With committees working across areas such as biodiversity, recycling and overall sustainability, the competition is now a champion for being more environmentally friendly. There is no better example than the moves that SuperValu TidyTowns committees have made with regard to pollination.
For more great tips visit pollinators.ie
A decline in pollination is a growing concern across the country with bee numbers falling and one third of Ireland’s bee species at risk of extinction. Bees play a pivotal role in crop pollination, without them there would be a dramatic reduction in the world’s food supply. Of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food supply, 71 are pollinated by bees (Lewis, 2019). There is also the obvious reliance on honey bees for honey production.
According to the SuperValu TidyTowns adjudicators, over 80% of all 883 committees that entered the SuperValu TidyTowns competition in 2018 were implementing actions for pollinators, with 66 entering the pollinator award in 2018 (National Biodiversity Data Centre, 2019).
SuperValu TidyTowns committees across Ireland work every day to make their communities more pollination friendly, with initiatives such as building bee hotels, creating wildflower areas and planting bee friendly orchards being implemented in towns all over the country. Examples of committees that are leading the way in this space are towns like Clonmel, Ennis and Sneem.
Dunboyne Bee Hotel (Dunboyne TidyTowns)
Carmel Dillon, chairperson for Dunboyne TidyTowns committee, spoke to us on why they have gotten so involved with pollination in their local community. ‘It’s just a project that the whole village can get behind. When we started, we wanted to do a biodiversity project and I looked around and I saw the All Ireland Pollinator plan and it looked very practical. The actions are simple and clear.’
Carmel, a keen gardener, was keen to learn more about how to be pollinator friendly. Dunboyne TidyTowns have worked on a range of pollination projects, from carrying out workshops with the local schools to make them more informed around the subject of pollination, to working with local shops to advise and promote the sale of pollinator friendly plants. The committee have introduced pollinator friendly signage around the town and aided in the building of bee hotels to help the local bee population thrive. When asked what her tips and tricks are on pollination, Carmel advised to avoid daffodils and tulips as they are not pollinator friendly and try to provide food for bees all year round. Plants that are good for autumn planting include snow drops, allium, crocus and heather. These plants bloom in early February, providing food for bees coming out of hibernation.
Another champion from the town is the new Nally’s SuperValu Dunboyne, who have also gotten involved in their local TidyTowns pollination efforts. Owner Steven Nally stated, ‘Obviously it is important to protect our bee population, they are vital for crop growth and honey production. Pollination projects are a great way to help the environment and improve your community.’ The store has a bee hotel featured on site, as well as having created a bee friendly wildflower area in their car park.
Dunboyne Wildflower area
SuperValu TidyTowns is continuing to make strong impacts in the areas of pollination, water and energy conservation as well as biodiversity. With the competition reaching an all-time high in entries of 918 in 2019, it is set to continue to make a growing impact on sustainability with each passing year, with more and more towns across Ireland getting involved. Interested in doing your part?