The National Trust, Northern Ireland’s leading conservation charity, is calling on people to ‘Bee Aware’, encouraging everyone to get involved to help reduce the decline of pollinators – insects which play a crucial part in ensuring plants produce fruit and seeds.
To help drive awareness of pollinators, the Trust has set a special ‘Bee Aware’ challenge for the first 3,000 visitors to the National Trust stand at Balmoral Show later this month. Visitors to the stand in the Eikon centre will receive native wildflower seeds to sow their own wildflower mini-meadow, to attract and support a wide array of native pollinators.
One in every three mouthfuls of our food relies upon pollination taking place to produce fruit and seeds. Bees are one of the better-known pollinators in Northern Ireland, but they are not alone. There are over 4,000 types of species that help pollination to take place, an important part of both food production and biodiversity.
There are many ways to help pollinator habitats: planting native wildflowers, trees and shrubs, creating pollinator homes and leaving part of your lawn uncut all help them to thrive. As a conservation charity and partner in the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, the National Trust works hard to protect nature. Our places provide homes and food for a wide variety of wildlife, and over the last few years the Trust has created 15 extra hectares of wildflower meadows and verges in Belfast, Fermanagh, Cushendun, and Castle Ward, bringing the total wildflower meadows in the Trust’s care in Northern Ireland to over 40 hectares – that’s about 80 football pitches!
Heather McLachlan, Regional Director of the National Trust Northern Ireland commented, “Bees, butterflies and bugs are an important part of nature, and they need our help. Their numbers are reducing due to the disappearance of natural and semi-natural habitats, so we must all work together to reverse this trend.
Planting native wildflowers is one of the most practical ways that people can help pollinators, providing a food source for bees and other insects.
At Balmoral Show this year, our challenge is to get 3000 visitors to ‘Bee Aware’ and sow their own mini-meadow. We will be providing native wildflower seeds, so that visitors can go home and sow 1.5 square metres for pollinators on their own patch.”
In addition to wildflower meadows, the National Trust also manages wildflower rich dune systems, and plants gardens, hedgerows and orchards with pollinators in mind. Other activities include monthly butterfly, moth and bee monitoring at their outdoor places which is an important part of understanding these species and their population. Collectively, this work is hugely important for the thousands of pollinators that urgently need our help to survive
In Northern Ireland, the National Trust has big ambitions for protecting nature and everyone can help their own way! Visit the National Trust stand at Balmoral Show (Stand 165 in the Eikon Centre) to find our more about the conservation charity’s important work. #NTnature