This week the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open returns to the renowned Castle Stuart Golf Links, but the field’s top players competing for the acclaimed title are not the only thing creating a buzz around the event. Thanks to a successful, pioneering conservation project by the team at Castle Stuart rare bumblebees are now a regular sight, and sound, at the Highland course.
Castle Stuart’s bumblebee project was hailed as one of the key environmental highlights when the course was recognised for its positive social and environmental value by achieving golf’s international eco-label, GEO Certified®, in 2014.
“Only a few years ago bumblebees had all but disappeared from our local area,” explained Stuart McColm, General Manager at Castle Stuart. “We understand the importance that bees have to the local ecosystem, pollinating wildflowers which provide a home and food for a multitude of birds and insects, and we also understand the responsibility that we have as stewards of the land to protect and support this natural ecosystem.”
Through this innovative conservation project, the team at Castle Stuart collaborated with local groups and key experts to introduce hundreds of bumblebees to the golf course in 2014. To provide a flourishing habitat for the bees’ introduction, Castle Stuart staff planted a plentiful amount of indigenous heather and installed hive boxes to ensure the bees’ food source and safety.
“The bee introduction has been a great success,” continued McColm. “Not only has the population sustained itself we’ve noticed an increase in the biodiversity of the site which we believe to be largely due to the important pollinator job that the bees do, along with other environmental management techniques we’ve put in place.”
As they walk along the course during the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open this weekend, the players and spectators may well see, or hear, these small, but very significant, workers buzzing about.
The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open is part of European Tour Green Drive, The European Tour’s sustainability programme. Throughout the build, running and take-down of the event care is taken to preserve the habitats across the course, minimizing disturbance to wildlife including the bees. Modern, efficient equipment is brought on-site to cover the event’s energy needs, recycling bins will be located in spectator and behind the scenes areas and data collected to support and inform the continual improvement of the event’s environmental performance.
More information about Castle Stuart’s bumblebee project, along with its many other initiatives across nature protection, resource efficiency and community value, and The European Tour’s GreenDrive can be found at golfenvironment.org.