Courtlands News

Pollinator Plan – Interesting Course Available!

By February 3, 2021 February 13th, 2021 No Comments

Hi Everyone,

Martina from the Dublin City Council has been in touch and given us an invitation to a very interesting, worthwhile course – it’s short and online so very convenient. If you think you’d like to do this course, let us know as soon as possible as places are limited. This course normally carries a pretty substantial fee but it has been made available to us without cost. The document outlining the course contents are attached here – PollinatorPlan.  I’ve also copied the full document below for your convenience.




Proposal for Community Workshops

By Aoife Munn


Introduction – This Course is based on the ALL IRELAND POLLINATOR PLAN. 2

Format 2

Topics Covered. 2

Environmental Education 5 Week Programme. 2

Week 1 – Pesticides and Waste Reduction. 2

Week  2 – Taking care of the bees 3

Week 3 –Planting a tree and creating wildflower meadows. 4

Week 4 – Urban Food Production. 4

Week 5 – Hedgerows 5

Costing. 5

Advertising of the Course. 6

Conclusions 6


Introduction – This Course is based on the ALL IRELAND POLLINATOR PLAN


This project has at its aim the enabling of community groups to effectively improve their area for wildlife, increase pride of place and reduce pollution.  By teaching a practical class on how to take cuttings, how to identify what creatures live in your area and what plants most benefit wildlife to community leaders we can enable them to improve local areas with a limited budget.

This project has been run by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council for a number of years and more recently by Dublin City in Johnstown Park, Dublin South Central in Bulfin Court, Flanagans Fields, DeCourcey Square, St. Annes Park, Killruddery in Bray and in Herbert Park.  The feedback from the course has been excellent not only by participants but by the media also.  It has been covered on Nationwide three times, on the 6 O’Clock News, 9 O’Clock News and Ireland AM.  It has also been talked about on Radio one twice on the Sean O’Rourke Show and on several other radio stations too.

The success of the project is due to its simplicity and interactive design.  Participants learn why they should protect the environment, how to protect it and who to turn to for support in doing so.  They network with other groups in the area to get more support and they enjoy the course. 

This project offers great value for money and is tailored to the community in which it is held.  The course is run over 5 weeks  with a one hour session with follow up notes, email support and lot of opportunities for questions on any projects they have in mind.  It is particularly good for people who are member of residents association’s, Tidy Towns, Green Schools and anyone looking to move towards more sustainable living. 



This course has been run online for one hour per week on zoom.  It has a mixture of videos, live demonstrations, PowerPoint, notes emailed after the course and activities that participants can upload photos of or join in during the demonstration.

Topics Covered


Below is a sample of a 5 week plan used on previous workshops.  This is given to participants as a rough guide but can be adapt based on the interests of the group. 


Environmental Education 5 Week Programme

Week 1 – Pesticides and Waste Reduction

A talk on consulting the Council before starting projects and that not all projects are suitable for all sites.


Eliminate Pesticides – this means not only not spraying weeds but also growing your own plants from seeds to avoid pesticides on them.

Step 2

Plan your area using planting and plants you have grown from seed.  Record what you see and use biodiversity Ireland website to target wildlife in your area.  Replace bedding with bee friendly planting.  Think of the whole area not just public areas.  Persuade garden owners to make it a chemical free area with bee friendly plants.

Step 3

Think Outside the Box

Reducing Waste of all types in all settings.

Reuse items in the community – can people put up an offer of a bike their child has grown out of for another?  Etc…

Enter tidy towns for your area

Signage and training.

Cut grass for older neighbours to avoid artificial lawns



Look at Biodiversity Ireland Website

Create an action plan for your area –keep it short and sweet with attainable goals

Sowing Seeds in homemade pots, sowing seeds in seed trays,


Week  2 – Taking care of the bees

The importance of balancing needs of different groups in the community.  Discuss.

Bees – Bare soil nesting, long grass, dry stone walls

Pollinator strips,

Clover lawn

Flowering shrubs and bushes

Support local beekeepers



Activity :

Dividing plants

Buying seeds

Collecting seeds, cleaning seeds and storing them

Lear how to collect wildflower seeds


Week 3 –Planting a tree and creating wildflower meadows

Trees – See tree planting guide and best trees for see areas and small areas.

Activity – Plant a tree

Have 5 trees ready for groups to plant.

Talk about Mycorrhizal fungi and blood fish and bones.

Talk about perennial and annual wildflower meadows.

Difference between rewilding and ornamental wildflowers

Identify different species of wildflowers

How to create a wildflower meadow that is more ornamental.

How to create a rewilded area using Yellow rattle

What to do with grass verges to maximise benefits to bees – 6 week cut

How to deal with big public spaces some ideas and ensuring it is usable (short enough for football in one area and then longer for wildlife in another)


Learn how to create a wildflower meadow

How to deal with a slope

Sow a tray of wildflowers

Collect Wildflowers seeds


Week 4 – Urban Food Production

Look at suitable sites for allotments – Soil, Aspect, slope, frost pockets, access to water, Space, Wind  (wind  breaks)

Growing in the soil directly – Starting a new area, removal of turf, defined beds well spaced, look at bed layout. Crop Rotation

Creating a fine tilth and drawing a line.

Herb Gardens  – Salad Patch

Grow your own veg even small scale like lettuce in window boxes

Dividing Herbs to increase stock.

Starting off veg inside – make your own pots and know the difference between hardy and not.   Plant out like herb pots


Sow Seeds for Lettuce to take home

Look at the bed system and draw up your own

What to make them out of


Week 5 – Hedgerows

Identify areas where a hedgerow can be inserted.

Importance of Hedgerows – Cuttings plants for Hedgerows

Importance of a mixed hedgerow as wildlife corridors.

Take the cuttings from a local hedgerow and expand it.

Varied flowering times through the hedgerows.

Willow an excellent addition

Cutting a hedgerow to make it thicker.

Create a hedgehog habitat. – 10 facts about hedgehogs



Look at different community areas and identify how to improve them for biodiversity, pictures submitted by the group

Take cuttings and learn to plant them in a trench.  Take some cuttings home in a pot

Learn how to plant a tree and how to plant a hedge row

Take a look at green spaces and what a good use of the spaces would be.  Look at what wildlife we can spot and what we can do to target specific wildlife.

Biodiversity Ireland website enter data.


The cost for running the course for 30 people over 5 weeks is €2300. 


Advertising of the Course

In the past this course was advertised as being free to participants.  Residents association, tidy towns members, community group or green schools’ coordinators are emailed first and offered spaces for their members.  If any slots are left after these groups are offered then they are offered to the public in that area.  All participants email directly and all administration of the course is done by the facilitator.  The flyer for the course is also drawn up by Aoife Munn to be circulated by the Council with their logos on it.


This project has been run for a number of years in the DLR area.  It has proved to be very successful both from the point of view of the learning outcomes of the participants and from the media attention it has gained for the council too. 

This project ensures better environmental practices throughout the area and reaches a large number of people at a low cost.

This course works well in not only getting groups to work more cohesively and effectively but also increases numbers that join local tidy towns groups after doing the course.

The project has a long-proven track record, offers value for money and is really enjoyed by participants.

For any further information please contact





From Martina McHugh, Dublin City Council:

Hi All

If anyone would like to do this course could you let me know as soon as possible by email and could you put on the subject line “ENVIRONMENTAL TALK.” This is a brilliant 5 part talk given by Aoife Munn who has appeared on RTE’s  Nationwide. There is huge interest and many areas are looking for any of our free slots.  Due to the Covid 19 restrictions this course will be by zoom.