The Pollinator project
Helping pollinators at schools across Ireland.
The Pollinator Project was launched by 'Biodiversity in Schools' in 2012. It is a celebration of Ireland’s wonderful pollinating insects including our busy Bees, Butterflies, Moths and Hoverflies.
Bees in particular have had a very hard time lately, with 1 in 3 species now threatened with extinction. 'Biodiversity in Schools' devised an education programme for primary schools to raise awareness of this situation and sought to train primary school students as pollinator ambassadors for their schools. Not only this, but individual pollinator plans for schools were created with the students to manage their gardens in a bee-friendly way.
Schools have been hugely interested in taking part in this campaign and since 2012 we're delighted to report that over 15,000 primary school students have taken part, taking real action towards pollinator conservation at school and at home.
Ireland is home to 99 species of bee (honey, bumble and solitary) but worryingly more than half of these have undergone substantial declines in their numbers since the 1980s. Research published in 2006 found that over 30% of Irish species are threatened with extinction, with some already having become extinct. The cause for such concern is not just about honey production, as only one species produces commercially extractable honey, but because of the ecological value of bees. They are often referred to as pollinators; a group of insects who perform the critical process of transferring pollen from one flower to another, ultimately completing the lifecycle of the flower and giving rise to the food we eat. The importance of such insects to our food system is astonishing; 71 of the top 100 world food crops are dependent on pollination, a service worth €153 billion per year.
Junior All-Ireland Pollinator Plan (2015-2020)
All-Ireland Pollinator Plan (2015-2020)
The State of Ireland’s Bees (2006)
A huge thank you to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the County Councils across Ireland who have funded the Pollinator Project since 2012, including: Wexford, Longford, Cavan, Westmeath, Fingal, South Dublin, Sligo, Monaghan, Donegal, Kilkenny and Carlow. Many thanks to the Heritage Council's 'Heritage in Schools Scheme' for enabling us to offer subsidised school visits. Thanks also to the Trinity Centre for Biodiversity Research and Professor Jane Stout for scientific advice. Finally, massive thanks to the schools for taking an interest and getting involved!