“Belfast’s Buzzing” is Buglife’s first project in Northern Ireland delivering on B-Lines; a network of insect super highways extending across the whole of the UK, allowing wildlife to move freely through our towns, cities and countryside. This exciting new project has been awarded a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £108,694 to restore habitat for insect pollinators at several parks across Belfast.
“Belfast’s Buzzing” is a partnership project working with Belfast City Council, National Trust and other landowners to restore grassland for pollinators along the B-Lines in Belfast. Through the project Buglife will engage and work with communities and partners to restore areas within several parks, including Clement Wilson, Lisnabreeny, Minnowburn and many other potential sites across Belfast, such as, Ballygomartin, Connswater and Ormeau Park.
The two-year venture, which started in July 2022, will focus on reducing the decline of pollinating insects in Belfast through the planting of native wildflowers and grasses, alongside creation of other pollinator friendly habitat. Connecting habitat for pollinators to move through and across within the city of Belfast and out into the wider countryside. “Belfast’s Buzzing” will support threatened species including the Vulnerable Buffish Mining Bee (Andrena nigroaenea), the Endangered Red-tailed Cuckoo-bee (Bombus (P.) rupestris) and the Near Threatened Small Blue Butterfly (Cupido minimus) amongst many other insects essential for the pollination of our wildflowers and crops.
Buglife Scotland & Northern Ireland Development Manager, Suzanne Burgess, shared “We all see wildflowers as beautiful and great for our well-being; for the thousands of pollinating insects that share this land with us, wildflowers are vital. But, there’s a problem. Pollinators are finding themselves in isolated oases, walled in by agricultural land, urban landscapes, roads, and gardens. What humans see as neat and tidy; insects see as desert! Buglife have come up with a beautiful solution to this problem – B-Lines “
Buglife’s inaugural Northern Ireland B-Lines project, “Belfast’s Buzzing”, will also benefit local communities by providing opportunities to connect with nature. Residents of, and visitors to, Belfast will be able to get involved through practical conservation volunteering, pollinator identification and monitoring workshops and community events – such as gardening for wildlife and nature walks. The project will additionally provide education opportunities; engaging with local schools and providing habitat creation and management advice to land managers, farmers, and local authorities.
Hannah Fullerton, Buglife’s newly appointed Northern Ireland Conservation Officer said: “We are delighted to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players who are making Belfast’s Buzzing possible; giving us the opportunity to introduce our first B-Lines project to Northern Ireland. Transforming Belfast into an even friendlier place for pollinators and assist in the recovery of some of our important endangered species.
Belfast’s Buzzing is a unique opportunity to enhance connections with landowners, charities and the public. Uncovering a new passion and excitement; encouraging everyone to get involved in protecting these amazing species living on their doorsteps.”
Commenting on the award Dr Paul Mullan, Director, Northern Ireland at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “At The National Lottery Heritage Fund, we’re incredibly proud to be playing a role in ensuring our natural heritage is safeguarded for generations to come, but also that the projects we fund give people the chance to connect with the nature and wildlife in their area. We are thrilled to support Buglife who are working to reduce the decline of pollinators, create new habitat and give them a bee-line to the countryside via insect super highways.”
“Belfast’s Buzzing” further builds on Buglife’s previous species recovery and monitoring projects across Northern Ireland, including Jewels of Lough Erne, surveying of the Narrow-mouthed Whorl Snail and pollinator monitoring.
If you would like to know more about B-Lines or get involved with “Belfast’s Buzzing”, please contact Buglife Northern Ireland via [email protected]