In August 2022, Skerries celebrated its first Wild Bee Festival. This three-day event ran from the 26th to the 29th of August, and was a collaboration between Fingal County Council, the National Biodiversity Data Centre, and Sustainable Skerries.
Over the weekend, members of the public learned about the Large Carder Bee (Bombus muscorum), a native bumblebee that is in severe decline across Ireland but is thriving in Skerries, as a direct result of the hard-working Sustainable Skerries group.
Festival-goers were taught about pollinators and their positive impact on the native flora and fauna of Ireland through various seminars, workshops, and walks.
“The work undertaken in Skerries to protect and monitor the rare Larger Carder Bee is an inspiration”
Staff from the National Biodiversity Data Centre attended the festival to support the community’s efforts to protect the Large Carder Bee. The Data Centre works to monitor and track changes in the population of pollinators and other species in Ireland, and launched the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan in 2015 in response to records showing that a third of Ireland’s wild bees are in decline.
As part of this work, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan has released a new guideline document to help communities find out how to protect the Large Carder Bee.
Dr Úna FitzPatrick, co-founder of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, attended the festival. She said:
“The Skerries Wild Bee festival allowed us to support local communities in implementing the AIPP. Importantly, it also gave us the opportunity to help communities track the impact of their actions by learning about the monitoring schemes run by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. The work undertaken in Skerries to protect and monitor the rare Large Carder Bee is an inspiration, and we hope to encourage many other local communities across the island to follow their lead. We also look forward to future events like this with other Councils in coming years.”
“We are helping to create long term, positive change for our environment”
“The Skerries Wild Bee Festival proved that people truly are passionate about sustainability and their local ecosystem but often feel lost about where to begin,” said Deborah Tiernan, Biodiversity Officer with Fingal County Council. “By teaching them skills to nurture biodiversity, we are helping to create long term, positive change for our environment.”
Charlie and Marion Heasman, bee experts from Sustainable Skerries added:
“We have been working on a plan to save the Large Carder Bee in Skerries and for this to work we need buy-in from the whole community. The Bee Fest gave us an invaluable opportunity to reach more people locally, but equally importantly it enabled us to connect and engage with both individuals and community groups from the greater Dublin area and beyond. We would like to take the opportunity to thank Fingal County Council and the National Biodiversity Data Centre for organizing the event and making this goal possible”.
The 2022 Festival was a huge success, and hopefully will pave the way for more festivals to celebrate and raise awareness of bees and pollinators in Skerries and beyond.
Find out more:
Video: the Skerries Wild Bee Festival 2022 (Fingal County Council)