Wednesday, October 13, 2021




Philly McMahon who is on the Gaisce Council, with Penelope Clarkin Gaskin at our launch of the project in the Phoenix Park

To celebrate 35 years of Gaisce – The President’s Award, the organisation is encouraging people in Laois regardless of age, location or size of their back garden to take up their own Gaisce challenge this autumn and plant a pollinator-friendly bulb to protect one of the most important players in the climate change battle – bees.

If planted in Autumn, the bulbs will bloom in Spring. The #BulbsForBees campaign is supported by President Michael D. Higgins and the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan who have worked with Gaisce to undertake the largest ever pollination project in Ireland. The pollinator-friendly bulbs will bloom in Spring creating a variety of flowers including crocus tommasinianus barr’s purple, allium moly and muscari armeniacum.

To date over 50,000 pollinator-friendly bulbs have made their way to every post-primary school in the country; to Gaisce Award Partners including disability services, prisons and volunteer centres with the help of An Post. An additional 300,000 bulbs are currently being distributed through the Irish Local Development Network to the wider youth and community sector with support from the Department of Children, Equality, Integration, Disability and Youth.

In Laois, community and youth groups can contact Laois Partnership Company, Ground Floor, Block 2, County Hall, Portlaoise, County Laois, R32EHP9 about collecting their Gaisce bulbs, while their stock lasts. These bulbs will be provided to youth and community groups for free.

Members of the public are also encouraged to visit their local garden centre to pick up a pollinator-friendly bulb to participate in the challenge by October 21st.

You can also find out how to participate in the project and how to receive a certificate of participation from the Gaisce – The President’s Award website.

Commenting in support of the campaign, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, said: “I thank all those who will be partaking in this special Gaisce challenge and who, by doing so, make a profound statement of their real desire to protect the life we share on this planet.”

Also commenting, Yvonne McKenna CEO of Gaisce – The President’s Award, said: “We are calling on people in Laois to pick up a pollinator bulb and plant it, to help safeguard the future of our vital bee population. One third of our bee species is threatened with extinction in Ireland. This is because we have drastically reduced the number of flowers they eat and places where they can safely nest. We’re asking everyone from schools and local authorities to sports clubs and shops to come together and create an Ireland where pollinators can survive and thrive.”

Joe Saunders, CEO at the Irish Local Development Network, added: We are delighted to support the #BulbsForBees campaign by using our links to community groups in every part of the country. This is a fantastic initiative by Gaisce – The President’s Award to protect our bee population. We want everyone in the county to participate in their own Gaisce challenge that will protect the future for us all. Just like the Gaisce Award itself, this doesn’t happen overnight. A bulb planted now will need care and attention before it blossoms in the Spring, and that’s something wonderful – and important – for everyone to be part of.”

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