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Dear all,

I hope that you are staying well in these unprecedented times. Most things are now in a state of flux around Covid-19 as many issues pale into insignificance during a public health crisis. We have cancelled all our events for the minute. Unfortunately, this includes the international pollinator conference that was due to take place in Limerick on the 20-21st May. It has been postponed until May 2021. We would like to thank the conference hosts, Limerick City and County Council, for their support of this event. While we will continue to maintain the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, and this newsletter, public health is the key priority and we hope you and your family remain safe over the coming months. 

Úna FitzPatrick
1. To do this month: Let the Dandelions bloom!

Dandelions are an incredibly important food source for our wild pollinators at this time of year. If you can, allow some to bloom! The photo speaks a thousand words as to how much you’ll be helping our wild bees and other insects

2. To spot this monthKeep an eye out for the Grey Mining Bee

The Grey Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria) is one of our most distinctive solitary bees. It usually comes out of hibernation in March and will be around until June. It nests by making little burrows into bare soil. It is the only solitary bee that is black with two grey bands. Photos from left to right show the bee itself, its nest sites and what a good pollinator it is!

3. SuperValu & Save The Bees

We are delighted to partner with SuperValu on a new schools’ campaign called ‘Save the Bees’ and want to thank SuperValu for their support. The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is about getting the best information to the right audience in the most effective way possible. This campaign was established to try to achieve that, and I hope it will be the case once schools can return to normal again. At the beginning of March, excellent learning resources were sent out to all 3,200 primary schools in the Republic of Ireland, providing useful teaching aids for many years to come. For those with children at home, there are lots of fun learning resources on the website in case they are of interest: 
4. Learn how to Identify, Record and Monitor Common Irish Bumblebees – free online course

We are delighted to collaborate with Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme volunteer, Liz Gabbett, to create an online resource for those who want to learn (or revise) how to recognize the six most common bumblebee species found in Ireland. Within this online course there are activities and quizzes to test yourself on how you are getting on with your identification skills and you will get feedback on your answers. The course is very comprehensive, but you can log in and out at any time and resume where you left off. We thank Liz Gabbett for developing the course. We also thank Limerick City and County Council and the European Green Leaf Award for sponsoring the finalisation costs of the course so that it can be made freely available.
5. All-Ireland Pollinator Plan Blog Series
We plan to continue our blog series. The latest one is on how you can help to monitor our bee populations and test the impact of your actions for pollinators
6. Follow us on Twitter
We have set up a dedicated All-Ireland Pollinator Plan twitter account at @PollinatorPlan We hope to use this to share knowledge on pollinators and activities across the Plan. We’d be very grateful if you can follow us and help spread the word.
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