The ‘Plan Bee’ initiative has enabled a considerable number of up-and-coming local beekeeping enthusiasts within the SGN Natural Gas network area to learn all about the benefits and challenges of caring for bees and their importance on biodiversity.
Towns throughout our network area have benefitted from beekeeping programmes. A cluster of rookie beekeepers from the Mid Ulster Beekeepers Association (MUBKA) completed a Preliminary Beekeeping Course.
Loughry College in Cookstown provided state-of-the-art equipment at the beginning of the course, where a vast range of beekeeping apparatus was utilised to demonstrate to newcomers the ins and outs of caring safely for these remarkable creatures. Despite the challenges of the pandemic grinding these physical encounters to a halt, students completed a preliminary beekeeping theory exam online, before finalising the practical elements of the course by opening a real-world beehive.
The opportunity to become beekeepers was first offered to residents in the Strabane area in 2019 as part of a community engagement programme when the new gas network was under construction. These hives are located at the Tulacorr Allotments which are part of the Koram Centre, a local service that provides counselling support for Strabane and the surrounding areas.
Establishing community beekeeping is a positive step not just for the environment and those who participate, but also for the local economy. With locals encouraged to set up their own apiaries and become sustainable social enterprises themselves, the newly qualified beekeepers will produce honey for sale in their local areas, utilising the benefits of biodiversity to contribute to a circular economy.
The money raised from the sale of this honey will go back in to making the project completely self-sufficient and sustainable with the potential to make a profound impact on our understanding of bees and their positive impact on our environment.
SGN Natural Gas looks forward to continuing work on biodiversity projects in the near future. Learn more about our other initiatives including Bug Motels and Little Acorns.