Help us 'bee aware' at The Balmoral Show

National Trust brings pollinator message to Balmoral Show
Published : 14 May 2018 Last update : 15 May 2018

To help drive awareness for pollinators, we have set a special ‘Bee Aware’ challenge for the first 3,000 visitors to the National Trust stand at Balmoral Show on the 16-19 May. Visitors to our stand at the Eikon centre will receive a packet of native wildflower seeds to sow their own wildflower mini-meadow to attract and support a wide array of native pollinators.

Bees are one of the more well-known pollinators in Northern Ireland, but they are not alone. There are over 4,000 types of species that aid pollination, an important part of both food production and biodiversity. One in every three mouthfuls of our food relies upon pollination taking place to produce fruit and seeds.

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 benefit pollinators to ensure they thrive. As a conservation charity and partner in the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, we work hard to protect nature. Over the last few years we have created 15 extra hectares of wildflower meadows and verges in Belfast, Fermanagh, Cushendun, and Castleward, bringing the total wildflower meadows in Northern Ireland to over 40 hectares – that’s about 80 football pitches!

Protecting our pollinators

Heather McLachlan, regional director for Northern Ireland commented 'Our places provide food and homes for a wide variety of wildlife, but pollinators are in critical decline. Their numbers are reducing due to loss of natural and semi-natural habitats, so we must all work together to reverse this trend.

'Planting a native wildflower meadow is one of the most practical and impactful ways that people can benefit pollinators, providing a forage source for bees and other insects. 

Bee Aware challenge

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 as wildflower meadows, we also manage wildflower rich dune systems, plant gardens for pollinators as well as hedgerows and orchards. Our staff and volunteers carry out monthly butterfly, moth and bee monitoring at all our 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.