Data centre community pledges support to bee population growth

Orchards in the Community initiative encourages biodiverse habitats while protecting and feeding pollinators
Peter O’Neill, Eversheds Sutherland Ireland; Michelle Wallace, Host in Ireland; Blathnaid Harney, Barretstown

16 June 2021

Host in Ireland will plant over 1,000 orchards in Ireland as part of its DCs for Bees initiative.

Under the ‘Orchards in the Community’ plan, 50 organisations from the Irish data centre community and supporters, have pledged more than 1000 orchards to be planted across Ireland in the 2021-2022 planting season. Host in Ireland is also working in collaboration with the Irish National Biodiversity Data Centre as the first project to enable tracking of pollination service, a key piece of the puzzle in measuring the health of pollinators in Ireland.

Orchards are important habitats as they support many species of flora and fauna, and in particular, the 99 species of bees in Ireland, of which 30% are facing extinction. The natural life cycle of fruit trees provides food sources for pollinators and other species throughout the year. In addition, orchards have played an important role in communities for many centuries, as a focal point, a gathering space, and a place where people and nature successfully work together to create abundant harvests.




Each participant organisation is allowed to determine the location of their pledged orchard. Some are utilising the orchards on their campuses to enable employees to be more active in saving Ireland’s pollinators and others are placing them in spaces for the public to enjoy. Eversheds Sutherlands is donating 40 orchards for the grounds of the children’s charity, Barretstown. Barretstown offers free, specially designed camps and programmes for children and their families living with a serious illness. Their grounds are a key part of the camp activities, so the orchards will enrich the experience for the children and their families.

“Our goal at Barretstown is to provide our families with a chance to unwind, destress and enjoy quality family-time together in a fun, safe and relaxing environment,” said Tim O’Dea, director of development at Barretstown. “The orchards will provide a wealth of activities for our campers to enjoy as they connect with nature and learn more about the life cycle of pollinators and their environments. We are excited to plant the trees and grateful to our good friends and long-standing supporters, Eversheds, for their generous donation.”

“Success through collaboration has always been front and centre in who and what Host in Ireland stands for,” said Garry Connolly, founder of Host in Ireland. “DCs for Bees has been created to raise awareness and take action to reverse the dramatic decline in Ireland’s pollinators. ‘Orchards in the Community’ gives our partners yet another opportunity to collaborate within their local communities and actively assist in the reverse of the decline of Ireland’s pollinators.”

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