Caroline Stanley, The Environmentalist
Caroline Stanley is a community activist, environmentalist, and musician. She believes strongly in community engagement and the collaboration process at the earliest stages of development between all stakeholders which benefits us all and reduces conflict scenarios. She believes in the implementation of progressive policies and education in climate and biodiversity issues.
As a member of Friends of Merlin Woods which began in 2012 , she has led campaigns to protect against unnecessary development and continues the fight alongside the community to ensure that the woods will be protected into the future. Organising events such as litter picks, workshop trainings on coppicing and stonewalling building which benefits the woodland and promotes sustainable management practices which protects heritage features and helps the native species to grow. Each year she facilitates both Biodiversity and Heritage week events in Merlin Woods which help educate the community and wider public on the heritage and many species of Merlin Woods.
Alongside her husband Colin Stanley they have created information videos on the wildlife of Merlin Woods working with the knowledge they have gained themselves and experts on species. The group have also compiled a wildlife booklet on a selection of species to be found in the woodland and information signs within the woodlands . They have received awards from the Mayor of Galway and the Heritage Council in Ireland. They engage and collaborate with the local community, schools, universities through many different mediums using art, drama, music, photography, film and educational activities to increase the importance and knowledge of the wildlife species within the woodland habitats.
To increase the awareness of biodiversity, Caroline brought the idea to Healthy Galway to run walks that focus on educating about biodiversity as she felt it was important that people when giving the information about their surroundings would help them to appreciate and understand nature more.
The Nature for Health Project, a pilot project for the city was developed working with Heathy Galway City, Galway Sports Partnership and Terryland Forest Alliance. Caroline developed a 10-week walking programme to take place in Merlin Woods and which she facilitated, exploring the history, nature and with guest leaders on mindfulness and botanical art. The programme was a huge success despite the setbacks of COVID 19. She will lead two further 10-week programmes will take place in Terryland Forest Park and Barna woods /Cappagh Park.
She is a representative for Galway City Community Network on the city council Climate action and Environmental SPC which helps to develop, monitor, and promote the implementation of policies which benefit the city. Caroline also helped set up the Galway Environmental Network which engages members from both the city and county and is currently co-chair alongside Niall O Brolchain.