Hawarden Golf Club is pleased to be involved in Operation Pollinator – an exciting initiative to help the plight of the bumblebee and other pollinating insects.
Over the coming seasons we hope to establish and manage areas of pollen and nectar rich wildflower habitat that will provide food and nesting for pollinators, including native bees, butterflies and other insects.
The selected native wildflowers should provide attractive visual features and, we hope, will give added interest to your experience of the golf course.
The project intends to start with relatively small areas, to learn the techniques and to develop a system that works effectively for us. We are being supported by Syngenta and ecology and environmental specialists from the STRI, but more importantly we need your help. Please read on…..
Why are we involved?
- Pollinating bees are an essential part of the natural ecosystem, for pollination of food crops and to maintain ecological biodiversity. Bumblebee numbers have declined over recent years due to loss of habitat, with some UK species now on the verge of extinction
- Golf courses provide outstanding potential to create essential habitat and food sources for a range of native bees and pollinating insects
- Involvement with Operation Pollinator generates new opportunities for our club and immense pride for players on our course
- Nationally, Operation Pollinator is seeking to establish 250 hectare of specific new habitat on up to 500 golf courses across the UK – creating a significant ecological resource and proving that golf and the environment can be effectively managed on the same course
- Because we can make a difference – Independent research trials have shown creation of even small areas of dedicated habitat can significantly increase the numbers of pollinating insects. With your support we can make that difference count
What is involved, and what will you see?
Initially we need your help to identify areas suitable for Operation Pollinator habitat creation. Being careful to not to disturb the environmental features we already have our aim should be to create new habitats and bring to life areas of low ecological value. We need your help and support to work out what techniques are most appropriate for wildflower establishment in Hawarden.
Selected areas will have to be scarified to expose some bare earth before sowing the selected wildflower seed. The natural grasses do tend to grow back. Some schemes use a growth regulator on the grasses to hold back competition and encourage the wildflowers to flourish.
Future management should involve an annual cut of the wildflower area in early autumn, after the bird nesting period and once seed has set and been released, with the possible need for further scarification to encourage more wildflowers. We will need to monitor dominant coarse grasses if they begin to encroach on the wildflowers.
STRI trials suggest that we should begin to see some wildflowers in the first spring after sowing, but as most are perennial or biennial species it will only be in the second and subsequent years that the wildflowers areas come into their own, and will go on getting better every year thereafter.
Scientific research into pollinating insect populations on Operation Pollinator habitats indicate that we should start to see significant numbers of bumblebees and butterflies increasing over the coming years.
We should see participation in this scheme as part of a greater commitment to sustaining and enhancing the biodiversity of the course.
We hope you agree that Operation Pollinator is a worthwhile project for Hawarden Golf Club to be involved with. It should add an extra level of interest for visitors and players. Clubs that have been involved in the scheme for some time speak with pride about their achievements. The future of this project very much depends on your support. We need to pool knowhow and resources. We need involvement and ideas. Please let us have your thoughts and ideas.