There is hope on the horizon for Irish bees due to a concerted effort by the good people of the land to save them.
Thanks to Heather Humphreys, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, the Save The Bees Campaign was launched this week in partnership with the All-Ireland Pollinator plan and SuperValu TidyTowns.
This is an expansive and exciting project, and the scope is awe inspiring. The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan was conceived of based on scientific research into bee decline and the aim is to help restore pollinator populations to healthy levels.
And it comes just in time. Of 100 Irish bee species, one-third are at risk of extinction. This creates serious concerns about wild plant and crop pollination and natural ecosystems. Eventually human health will suffer if this trend isn’t reversed.
The first All-Ireland Pollinator Plan took place between 2015—2020 and was initiated by Dr. Una FitzPatrick of National Biodiversity Data Centre and Professor Jane Stout from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Natural Sciences. It was then developed by an All-Ireland steering group of 15 members.
Now the second version of the AIPP is rolling out (2021—2025) and it will build on what was accomplished in phase one. Sector-specific guidelines have much to do with the success of the plan, and 186 actions have been identified. This gives the populace actionable advice on what they can do to protect pollinators.
This unrelated 2:59-minute video by Irish Bee Conservation Project shows another project focused on saving Irish bees:
Guidelines are based on the most recent research, and Professor Stout’s team at Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences is currently working with farmers, local councils, and businesses, as well as other land-managers, to test pollinator-friendly actions and assess pollinator diversity.
Research is ongoing via an open network of pollinator researchers who are committed to establishing a data base of evidence for pollinator conservation and management in Ireland. This helps community groups, businesses, schools, farmers, and local authorities throughout the country to take useful action.
SuperValu, through the Save the Bees campaign, will work with schools and communities around Ireland to educate people of all ages about the current very real threat facing Ireland’s bees.
All of Ireland’s 3,241 primary schools will receive a SuperValu Save the Bees Pollinator Pack so each school can plant their own bee-friendly garden. The pack contains posters, guidebooks, and bookmarks, as well as a pollinator-friendly garden kit with flower seeds and a garden sign.
According to Heather Humphreys, protecting Ireland’s pollinators helps to protect our planet. She is thrilled to launch the SuperValu Save the Bees campaign. Educating children and communities about the importance of pollinators is super important and she can’t wait to see bee-friendly school gardens popping up around Ireland this spring.
Dr. Una Fitzpatrick sees The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan as Ireland’s chance to step up and take action to save the country’s bees from serious decline. The partnership with SuperValu for the ‘Save the Bees’ campaign is exciting. It is all about education and helping to save the garden allies. Ireland’s primary school children will have a great impact in creating a better future for bees.
Professor Jane Stout from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Natural Sciences and Deputy Chair of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, added that bee decline can be reversed by ensuring their habitats are rich with flowers to forage and free of harmful threats. Bees are a major component of Irish biodiversity and help maintain plant communities and natural ecosystems amongst other things. Fruits and seeds contribute to much of the world’s food supply and over 75% of food crops benefit from animal pollination.
SuperValu Managing Director Ian Allen said that SuperValu is a huge supporter of Irish producers and suppliers and they are committed to pollinator protection. They source 75% of their goods in Ireland locally and want to continue to buy this way. They enjoy working with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan to spark change through their Save the Bees campaign. Everyone can take simple steps to make Ireland a habitable ecosystem for bees. SuperValu Save The Bees packs will support awareness, education, and action for all Irish children. This initiative also gives them the chance to win part of €50,000 for their primary school.
Children are the future. They need bee pollination to survive. Educating children about bees changes the future for bees and people. We commend Ireland for this amazing citizen scientist type project and for having the wisdom to teach their children what is important in life.