Trinity College Dublin: Schools around Ireland aim to Save The Bees as new campaign launches

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, today launched the Save The Bees Campaign in partnership with the All-Ireland Pollinator plan and SuperValu TidyTowns.

All 3,241 primary schools in Ireland will be sent a SuperValu Save the Bees Pollinator Pack so they can create their own bee-friendly garden.

These sustainably sourced Pollinator Packs were co-created with Dr Una Fitzpatrick, Head of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, and endorsed by SuperValu TidyTowns. They contain guidebooks, posters and bookmarks in addition to a pollinator-friendly garden kit with flower seeds and a garden sign.

The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is a shared plan of action, which aims to help restore pollinator populations to healthy levels. It was conceived on the back of scientific research into bee declines.

With one-third of the 100 Irish bee species at risk of extinction, there are significant risks to wild and crop plant pollination, as well as to natural ecosystems that are crucial for tackling climate change and supporting human health and well-being. This research continues through an open network of pollinator researchers committed to building the evidence base for pollinator conservation and management in Ireland.

The first All-Ireland Pollinator Plan (2015-2020) was initiated by Dr Úna FitzPatrick, National Biodiversity Data Centre, and Professor Jane Stout from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Natural Sciences, and then developed by a 15-member All-Ireland steering group.

The second version of the AIPP (2021 – 2025) builds on the success of the first phase and identifies a total of 186 actions. Key to the Plan’s success have been sector-specific guidelines, that give advice on what people can do to help protect pollinators. These guidelines draw on the latest research on the effectiveness of different actions for pollinators, and have helped local community groups, schools, businesses, local authorities and farmers across the length and breadth of Ireland take positive action.

Currently, Professor Stout’s team in Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences is working with businesses, farmers, local councils and other land-managers to assess pollinator diversity and test pollinator-friendly actions.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, said:

“Protecting our pollinators helps in turn to protect our planet which is why I am thrilled to launch the SuperValu Save the Bees campaign. Educating our children and communities about the importance of pollinators is vitally important and I look forward to seeing bee-friendly school gardens pop up across the country in the coming weeks and months.”

Dr Una Fitzpatrick, Head of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, said:

“The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is our opportunity to step forward and take action to save Ireland’s bee population from the threat of serious decline. This is why we’re delighted to partner with SuperValu for the ‘Save the Bees’ campaign, which is about educating ourselves and playing an effective role in saving our garden allies. We look forward to seeing the great impact that children across Ireland’s primary schools will have in helping to create 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:

“Bees are an important component of Irish biodiversity and help maintain plant communities and natural ecosystems that are crucial in tackling climate change and in supporting human health and well-being. In addition, fruits and seeds contribute to a huge amount of the world’s food supply, with more than 75 per cent of leading food crops benefitting from animal pollination.

“We can help reverse the decline in bees and other pollinators by making sure their habitats are rich with flowers to forage on and free of harmful threats, which is why this SuperValu Save the Bees campaign is so important.”

Through the Save the Bees campaign, SuperValu will work with schools and communities across Ireland to help educate people on the very real and current threat facing Ireland’s bees.

Commenting on the campaign, Ian Allen, SuperValu Managing Director, said:

“At SuperValu, we are huge supporters of Irish producers and suppliers. We source 75 per cent of our goods in Ireland, and we want to keep buying and supporting Irish and local, which is why we are so committed to protecting pollinators. We are delighted to work with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan to make change through our Save the Bees campaign. There are simple steps we can all take to make Ireland a habitable ecosystem for bees and our SuperValu Save The Bees packs will provide support awareness, education and action for children across the country. This initiative will also give children the fantastic opportunity to win a share of €50,000 for their primary school.”

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