Bees and other pollinators need lots of nectar to survive, so by planting heritage apple trees we can help support them and hopefully provide apples for free too! Trees are amazing; they are home to lots of wildlife, help lock up carbon dioxide to combat climate change, reduce flooding and help prevent soil erosion.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) has been working in partnership with local schools, communities and Lough Erne Landscape Partnership (LELP) to help deliver real action for pollinators and health benefits for people through an initiative launched in 2019 called 'Trees for Bees'.
Local schools were invited to enter the 'Trees for Bees' art competition in winter 2019, producing colourful posters that would be used to make inspirational signs at each apple tree grove planted. The response was amazing, with over 580 pupils entering from 23 schools across the district. Ten winning entries were chosen to be made into signs and each pupil received a 'wild' goody bag. Winning schools also received their own Trees for Bees as part of the scheme and a 1-hour workshop from Council Biodiversity staff on pollinators.
FODC and LELP have since been planting apple trees in small pockets throughout the District in Council parks. We aim to continue working through 2021 and 2022 to deliver more benefits for bees and people. During spring and summer, we hope to engage pollinator volunteers to help survey our Trees for Bees using the Citizen Science programme, Flower Insect Timed Count. This work is one of the many actions for pollinators and biodiversity undertaken annually by FODC and will be an intregal part of the forthcoming FODC Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2022 - 2027.
Research the availability of heritage fruit trees and calculate any likely costs involved in planting including stakes, ties, and compost.
Seek out locations to plant trees and get approval to plant.
As part of the project, we ran an art competition for children. Before we launched the competition, we had to decide on the limitations of the reach including the age range of the children involved.
We engaged with the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership (LELP) and local schools by email, and we identified sites on Council or public land with potential.
Number of people engaged in these activities and the number of planting sessions facilitated.