Adrian Greene, Síona Cahill, Sarajane McNaboe, Jane Glennon and Tony Shields with some of the students at the Mean Scoil Mhuire launch
To celebrate 35 years of Gaisce – The President’s Award, the organisation is encouraging people in Longford regardless of age, location or size of back garden to take up their own Gaisce challenge this autumn and plant a pollinator-friendly bulb to protect one of the most important players in the climate change battle – bees.
If planted in Autumn, the bulbs will bloom in Spring. The #BulbsForBees campaign is supported by President Michael D. Higgins and the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan who have worked with Gaisce to undertake the largest ever pollination project in Ireland. The pollinator friendly bulbs will bloom in Spring creating a variety of flowers including crocus tommasinianus barr’s purple, allium moly and muscari armeniacum.
To date over 50,000 pollinator-friendly bulbs have made their way to every post-primary school in the country; to Gaisce Award Partners including disability services, prisons and volunteer centres with the help of An Post.
An additional 300,000 bulbs are being distributed through the Irish Local Development Network to the wider youth and community sector with support from the Department of Children, Equality, Integration, Disability and Youth.
Commenting in support of the campaign, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, said: “I thank all those who will be partaking in this special Gaisce challenge and who, by doing so, make a profound statement of their real desire to protect the life we share on this planet.”
Speaking about the initiative, Adrian Greene, CEO of Longford Community Resources CLG said: “We were delighted to distribute a massive number of 6,000+ bulbs to support the #BulbsForBees campaign - we had an unbelievable response to the initiative here in Longford.
“We were delighted to partner with Gaisce – The President’s Award and local community and youth groups to do our bit to protect our bee population. We are excited to be part of the largest ever pollination project in Ireland. All 6,000 have been dispersed across Longford, so now we're excited to see them all get planted - we want to know how it goes so put it up on your social media and let us know.”
Also commenting, Yvonne McKenna CEO of Gaisce – The President’s Award, said: “We are calling on people to pick up a pollinator bulb and plant it, to help safeguard the future of our vital bee population.
“One third of our bee species is threatened with extinction in Ireland. This is because we have drastically reduced the number of flowers they eat and places where they can safely nest. We’re asking everyone from schools and local authorities to sports clubs and shops to come together and create an Ireland where pollinators can survive and thrive.”
Longford’s Síona Cahill, who is involved with the campaign said, “We were delighted to launch ‘Bulbs for Bees’ in Longford recently with Longford Community Resources and Scoil Mhuire.
“Just like the Gaisce Award, bulbs don’t grow overnight. They need care, commitment and attention. That’s at the heart of Gaisce as a self-development award for young people, and a challenge from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. On this occasion, everyone can get a commemorative Gaisce cert. Just plant pollinator friendly bulbs and sign up on the Gaisce website.
“Planting pollinator- friendly bulbs now to bloom next spring is a small but vital step in reinvigorating the biodiversity in our Longford landscape. Whether you’re a family, a business or you’re renting and you have a pot or a planter outside the door, every flower matters in supporting our wild Irish bee population to survive. We need them for our crops and for our food.
“Longford’s boglands and rural areas are thriving with wildflowers and a cacophony of flora and fauna, but we do each need to do our bit to ensure that remains the case.
“Some farming practices and the heavy use of pesticides and weedkillers have been hurting the natural environment that our native bees need for pollination. We can all do our bit and not leave it just to the brilliant tidy towns’ groups to do it for us.”
Members of the public are also encouraged to visit their local garden centre to pick up a pollinator friendly bulb to participate in the challenge.
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