Ponds for Wildlife- Why Ireland’s Wetlands are so Wonderful!

An Taisce’s Legacy4LIFE Ponds for Biodiversity team are delighted to announce the publication of their first Ponds for Wildlife pamphlet/poster. The pamphlet contains four A4 pages on the importance of ponds for wildlife and exploring the weird and wonderful plants and animals that call ponds their home. But that’s not all! The pamphlet folds out into a marvelous A2 poster captivatingly illustrated by talented children’s book illustrator Brian Fitzgerald. It will be available to download and print freely from our webpage: www.antaisce.org/ponds. The pamphlet/poster will be available from Friday 19th May in time to celebrate Biodiversity Week (19th-28th May).

Click here for the Ponds for Wildlife Pamphlet


Click here for the Poster 

Team lead, Aoife O’Rourke, says:

Our aim for the project is to promote the role that ponds can play as a refuge for biodiversity by supporting the development of expertise in pond creation, management, and conservation; and to raise public awareness and mobilise communities to appreciate the value these small wetland habitats possess for biodiversity, water quality and climate adaptation. 

We created this Ponds for Wildlife pamphlet in the hopes of capturing the nation’s imagination around ponds. In my experience it is only when people become aware of all the wonderful plants and creatures a given habitat supports that they are moved to conserve that place

Of the 12,200 small, enclosed water bodies across Ireland, 8,000 are less than a hectare in extent and the smallest categories have been subject to the greatest pressures. Yet, even the smallest ponds provide valuable habitats for a range of species: insects such as damselflies, dragonflies, pond skaters and whirligig beetles, amphibians such as frogs and newts, and birds such as Mallard, Moorhen, Snipe, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting as well as productive hunting grounds for Ireland’s 9 species of bat. 

Ponds are fantastic habitats for wildlife and have been demonstrated to host more biodiversity than rivers and lakes, particularly macroinvertebrates (animals lacking a backbone, large enough to see) and less common species. They support a whopping two thirds of all freshwater species. Permanent and naturally vegetated ponds are excellent at carbon sequestration. Research has found that small ponds sequestered 20-30 times the amount of carbon compared with woodlands, grasslands and other habitats. Therefore, making ponds a useful tool for local climate action.

Despite the clear importance of ponds for wildlife and climate change adaptation they are not yet directly protected by legislation e.g. the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Ireland has lost half of its amphibian breeding ponds in the past century alone. An Taisce’s Legacy4LIFE Ponds for Biodiversity team are working hard to help reverse this trend. 


Photo credit: Rob Gandola


Aoife O'Rourke: Aoife is a pond development officer and the ponds team lead. A conservation ecologist with a BSc in Environmental Biology, an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation and a Research MSc in plant-pollinator interactions of fixed dune ecosystems, she brings experience and skills from the research, ecological consultancy, and environmental NGO sectors of Ireland and the UK. Aoife has a passion for outreach and community engagement and enjoys connecting people with nature. 

Francesca Loughran: Francesca is an agricultural and ponds researcher, working part time on both the ‘Advancing Farm to Fork’ and ‘Ponds for Biodiversity’ projects. With a BSc in Animal Conservation Science and an MSc in Environmental Policy, she is well placed to draw on her broad knowledge across the spheres of biodiversity, environment, and policy, and communicate this through her research skills. Fran is also a member of the An Taisce Climate Change Committee and has previously worked with the Advocacy unit in the area of Climate Policy.

Rob Gandola: Rob is a herpetologist, wildlife consultant and occasional TV presenter.

Brian Fitzgerald: Brian is a Dublin based illustrator of children’s books.

Notes for Editor:

An Taisce www.antaisce.org

Legacy4LIFE programme www.antaisce.org/legacy4life

Ponds for Biodiversity Project www.antaisce.org/ponds

Illustrator Brian Fitzgerald www.brianfitzer.ie

About the Legacy4LIFE programme:

Legacy4LIFE is a 2-year programme which aims to develop community-based supports for Ireland’s natural environment, with a focus 󠅲on biodiversity enhancement, environmental protection and climate mitigation. 

The €0.5m programme is one of two EU Life Projects awarded in the Republic of Ireland in 2021, and is co-funded by the EU Life Programme (the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action), the European Climate Foundation, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

The Legacy4LIFE programme consists of three distinct projects:

  • Ponds for Biodiversity
  • Advancing Farm-to-Fork
  • Green Communities - Development of a Low Carbon Town Plan

Ponds for Biodiversity Objectives:

  • To establish a network of local authorities and other bodies who understand the value of ponds and commit to protecting/creating ponds on public lands.
  • To create a set of demonstration sites across Ireland which demonstrate to practitioners and policy makers how ponds can help to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
  • To ascertain the status of recent pond initiatives.
  • To establish an ‘adopt a pond’ network of citizen scientists/community groups to monitor and manage the newly created ponds, or existing ponds. Information to be fed back to the National Biodiversity Centre
  • To disseminate the project’s results to policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholders.
  • To engage individuals to establish ponds in their gardens, with clear guidance and tips, and a portal to enter their pond location.
  • To build capacity within Ireland for pond expertise, and operators skilled in pond creation.

For more information:

Aoife O’Rourke

Ponds for Biodiversity Team Lead

[email protected]


Francesca Loughran

Ponds for Biodiversity Researcher

[email protected]


-Aoife O’Rourke, Ponds for Biodiversity Team Lead