Cork City buzzing after biodiversity-friendly conference

On April 11th, the 2019 All-Ireland Pollinator Plan conference focusing on how Councils can support and enhance local biodiversity through the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan came to Cork. Over 120 attendees including senior planners, landscape architects, Sustainability, and Parks and Gardens staff from local authorities all over the island attended this conference on how public lands can be managed to support pollinating insects.

Pollinators have suffered huge declines in recent decades, with one-third of our 99 Bee species currently at risk of extinction. The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is a shared plan of action that aims to reverse those declines by increasing pollinator-friendly habitats across the island.

On April 11th at the Ambassador Hotel in Cork, training was provided on the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, followed by an interesting line-up of guest speakers, who can offer advice on what to plant for pollinators; how to alter mowing regimes; road verge maintenance; and alternatives to pesticides. This event offered an opportunity for knowledge exchange and to learn from the experiences of other project managers.

Juanita Browne and Dr Úna Fitzpatrick spoke about how councils can now become partners to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and outlined all the choices of actions councils may like to take to help pollinators.

Rachel Bain, a Biodiversity Officer from Northern Ireland, who manages the ‘Don’t Mow, Let it Grow’ project gave an inspiring presentation on how she works with landowners, farmers and volunteers to deliver beautiful meadows on verges and in parklands in Northern Ireland.

Nick Mole, from the international organisation Pesticide Action Network, explained how a growing number of cities, including Barcelona and Paris have become completely pesticide-free cities, and went through some of the chemical-free alternatives for maintenance.

Anne Murray, Biodiversity Officer with Dún Laoghaire Rathdown, explained all that DLR are doing to chance their land maintenance to become pollinator-friendly including eliminating the use of pesticides outside of invasive species treatment. Reduced grass-cutting has resulted in short and long meadows throughout the county.

According to Juanita Browne, Project Officer with The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, “Nowadays, there is a lot of interest in biodiversity-friendly land management, but many managers don’t know how this is done as it is a new concept to many. The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan provides clear evidence-based guidelines on how to create biodiversity-friendly landscapes that are low or zero-cost. We were thrilled to be welcomed to Cork this year for our conference. We met so many enthusiastic staff from Cork City Council and are looking forward to finding new ways of working together towards making Cork more pollinator-friendly”.

Funding for this conference was provided by Cork City Council and Cork County Council through the support of Heritage Officers Niamh Twomey, Cork City Council, and Conor Nelligan, Cork County Council.

Following on from the conference Cork City Council is delighted to announce that we have signed up as partners the All Ireland to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.

Niamh Twomey, Heritage Officer, Cork City Council; Deputy Mayor Cllr Joe Kavanagh; Prof Jane Stout, Trinity College Dublin; Juanita Browne, Project Officer, All-Ireland Pollinator Plan; and Dr Una Fitzpatrick, National Biodiversity Data Centre

Niamh Twomey, Heritage Officer, Cork City Council; Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Joe Kavanagh; Prof Jane Stout, Trinity College Dublin; Juanita Browne, Project Officer, All-Ireland Pollinator Plan; and Dr Úna Fitzpatrick, National Biodiversity Data Centre