The Clonmel Tidy Towns group is celebrating after it won the overall Pollinator Award at the presentation of the National Tidy Towns Awards in Dublin today, Monday
Clonmel has won the overall Pollinator Award at the Tidy Towns awards today (Monday) at The Helix in Dublin.
The award, which was presented after Clonmel beat off stiff competition from 65 other entries in 22 counties, recognises all the work completed by the town to help pollinating insects.
One third of the country's 99 bee species are threatened with extinction.
This is because of a drastic reduction in the amount of food (wildflowers) and safe nesting sites in our landscapes.
The All Ireland Pollinator Plan was launched in 2015 as a shared plan of action to try to reverse these declines and work with communities, businesses, parks, schools and farms to make an Ireland where pollinators can survive and thrive.
In scooping the top prize of €1,000, Clonmel was said to have adopted a whole-town approach, mapping the town and pinpointing areas that could act as refuges for pollinating insects, to provide food and shelter.
Clonmel Tidy Towns were commended by judges for working with all sectors in the town to raise awareness of the plight of pollinators and how the local council, businesses, home-owners and schools could get involved.
The Tidy Towns Committee worked closely with Clonmel Borough District Council to identify and protect existing pollinator-friendly features such as native flowering hedgerows. They also preserved existing pollinator-friendly areas in parks and council lands and helped to keep these pesticide-free.
They distributed the Pollinator Plan’s ‘Business guidelines’ to local businesses to encourage them to sign up as plan partners, and worked with Clonmel Men’s Shed to produce signs to help identify pollinator-friendly sites.
Working with the Men’s Shed and other community groups such as SuirCan and 2CanDo Arts, they planted a community orchard, an amazing way to both help pollinators and also provide free fruit for the community.
The Tidy Towns group also took on the admirable chore of manually weeding kerbs, roundabouts and flower beds in the town centre so as to avoid using pesticides, and stone walls and soil banks were protected as nesting sites for solitary bees.
They also promoted the ‘Garden guidelines’ and circulated a ‘Pollinator-friendly guide for estate management’ to local residents’ associations so that private gardens, roadside verges and green areas could all be managed with pollinators in mind.
They visited local schools to raise awareness of the importance of pollinating insects, as well as planting pollinator-friendly flowers with the children in local parks.
Joe MacGrath, Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council said “Clonmel Tidy Towns have been committed to pollinators and improving their biodiversity actions for a number of years and I am delighted to see their work acknowledged with these awards.
"Tipperary County Council, through the Clonmel Borough District, is very happy to continue working with them and others in the town to build on their success in this area”.