16 January 2020
By Bryan Smyth
One third of Irish bee species are threatened with extinction because the amount of food and safe nesting sites in our landscapes have been drastically reduced. Fota Island Resort is committed to introducing and implementing initiatives that can help create an Ireland where pollinators can survive and thrive, as well as attempting to improve sustainability and waste reduction across the resort.
As part of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan designed and managed by the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford IT, a specific pollinator-friendly management of golf courses guide was designed, with the input of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland. Written to give the green keepers of golf courses a list of actions to follow which clearly explain how to provide food, habitat and safety for the 99 species of Irish bees whose numbers are in decline, Fota Island Resort staff are keenly involved in implementing these science-based actions to help our pollinators.
Aspects of this plan are now being put in place across Fota Island Resort’s three Championship golf courses to encourage bees and insects across the resort, following the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan guidelines by maintaining hives, reducing pesticides, allowing grass and plants to grow in meadow areas alongside the golf courses and planting pollinator-friendly plants and shrubs as part of the ongoing woodland replenishment programme throughout the resort.
This implementation is enhanced by other commitments to improving sustainability across the resort, from an energy-efficient combined heat and power plant in operation in the hotel, an environmentally friendly system for providing heat and hot water while also producing electricity, to the cloud-based data system that allows for significant benefits to power consumption, to an extensive LED upgrade resulting in further reductions along with being involved in a DSU scheme which gives the ability for Fota Island Resort to be reactive to the national grid as required during pressure times regarding the supply of electricity.
Fota Island Adventure, the award-winning adventure centre on site, has a ‘leave no trace’ policy, recycling of materials is encouraged throughout the resort, public showers in the hotel and clubhouse have water restrictors installed which have dramatically reduced water consumption at Fota Island Resort, and Mícheál O’Shea, Facilities Manager at the resort, led a team to the shorelines for a tidy-up project a number of weeks ago, an activity undertaken on a regular basis.
“At Fota Island Resort we are just one of over 300 golf courses all over this country,” says Chris Gilroy, head gardener at the resort, “And if every golf course did whatever it could to make themselves pollinator-friendly, it would create an entire and vital network of safe places for bees and other insects across the landscape, something which could have an enormous positive impact. We are happy to help at Fota Island Resort and look forward to developing and implementing our comprehensive pollinator-friendly approach across the resort.”