Top tips and ideas to improve biodiversity and engage your employees

BITCI News - Feb 23, 2016
biodiversity

Winter is over! We all love longer days, warmer weather, and the early signs of spring as the trees start to bud and the frothy white blackthorn blossom emerges in the hedgerows. There’s no better time of year to celebrate Ireland’s natural heritage whilst promoting the health and well-being aspects of being in nature to staff.

 

Natural Health Service

Biodiversity – often described as the variety of life on earth – is in decline in Ireland but taking action can not only reverse this trend but it can actually improve employee well-being.

Research has shown that spending time in nature has mental and physical health benefits. Think of it as our ‘Natural Health Service’, freely available to everyone, with positive impacts on mood, healing, heart rate, stress and concentration.

This has an added bonus because the more people get out and enjoy our wildlife and landscapes the more they value them, which is important when it comes to conserving and enhancing them. This matters because ultimately, all human health depends on the natural world: biodiversity underpins the provision of food and fresh water, helps to regulate the climate, floods and diseases, and supplies the medical and genetic resources that treat illness, as well as providing recreational benefits and creative and spiritual enrichment.

 

Companies can take simple actions to enhance biodiversity in a variety of ways:

  • planting native tree species on site to encourage birds, insects and mammals
  • provide diverse green spaces for staff to enjoy
  • establishing wildflower meadows to provide food sources for bees and add a dash of colour to offices and sites
  • choosing biodiversity-related volunteering opportunities and team building days
  • supporting staff to engage with citizen science projects that help researchers address important knowledge gaps in our understanding of the natural world.

 

Living the wild life: ideas to engage your employees whilst improving biodiversity

At Business in the Community Ireland, we believe that our member companies can have a positive impact on Ireland’s biodiversity and that doing so can benefit companies as well.

Here are some timely ideas to inspire you this spring:

3rd March 2016 – World Wildlife Day http://www.wildlifeday.org/

This year, World Wildlife Day will be celebrated under the theme ‘The future of wildlife is in our hands’. The world’s wildlife, whether charismatic or lesser known, is facing many challenges – we’re losing species at a rate not seen since the dinosaurs went extinct. UN Secretary General said: “On this World Wildlife Day, I call on all citizens, businesses and governments to play their part in protecting the world’s wild animals and plants. The actions taken by each of us will determine the fate of the world’s wildlife.”

What you can do:

1 – Ask us to deliver a 1-hour talk to staff about wildlife, biodiversity and opportunities for taking action. Contact Biodiversity Expert Hannah Hamilton (hhamilton@bitc.ie)

2 – Keep an eye on GreenNews.ie’s Events page. All the major environmental NGOs list their events here and they happen all across the country. You might find some inspiration for a nature-friendly team-building day. See here for details: http://greennews.ie/events/

3 – Encourage staff to sign up for a biodiversity workshop. The National Biodiversity Data Centre runs an annual events programme across the country that includes wildlife photography, species identification and citizen science monitoring schemes. See here for details: http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/events/

4 – Reach out to the Heritage Officer in your local authority to find out what’s going on in the area. Is there a restoration project underway that the company can support (through, for example, fundraising or volunteering)? See here for a full list of Heritage Officers in Ireland: http://www.heritagecouncil.ie/county-heritage-services/contacts/heritage-officers/

 

6th to 13th March 2016 – ESB Tree Week http://treecouncil.ie/

ESB Tree Week has been organised by the Tree Council of Ireland since 1985. It’s a week-long programme of events to celebrate trees. People are being encouraged to plant, learn about and enjoy trees, and free saplings are available through each county’s Heritage Officer (see above for contacts). ESB Tree Week is being launched in the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin at 2pm on Sunday March 6th and events are taking place across the country.

What you can do:

1 – Host your own tree planting event on site. Contact our Biodiversity Expert Hannah Hamilton (hhamilton@bitc.ie) for ideas and advice on what to plant, where to plant, and how to engage employees.

2 – Ask us to deliver a 1-hour talk to staff about trees, biodiversity and the health and wellbeing benefits of being in nature. Contact Hannah Hamilton (hhamilton@bitc.ie)

2 – Promote ESB Tree Week events to your staff. See here for details: http://treecouncil.ie/initiatives/esb-tree-week/programme-events/

 

If you are a member company and would like to get more ideas on how to improve biodiversity whilst engaging your staff please contact your Account Manager or our Biodiversity Expert Hannah Hamilton (hhamilton@bitc.ie)