Kirby Group Engineering is pleased to announce its participation in Host in Ireland’s “Orchards in the Community” initiative. Orchards play a key role in providing an early food source for struggling bees. To help protect the bees and increase pollination, Kirby is part of 52 pledgers and over 90 schools and community groups planting in excess of 1,000 mixed fruit orchards all over Ireland.
Kirby donated 10 orchards to Coláiste Chiaráin in Croom, Co Limerick, each consisting of 5 fruit trees – one pear, one plum and 3 apple trees. The company has an excellent partnership with the school through the Business in the Community programme where its HR department liaises with students to provide an insight into “A Day in the Life” of Kirby employees and assist with interview and CV skills. The school recently moved to a 22 acre campus where the orchards are a welcome addition to the landscaping.
Orchards provide vital green spaces in our cities and towns, where people are encouraged to interact with nature either through becoming custodians of the trees or by simply being around them and enjoying their shade, beauty and fruit. They are also important habitats as the natural life cycle of fruit trees provides food sources for pollinators and other species throughout the year. With “Orchards in the Community”, orchards are being planted in every single county on the island of Ireland – both in the Republic and Northern Ireland – making this an all Ireland effort.
“‘Orchards in the Community’ is helping to create ‘pollinator pit stops’ across the island. One third of our 99 wild bee species are at risk of extinction. Each year as they flower, these orchards will provide them with vital food. In return, by pollinating the flowers, the bees will ensure we have lots of fruits to enjoy in the autumn,” said Dr Úna FitzPatrick co-founder and project manager of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. “This scale of this initiative provides us with a unique opportunity to track change. By planting uniform orchards in multiple locations within the one growing season, we can assess which insects visit in different regions, and better understand which areas have the greatest abundance and diversity of pollinators remaining.”
“Orchards have played an important role in communities for many centuries, providing a focal point, a gathering space, and a place where people and nature successfully work together to create abundant harvests,” said Garry Connolly, founder, Host in Ireland. “That spirit of community is alive and well with ‘Orchards in the Community’ as organisations like Kirby come together with biodiversity groups, schools, colleges, Tidy Towns and others across Ireland to tackle challenges like biodiversity loss to save Ireland’s pollinators.”
Group MD at Kirby Group Engineering, Mark Flanagan says “We’re proud to be part of the Orchards in the Community programme and to help a Limerick school with which we’ve got strong links. As engineers, we understand the importance of a connected system and how something like this initiative can make a real, lasting impact. I hope these trees will benefit the school, students and surrounding area for many years to come”.