Tidy Towns groups in County Clare are being invited to enter a special award scheme that promotes the protection of pollinators.
Irish bees and other pollinators contribute €35 million every year to the Irish economy by pollinating our plants, trees and vegetables. However, pollinators including bees, pollen wasps, ants, bee flies and hoverflies; flower beetles, and butterflies and moths are under serious threat due to the loss of natural and semi-natural habitats.
In response to this, Local Authority Heritage Officers and Biodiversity Officers, in partnership with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, launched a Tidy Towns “Let’s Get Buzzing- Local Authority Pollinator Award” in 2016. The Special Award, which encourages Tidy Towns groups to support the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan by making their communities more pollinator-friendly, features a prize fund of €9,000.
58 Tidy Towns groups participated in 2016. Monaghan Tidy Towns (national winner of the Large Town category) turned the town into an urban orchard by encouraging residents to plant pollinator friendly fruit trees.
“The majority of pollinator actions are neither expensive nor complicated,” explained Congella McGuire, Clare County Council Heritage Officer. She added, “They can range from simply changing the grass mowing regime, to planting pollinator friendly trees and shrubs, or raising awareness by promoting the Junior All-Ireland Pollinator Plan to youth groups and schools.”
The National Biodiversity Data Centre has produced practical guidelines to help communities and Tidy Towns groups to take action. “Local communities can lead the way in creating an Ireland where pollinators can thrive,” stated Dr. Erin Jo Tiedeken, Pollinator Plan Officer, National Biodiversity Data Centre.