Minister Visits Cookstown Bio-Diverse Habitats Project

The Minister for Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots, has visited a project to create a pocket of bio-diverse habitats in the Lisnanane Hill Fort area in Cookstown.

The scheme of one of a number of projects within the Mid-Ulster area which have benefitted from the Department's first ever Rural Community Pollinator Scheme.

This Scheme is delivered by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful on behalf of the Department and has invested £1.51million to 183 applicants crossing all sections and sectors of the rural community with schools particularly prominent.

Visiting the project developed by Mid Ulster Beekeepers Association, Minister Poots said: "Everyone is aware of the importance of our pollinators, particularly bees. I believe it is important to educate communities of the important role these pollinators play in our everyday life and am delighted to see how an investment of almost £7,000 through the Rural Community Pollinator Scheme is making a difference to this group of bee keepers."

The Minister also visited Pomeroy Development Project in Dungannon which was awarded over £11,000 in grant to create a rural pollinator garden in a shared space with pollinating plants, flowers, trees and shrubs. The garden will also provide infrastructure for everyone to enjoy, with the inclusion for seats, picnic tables, pathways and fencing.

He started his visits at Coagh Primary School which has received an investment of £9,000 to create a wildflower area in an unused part of the playground which is also part of a community garden. A wide range of community groups all work together to maintain the area and the children will also be able to engage in outdoor lessons. Minister Poots commented: "I am delighted to be planting a Northern Ireland centenary time capsule in the pollinator garden of Coagh Primary School today and to see the positive educational impact this garden will have on these children and the wider community."

Dr Ian Humphreys, from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful noted: "The role of pollinators in our economy and in maintaining a healthy natural environment cannot be understated and we are delighted to be working with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to support communities across Northern Ireland as they help these critically important insects."

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