Northern Ireland news

Causeway Hospital becomes first healthcare site in Ireland to give over portion of grounds to help endangered bees

`Don't Mow, Let It Grow' volunteer Donna Rainey looking for Orange Tip Butterfly eggs on `Lady’s Smock'. Picture by All-Ireland Pollinator Plan

A CO Derry hospital has become the first healthcare site in Ireland to give over an area of its grounds to an initiative to boost numbers of endangered bees and other pollinators.

The Northern Health Trust has officially supported the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan after a nurse at Coleraine's Causeway Hospital worked with a groundsman to find a suitable portion of land.

Donna Rainey is also a co-founder of the three-year Don't Mow, Let it Grow project which has brought together Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, DFI Roads and NIEA to focus on the conservation of semi-natural grassland with the management of road verges and amenity grasslands across the local authority area.

The hospital yesterday officially signed up to the initiative.

"There are extensive grounds around the hospital and much of the area is suitable for meadow," she wrote for the All Ireland Pollinator Plan website.

"It was decided to set aside areas to only mow each Autumn, and where all the cuttings would be removed. The results have been stunning. Many species of butterflies, moths, bumblebees and hoverflies frequent the meadows. Birds and even hedgehogs enjoy the bountiful supply of food. A population of Marsh Helleborine orchids were found in the large wet meadow several years ago.

"This year a large population of common wintergreen was discovered under hedging in the staff carpark.

"The benefits to physical and mental health for both patients and staff are huge. All hospital grounds should include areas rich in diversity, wildflowers and native trees."

One third of bee species are threatened with extinction from Ireland due to a drastic reduction in the amount of flowers and safe nesting sites.

The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan has been trying to bring together farmers, local authorities, schools, gardeners and businesses to bring back suitable habitat.

:: To find out more about becoming a supporter of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, see https://pollinators.ie/partners/supporters/.

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