A boost is tee-d up to help wildlife on the Ayrshire coast

Work to create a network of nectar-rich habitats along the Ayrshire coast has taken a step forward thanks to funding from golf’s governing body the R&A.

The support from the R&A has enabled the Irvine to Girvan Nectar Network, a partnership project managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, to appoint ecologist and keen golfer Tracy White to help local golf courses to become better places for pollinators such as bees, hoverflies and butterflies by offering advice and support with their pollinator plans.

Tracy said: ‘One of the reasons I enjoy playing golf is the wildlife that you can see during a round so it’s great that so many courses are keen to give nature a helping hand. I’m really looking forward to working with the course managers to find out what they have got planned and help them to create new habitats for pollinators.

‘There are lots of different ways that golf courses can help. These include making sure that roughs are cut occasionally and sowing wildflowers to ensure there is a mix of plants that suit different kinds of insects.

‘We’re losing wildflower meadows and other nectar-rich habitats at an alarming rate but fortunately many organisations and people across Ayrshire are keen to help. The Nectar Network is about sharing the expertise, resources and volunteers that can make all the difference.’

The Irvine to Girvan Nectar Network aims to establish nectar and pollen-rich sites along the Ayrshire coast to ensure their long-term survival. It is a partnership of businesses, golf clubs, local authorities and their neighbours, working together to provide land, materials, expertise and funds to tackle the issue.

Pollinators such as bees, hoverflies and butterflies will be helped by the new Nectar Trail on the Ayrshire coast

The Scottish Wildlife Trust is a key partner in the network and is managing the project this year.

The Nectar Network also supports other landowners in the area, provides volunteering opportunities and gives Ayrshire people the chance to be part of a growing movement across Scotland.

Pollinating insects are essential for food production and the beauty of Scotland’s countryside. However, a large number of species are in serious decline across the UK. Many insects are specialists that rely on one food plant, and they can become vulnerable unless this plant is found across a wide area.

Steve Isaac, director of sustainability at the R&A said: ‘The R&A is delighted to support this project, which demonstrates how golf can work in partnership with other businesses at local level to benefit the environment.’

The Scottish Wildlife Trust is Scotland’s leading nature conservation charity, representing over 40,000 members who care for wildlife and the natural environment.

For over 50 years, the Trust has worked with its members, partners and supporters in pursuit of its vision of healthy, resilient ecosystems across Scotland’s land and seas.

The R&A is committed to working for golf and supports the growth of the sport internationally and the development and management of sustainable golf facilities.

For more information, visit www.nectarnetwork.org and follow the Irvine to Girvan Nectar Network on Facebook or Twitter.