Life

Outdoors: It's all buzz for all-Ireland bee weekend

Ulster Beekeepers are among the groups taking part in the all-Ireland bee action event at Oxford Island
Andrea McKernon

IT'S all buzz this week with a two-day event in Co Armagh aimed at improving and protecting Ireland's bee and pollinator populations. Enthusiasts from a range of organisations will be on hand at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Oxford Island, Craigavon, to share their knowledge and answer questions.

Pollinators, vital for crops, have been in decline due to a number of factors including the use of pesticides.

Among those taking part in the weekend event will be the Ulster Beekeepers group, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation and Buglife with everything from honeybees to hoverflies, butterflies and moths discussed.

It is the first in a series of all-island regional meetings and will be held on Friday and Saturday, February 17 and 18. The all-Ireland pollinator plan [2015 to 2020] is a strategy to address pollinator decline and protect our bees and insects. In September 2015, 68 government and other organisations came together to publish a shared action plan with a pledge to work together to reverse pollinator losses and help create an Ireland where these vital insects can survive and thrive.

The plan identifies 81 actions to make Ireland more pollinator friendly. One includes holding an annual meeting that rotates around the four provinces to raise

awareness, discuss progress and plan for future action.

Day one will focus on the role councils can play in pollinator conservation, with new guidance outlining actions councils can take. Speakers will discuss successful examples of pollinator projects occurring in coordination with councils throughout Ireland.

Day two provides a general opportunity for everyone with an interest in bees and pollinators to get together to learn about and discuss how to conserve species in our gardens and open spaces.

The event is free to attend but advance booking is essential. To book a place and for further information, email Dr Erin Jo Tiedeken at etiedeken@biodiversityireland.ie or

call 00 353 (0)8604 56113. The full programme is available at www.biodiversityireland.ie/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Feb_2017-Pollinator-Plan-Event-Programme.pdf.

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