GAA becomes official supporter of All Ireland Pollinator Plan
To mark World Earth Day 2021 (Thursday, April 22), the GAA is announcing that it has signed up as an official partner organisation of the new All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2021-2025.
The Association has pledged to increase the number of clubs and venues that are pollinator friendly by promoting to all its units the new Pollinator-Friendly Management of Sports Clubs resource, developed recently by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. The booklet includes five practical actions to support pollinators in sports ground and features examples from GAA clubs across the island. It is also one of the resources that is guiding the 45 clubs and two regional grounds active in the GAA’s Green Club programme pilot, launched in December 2020 as part of the GAA’s work as an official SDG champion of the Irish government.
The Kilmeen/Kilbree GAA club in West Cork is one of the clubs featured in the Pollinator-Friendly Management of Sports Club toolkit and is also involved in the GAA Green Club programme pilot, focusing specifically on the theme of biodiversity. A biodiversity audit of the club grounds on March 9, 2019, identified (amongst others):
· 47 different flora species, including bluebells (Coinnle corra) and Sticky Mouse Ear (Cluas luchóige ghreamaitheach), Foxglove (Lus mór) and Hawthorn (Sceach gheal)
· 12 bird species, including buzzard (Clamhán) and Stonechat (Caislín cloch)
· 4 insect species, including the 7-spot Ladybird (bóín) and Buff-tailed Bumblebee (bumbóg).
· 11 species of moth, including the Poplar hawk-moth and Early Tooth-striped.
Kilmeen/Kilbree GAA Green Team member Orla Harrington said: “Through our participation in the GAA Green Club Programme and with help from Biodiversity Ireland, Kilmeen/Kilbree GAA is devoting some of the club’s lands to planting pollinator-friendly scrubs and trees, community orchards, while creating biodiversity walkways and areas for wildflowers, to try to reverse declines in our biodiversity to make an Ireland where pollinators can survive and thrive.”
The two regional venues of O’Moore Park in Portlaoise and Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, both members of the GAA Green Club Programme, have developed their own biodiversity and pollinator-friendly projects.
Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in Bekan, Co. Mayo has developed a biodiversity programme in collaboration with Teagasc and a number of local schools to plant native trees, flowers and shrubs, build bug hotels and install educational signage throughout the complex while Laois GAA have worked to remove invasive species from O’Moore Park, have planted native trees and pollinator-friendly meadow flowers and have installed biodiversity signage in the stadium.
Dr. Úna Fitzpatrick from the National Biodiversity Data Centre is the expert advisor on biodiversity to the GAA Green Club Programme: “One third of our 98 wild bee species are threatened with extinction in Ireland. They are in serious trouble, but we can change this. We are delighted to partner with the GAA to encourage clubs and venues to become more biodiversity friendly. This will create small refuges for pollinators right across our landscape and give them a fighting chance at survival. Lots of small actions, taken together, can make a big difference!”
To support clubs in this work, Dr. Fitzpatrick will contribute to a GAA Green Club webinar on Tuesday, May 11th, exploring the new Pollinator-Friendly Management of Sports Clubs resource while highlighting some of the actions clubs can take to become more biodiversity friendly. It will also feature case study activities being undertaken by units in the GAA Green Clubs pilot. Please register here: https://forms.office.com/r/J3MXHybCwu
The Pollinator-Friendly Guidance for Sports Clubs is Free to download from https://pollinators.ie/sports-clubs/
More information on the GAA Green Club Programme is available at www.gaa.ie/greenclub