the fifth year of the grant scheme and it has supported over 70 projects to date. 

Grants under the scheme in the past have covered the entire range of Irish natural history including site recording of biological groups (e.g. moths, other terrestrial invertebrates, bats, plants and marine organisms), support for publications and websites and support to purchase specialist equipment.

In 2022, a record number of grants received funding offers and these included:

  • Surveys of rookeries in County Laois;
  • Funding towards the publication of the Flora of County Wexford;
  • Bee identification courses in County Wicklow;
  • Acoustic survey of Nathusius’ Pipistrelle bat in County Cavan;
  • Trialling non-invasive survey techniques for Irish Stoat;
  • Insect survey in Killarney National Park;
  • Skate and ray surveys of Tralee Bay.

The data generated by these recording exercises is utilised by the NPWS to inform its understanding of the distribution and ecology of many species and to assess their status. In turn, it informs advice on nature conservation objectives and practical measures to protect species and habitats.

Minister Noonan said: “I’m delighted to announce that this popular scheme is open to applications again this year. We’ve seen some great work done in local communities through this scheme and I’m proud to support the work of our specialist recorders with these grants. I hope, given the increased time people have spent engaging with nature over recent years that more nature enthusiasts will apply for this funding and join this vibrant network.

This scheme also supports the work of the NPWS in recording many aspects of individual species and provides great value to our Department in establishing useful data to support conservation.”

Applications should be submitted by 5pm on 31st March 2023. The form and further details can be found at

Application forms will ONLY be accepted by email submission to

Further Information

The maximum value of an individual grant is €5000. The number of grants awarded will be determined by the total budget and the quality of the applications. NPWS reserves the right to award as many grants as are deemed suitable. In general, a project is expected to be completed within 2023, however certain types of projects that extend into 2024 are eligible.

Types of projects

Grants can be used for biological recording and for collation and dissemination of data related to the Natural History of Ireland. Applications covering all areas of Irish Natural History are welcome – all semi-natural and natural habitats or native species can be covered by grants.

The types of costs that can be covered under the grant scheme are:

  • Fieldwork expenses (travel and subsistence) within Ireland. Fieldwork expenses outside Ireland will not generally be covered, but may be eligible where there is a demonstrable benefit to Natural History recording in Ireland
  • Purchase of specialist fieldwork equipment, books and keys. Note such purchases can only be funded where used for voluntary, non-commercial projects over their full life-cycle. Please include in your application information on the ownership and use of any equipment/books after your grant is complete
  • Costs of running workshops and training courses
  • Costs of attending specialist training courses
  • Costs of visits to museums to do research in collections
  • Publication of atlases, field guides or keys. Note sample text or pages should be submitted with the application
  • Websites and online databases
  • Discrete elements of larger projects (including projects that have already started)

Grants will not cover:

  • academic research
  • conservation measures and management work, including any associated survey or monitoring
  • any aspect of professional employment including payment to contractors (Note: this does not apply to training costs, including engaging a trainer, which are eligible under the grant scheme)
  • assets such as computer hardware
  • invasive and non-native species
  • domesticated species
  • work that is covered by other grants or financial supports i.e. any duplicate funding