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26 Jan 2022

Offaly schools tending to new 'mini orchards' gifted by local company

Offaly schools tending to new 'mini orchards' gifted by local company

Inese Szulik and Alannah Heffernan from Scoil Bhríde in Clara, joined by teacher Joanne Fox

Local company KMK Metals Recycling has been busy delivering five micro-orchards to local schools and a Tidy Towns Associations over the past week, as part of Host In Ireland’s DCs for Bees Pollinator Plan.

The micro-orchards were provided by the metals and e-waste recycling company’s new neighbour, Sims Lifecycle Services, who now operate out of the same premises in Kilbeggan. KMK Metals Recycling also operate out of Tullamore.

The DCs for Bees Pollinator Plan is a shared plan of action by Host In Ireland, and its 40 partners from the data centre industry and the wider ICT industry, of which Sims Lifecycle Services is part.

Kilbeggan Tidy Towns Association, Scoil Bríde Clara, Scoil Charthaigh Naofa Rahan, Educate Together Tullamore and the Sacred Heart Tullamore were all chosen to receive the trees.

Each orchard consists of five trees: one plum, one pear, three apples. The trees are around two years old and can be expected to produce some fruit in the first growing season.

The orchards are labelled with a QR code which the school or group can scan to add the location of their orchard, which will then appear on a map of all 1,300 orchards being planted in every county of Ireland. Once a year they will be asked to count all the fruit on the trees and submit that number – this will feed into the National Biodiversity centre’s study to determine the current success rates of Ireland’s precious pollinators.

Teacher at Scoil Bhríde in Clara, Joanne Fox, said: “Our school was thrilled to be selected to receive one of the micro-orchards from KMK Metals Recycling. The students are so interested in all things environmental, so this is the perfect project for us. We are aiming for the Green Schools Biodiversity Flag this year, so it couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Max Kyck, General Manager of KMK Metals Recycling, said: “When our friends in Sims Lifecycle Services asked us to find good homes for the micro-orchards we knew there would be no shortage of interested parties. We have always put the protection of the environment as our number one priority and the same can be said of companies involved in reuse, like Sims Lifecycle Services, but it is wonderful to see how schools and community groups have really got behind issues such as biodiversity, the circular economy and reuse and recycling. We look forward to hearing how the young trees develop over the years.”

With Ireland’s wild bees continuing to decline at an alarming rate, the time to act is now. Bees are critically endangered.  They are a key contributor to the pollination of our crops, but sadly, 33% of Irish bees are facing extinction. They are an indicator for biodiversity in general and once a species is extinct this cannot be reversed and the balance of nature is affected forever. DCs For Bees is an industry initiative led by Host in Ireland to help save Ireland's declining bee population. The people of this industry are looking to make a difference.  

Host In Ireland and its partners are uniting to make a difference by pledging to deliver on actions to make Ireland more pollinator friendly and ensure the survival of our pollinators for future generations. This includes the current Orchards in the Community campaign. Working in collaboration with the Irish National Biodiversity Centre this will also enable Ireland, for the first time, to track current pollination success. Something that is only made possible by planting uniform orchards in multiple locations in one growing season.

Sims Lifecycle Services is a global information technology asset disposition (ITAD) provider, which has opened a new facility in Kilbeggan to increase the redeployment, reuse and recyclability of retired IT equipment and data centre material across Ireland.

You can find lots more information about the project here: www.orchards.ie

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