The winners of the Tidy Towns Local Authority Pollinator Award 2022 have been announced.
The Pollinator Award is a Special Award which has run since 2016 as part of the annual Supervalu Tidy Towns awards. It is administrated by the local authority Heritage Officer network and the National Biodiversity Data Centre. The aim of the award is to encourage and reward pollinator-friendly actions by Tidy Towns groups in line with the recommendations of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan’s local community guidelines.
With an overall winner, award for best newcomers, and two winners per region, there are plenty of opportunities for success in this increasingly popular award.
Overall winner for 2022: Cobh Tidy Towns, Co. Cork
Cobh Tidy Towns are the winners of the 2022 Pollinator Award. Their inspirational application detailed their extensive work for pollinators, which ranges from practical management to far-reaching public engagement.
Having conducted a pollinator survey of the town to inform their actions, their work covers 37 sites around Cobh, including areas of reduced mowing, and extensive planting projects which has seen the addition of 1,200 pollinator-friendly plants and 2,000 native trees. They have also planted 10 new orchards, and have eliminated the use of pesticides, working with the local authority to expand this approach across the town.
Alongside their practical work, Cobh have been busy distributing 500 pollinator-friendly bulbs through the Gaisce’s Bulbs for Bees initiative, running bumblebee identification workshops, and raising public awareness of biodiversity through the Keep Cobh Buzzing campaign.
Cobh’s success demonstrates the value of a cross-community, collaborative way of working. The Local Authority Pollinator Award committee congratulate them on their well-deserved win.
Best newcomer: Cratloe Tidy Towns, Co. Clare
Cratloe Tidy Towns have won the Best Newcomer award, the second year of this prize for first-time Pollinator Award applicants.
The Pollinator Award committee were highly impressed by Cratloe’s application, which demonstrated the group’s understanding of the importance of protecting existing pollinator habitat. Working from their new 3-year Biodiversity Plan, the group identified areas to be managed as nesting sites for mining solitary bees and worked with a local school to reduce mowing along grassy banks and deliver workshops to sixth class pupils in collecting and sowing locally sourced seed.
Their other work has included planting community beds with pollinator-friendly species such as Bidens, Allium, and Catmint, and the addition of a native flowering hedgerow alongside the R462.
With such a strong start, Cratloe will be one to watch as their work develops. The Pollinator Award committee congratulate them on their win and look forward to seeing what they have planned for the future.
Regional Pollinator Award winners
Congratulations to all 8 winners of the regional awards. Each of these applications was excellent and demonstrated a huge range of actions to make local areas biodiversity friendly. Here is the full list of winners, and the highlights of their work.
Midlands & East
Large Town: Skerries Tidy Towns, Co. Dublin
Skerries have done commendable work for pollinators this year. Their projects have included creating a pollinator corridor of herb beds throughout the town which can be enjoyed by bees and people alike, working with Fingal County Council to eliminate pesticide use, creation of a ‘pollinator gardening’ Whatsapp group, and protecting and raising awareness of the rare Large Carder Bee.
Small Town: Geashill Tidy Towns, Co. Offaly
Once again Geashill’s whole-village approach shines through as they work with the local school and wider community to make the village a haven for bees and biodiversity. Their extensive work includes replacing the manicured village lawn with a ‘Labyrinth in the Green’ – a maze of paths mown through grass where wildflowers are allowed to grow, and creating an orchard for arriving Ukrainian families.
North & Mid West
Large Town: Buncrana Tidy Towns, Co. Donegal
Buncrana Tidy Towns has been very successful in this competition over the years, taking home many wins. Their great work continues, with the planting of 50 flowering fruit trees across 10 locations in the town and increasing their pollinator-friendly planting in community beds and containers. The impact of their hard work is showing, with orchids appearing on the Sharagore Wetland Trail.
Small Town: Belcarra Tidy Towns, Co. Mayo
Belcarra have been busy working on a series of inspiring projects for pollinators. These include the planting of native flowering trees such as Rowan, and the incorporation of new beds with flowers rich in pollen and nectar into footpath upgrades. Near the playground, they have created a pollinator-friendly sensory garden, packed with flowers and herbs to feed the bees.
Large Town: Clonmel Tidy Towns, Co. Tipperary
Clonmel’s tireless work to enhance the town for pollinators is commendable. From collecting local wildflower seed to sow on their roundabouts, to shining a light on overlooked wildflowers with their social media campaign #ALittlepatchofgreen, they have shown that when practical management goes hand in hand with raising awareness, great things can be achieved.
Small Town: Tullahought Tidy Towns, Co. Kilkenny
Tullahought are seasoned winners in the Pollinator Award, and their work has gone from strength to strength. Particularly positive examples of their work include the creation of a community herb garden full of pollinator-friendly plants, and their strong relationship with the hedge-cutting contractor which ensures the hedges around the town are managed for biodiversity.
South & Mid West
Large Town: Cobh Tidy Towns, Co. Cork
Cobh are the 2022 regional large town winners for the South & Mid West, as well as the overall winners of the Local Authority Pollinator Award. An overview of their excellent work can be found at the top of this page.
Small Town: Castlegregory Tidy Towns, Co. Kerry
Castlegregory have created a haven for pollinators in and around the village by working extensively with local organisations and business owners. They ran a biodiversity competition for children in collaboration with the local national school, and their reduced mowing campaign has spread through the community, with others inspired to follow in their footsteps to ‘don’t mow, let it grow’.
Hope for pollinators
Every year, the standard of entries to the Local Authority Pollinator Award grows, and the committee behind the award continue to be inspired by what is being achieved.
On behalf of the Local Authority Pollinator Award committee, we thank the Tidy Towns Unit for the opportunity to promote the work of the Local Authority Heritage Officer and Biodiversity Officer networks, and the National Biodiversity Data Centre in supporting pollinators. The Tidy Towns programme has been hugely successful at promoting the message to local communities and encouraging positive actions to save our pollinators.
Kate Chandler, Communities & Engagement Pollinator Officer at the National Biodiversity Data Centre said:
“We were delighted by the high number and standard of entries to the Pollinator Award this year. Since its inception in 2015, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan has been raising awareness of the decline of wild pollinators in Ireland, and has been promoting practical, evidence-based recommendations on how to make our landscape a place where they can survive and thrive.
The high-quality work and leadership demonstrated by local communities across the country in this award gives us hope that together we can achieve this goal. The exceptional quality of work taking place proves just how much can be achieved by working collaboratively within communities and with local authorities. It has been a pleasure to be involved once again in the administration of the Local Authority Pollinator Award alongside the Heritage Officers. We look forward to supporting the work of communities over the coming years and would like to congratulate and thank all the winners and applicants for their great work for pollinators.”
Find out more:
Tidy Towns Local Authority Pollinator Award newsletter 2022
Tidy Towns Pollinator Award pages (pollinators.ie)
All-Ireland Pollinator Plan Local Community Guidelines
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is a framework bringing together sectors across the island of Ireland to create a landscape where pollinators can survive and thrive. Its implementation is coordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre.