Environment Minister Edwin Poots and Education Minister Michelle McIlveen have praised the success of the School Pollinator Garden Scheme during a visit to Queen Elizabeth II Primary School in Pomeroy.
During their visit, Minister Poots and Minister McIveen saw first-hand how the school has benefited from a grant of Pound 7,444 to create a new learning and relaxation area.
The school is one of 301 across both urban and rural areas which are set to benefit from this scheme providing grants of between Pound 3,000 and Pound 12,000 to improve the health of our bees and pollinators and to help protect our eco-systems. The scheme is being delivered by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
Minister Poots said: "The Schools Pollinator Garden Scheme has enabled investment of over Pound 2.2m from my Department to 301 schools in both urban and rural areas across Northern Ireland. I am delighted to see how young people are going benefit from the creation of pollinator gardens in their schools through more time spent outdoors teaching them more about plants, biology and the balance of nature. These gardens are vital in improving the habitat for pollinators, opening up shared space and educating our communities of the importance of pollinators."
Minster McIlveen said: "I welcome this significant investment that will help to educate our children and young people about the importance of bees and pollinators to our environment.
"Schools can make an important contribution to the protection of our eco-systems, by teaching pupils about pollination while providing a pollinator friendly outdoor environment for children to learn in and enjoy.
"It is clear that the pupils here at Queen Elizabeth II Primary School are benefiting from this important scheme and I encourage all children, teachers and schools taking part to enjoy learning about the fun and interesting role our bees and pollinators play in everyday life."
Dr Ian Humphreys from KNIB said: "We are delighted that DAERA has made a significant investment through this grant scheme to help address the serious decline in pollinating insects and to support biodiversity recovery. At the same time, this move has incentivised teachers to educate young people in the best place possible, which is outdoors. This is a very welcome win-win-win: for our plants and animals throughout the food chain, for our teachers, and, last but definitely not least, for our children and young people."
Minister Poots also visited a project in Ebrington Primary School in Londonderry.