In March 2021, Host in Ireland put out a call to its members for pledges to sponsor Orchards in the Community. The response from those members, the data center community of Ireland, was phenomenal. Fast forward one year and 1,200 mixed fruit orchards have been planted in towns and communities throughout the island of Ireland.
Orchards play a key role in providing an early food source for struggling bees. To help protect the bees and increase pollination, Sims Lifecycle Services (SLS) was part of 52 pledgers and over 90 schools and community groups who planted these orchards across Ireland.
SLS planted 20 orchards at schools including:
- Downshire Primary School, Hillsborough, Co.Down;
- Maghaberry Primary School, Maghaberry, Co. Armagh;
- Maralin Primary School, Magheralin, Co.Armagh;
- Ballymacash Primary School, Lisburn, Co. Antrim;
- Learning Together School, Tullamore, Co.Offaly;
- Tullamore Collage, Tullamore, Co. Offaly;
- Lagan College, Belfast, Co. Antrim.
We are thrilled that these schools are benefitting from this initiative.
Host in Ireland works to connect decision-makers within the technology and data industries to promote, and support the growth of, Ireland as a data hosting center in Europe. Host in Ireland brings together executives from companies including Equinix, Interxion, CBRE, Siemens and Schneider Electric. EMEA Head of Business Development, Jelle Slenters represents SLS on the Executive Committee, and Marketing Manager Kristine Kearney sits on the Marketing Council.
For Kristine this opportunity allowed a chance to give back to her own childhood school – Downshire Primary School – who were delighted to host three micro-orchards, a total of 15 fruit trees, in their grounds in Royal Hillsborough, Co. Down. Special thanks to Eoin Lambkin and Michael Wegwerner of Circular Data Solutions, who helped SLS coordinate donations and planting of trees in Belfast and Co. Fermanagh.
Orchards provide vital green spaces in our cities and towns, where people are encouraged to interact with nature either through becoming custodians of the trees or by simply being around them and enjoying their shade, beauty and fruit. They are also important habitats as the natural life cycle of fruit trees provides food sources for pollinators and other species throughout the year. With Orchards in the Community, trees are being planted in every county on the island of Ireland – both in the Republic and Northern Ireland – making this an all- Ireland effort.
“‘Orchards in the Community’ is helping to create ‘pollinator pit stops’ across the island. One third of our 99 wild bee species are at risk of extinction. Each year as they flower, these orchards will provide them with vital food. In return, by pollinating the flowers, the bees will ensure we have lots of fruits to enjoy in the autumn,” said Dr Úna FitzPatrick co-founder and project manager of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. “This scale of this initiative provides us with a unique opportunity to track change. By planting uniform orchards in multiple locations within the one growing season, we can assess which insects visit in different regions, and better understand which areas have the greatest abundance and diversity of pollinators remaining.”
“Orchards have played an important role in communities for many centuries, providing a focal point, a gathering space, and a place where people and nature successfully work together to create abundant harvests,” said Garry Connolly, founder, Host in Ireland. “That spirit of community is alive and well with ‘Orchards in the Community’ as organisations like SLS come together with biodiversity groups, schools, colleges, Tidy Towns and others across Ireland to tackle challenges like biodiversity loss to save Ireland’s pollinators.”
“Our sustainability strategy is designed to help drive positive impact on our environment and society. We’re delighted to join our peers in the data center industry to be part of the Orchards in the Community initiative and play a part in driving real action to give back to our community.” said Sean Magann, chief commercial officer, SLS.