Lough Gur was abuzz with life on Saturday 26th March when the green team from Analog Devices Ireland, the Irish Bee Conservation Project, Lough Gur Development, Social Impact Ireland and Limerick City and County Council all gathered in a giant effort to install new habitats for wild Irish honeybees and solitary bees.
The reason for this work is simple. Both bee species are vital for sustaining a healthy ecosystem. Bees may be small but the role that they play on this Earth is vital to the very existence of all life. We may not be able to solve the problem on a global scale, but we can do our part to help improve matters. The installation of 24 new bee lodge habitats in Lough Gur was a monumental task that was readily undertaken by the teams of volunteers who gave up their day to carry out this kind and caring work for the benefit of our environment in Limerick. A few short months ago this project was a collection of ideas and thoughts that were successfully transformed into positive action on March 26th , through a collaboration of forces from the organizations involved, for social good.
We are all familiar with honeybees and what they provide for our table however it is our native bees, of which there are approximately 100 species, that are also key pollinators to ensure continuation of human, animal and plant life. It is not an understatement to say that bees are under constant threat. A red list of Ireland's bees published in 2006 outlined the worrying state of bees in Ireland. In short, the bees that are vital for life and are in urgent need of protection and support. Peter Meehan of Analog Devices Ireland Green Team commented, “ADI is proud to support this initiative through the IBCP in Lough Gur. As a company we recognise that protecting our environment is imperative to safeguard our planet for future generations. We’ve set out to be carbon neutral by 2030 and to produce net zero emissions by 2050. Our Green Team is a grass roots led initiative and our passionate volunteers work tirelessly to identify and promote sustainable activities within ADI, at home and across our local communities. We’re delighted to be here today to fund and help install the bee lodge habitats.”
When asked to elaborate further Mr. Meehan went on to say, “The seeds for this project were sown back in January when Eamon Ryan from Social Impact Ireland made the initial introduction between ADI Green Team, the Irish Bee Conservation Society, Lough Gur Development and Limerick Council. The bee lodge project in Lough Gur is one that will have a long-term benefit for the environment. We look forward to seeing how the bee project in Lough Gur progresses year by year.”
Eamon Ryan, CEO of Social Impact Ireland, based at the University of Limerick, who created the initial link between all organizations was there on the day to see yet another step taken by those who strive towards an ever stronger future for Lough Gur. Mr. Ryan commented, “Today shows how industry, community, council, social enterprises and charitable organisations can work together to create real and lasting social impact. Often it is small simple steps that show us how best we can work together to build towards a shared vision of what true community is about."
As the day slipped by on March 26th, the teams worked together with a common goal, climbing ladders to affix the lodges sensitivity on trees along the Ash Point Trail. All agreed that this project will raise awareness about the importance of bees to our ecosystem. The work will not only lead to raising awareness but is also action focused by creating new habitats that will be appreciated by the Lough Gur bees and all who come to understand their valuable contribution. As an expert in bees, CEO of the IBCP Pat Deasy, who led the team of installers on the day, commented, “These new bee lodges will offer Limerick bees a safe home to retreat to in order to refuel and go about their crucial pollination work. As over 95% of the world’s 20,000 bee species are solitary bees, it is rewarding today to see that great efforts will be made in Lough Gur to protect the native honeybees and solitary bees.”
Mr Deasy went further to say, "As a registered charity with committed volunteers it is days like this that make it all worthwhile."
As the responsible owners of Lough Gur Lakeshore Park Senior Engineer Carmel Lynch, with responsibility for public spaces addressed the volunteers at the start of the day by stating, “Limerick City and County Council welcomes support from Analog Devices Ireland to the Irish Bee Conservation Project, assisted by Social Impact Ireland and Lough Gur Development. It is a model example of how we can all work together to bring ideas to life that are important to the community of Lough Gur and communities across Limerick. We look forward to working together again in the future”.
As the day ended Kate Harrold, Manager for facilities looked to the wide reaching potential that would outlive this day by saying, “The installation of the bee lodges will provide a home for these species under threat and will also provide an excellent outdoor classroom for our visiting students who will be able to access education workshops and tours direct from Lough Gur Visitor Centre relating to the new bee lodge habitats and biodiversity. Every visitor is welcome to Lough Gur to see how these new lodges are making a difference and how important it is that we all play our part in protecting our environment.”