With every £4000 we can achieve another community apiary!
Native honey bees and wild pollinating insects are in decline, Pollenize is enabling the public to fight back through community beekeeping!
by Matthew Elmes in Truro, England, United Kingdom
With every £4000 we can achieve another community apiary!
We’re working alongside some incredible academic partners to help save the native honey bee in Cornwall by installing unique community beehives... but we need your help to make this happen! The county is one of the last remaining places in the UK where our native and 'near native' honey bee still exists.
Without your help to purchase the hives, we won't be able to put our pioneering conservation plans into action.
Pollenize CIC was founded in Plymouth 3 years ago as we did not have access to beekeeping equipment or local sustainable honey. We initially set up several community apiaries (beehive sites) on iconic buildings across Plymouth so members of the public could take part in beekeeping and have a share of the honey crop each year. However, we have since learnt an awful lot about bees and the causes behind insect decline. As a result, our social enterprise has gained huge momentum causing us to become a key player in driving environmental research and social change within our city (and beyond!). In this short amount of time we have sold over 3500 science-backed rewilding seed packets as well as a packet for every Plymouth school child, gained 90 patron members, set up 7 community events, engaged with 10 schools and most importantly...helped 400 different species of pollinators at risk of decline.
Pollinators really are in decline. So much so that recent studies across Europe have found that insect biomass numbers have dropped by as much as 75% due to loss of habitat through urbanisation and agriculture as well as the use of harmful chemicals. Pollinators play a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem and are also essential in the provision of food for wildlife and us humans.
We know much of the public feel deeply concerned about environmental emergencies such as climate change but are very short on options to fight back against it. By connecting the public to our conservation work, making our scientific research more accessible, we’re providing fun and actionable solutions for people to get involved in reversing pollinator decline.
Pollenize has been working with multiple departments and academics at the University of Plymouth to deliver public-led solutions that tackle this important issue.
In order to carry out our important conservation research, we need your help to secure beehives, bees, and the associated apiary equipment.
We've already, though our partners at the Agritech Cornwall Programme, managed to raise over £30,000 for the 64 AI cameras and 96 genetic tests of bees in order to find the remaining pure strains of native dark honeybees in Cornwall.
However, we still need the beehives that we can attach bespoke sensing equipment to, allowing us to monitor the colony's progress and gather data on the bees foraging behaviour.
With every £4000 raised we can supply 1 community hive . Our ultimate goal is to install 32 community beehives across Cornwall to ensure the honey bees are protected for years to come - this would be a huge green leap for the county and its people.
We're really excited about the technology we plan to put in place to ensure people can always feel connected to the bees...
Each AI beehive will be viewable to the public via video live streams links, which can be streamed online to any device:
As well as an online presence via the livestream we want to engage with the general public at each location via street level QR code signage and really cool augmented reality filters with Professor Katharine Willis, Green Minds:
We also need further funds to refine our knowledge of our existing stocks, including on the Isles of Scilly, through further genetic screening, in partnership with Professor Mairi Knight of the University of Plymouth and Dr Mark Barnett of the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh. This will allow us to populate our new hives with native or near-native stocks in an effort to boost the existing population.
In partnership with these scientists, Pollenize are also working with the UK's The B4 Project CIC to assist with informing and formulating the best strategy going forward to conserve and promote our native species of honey bee Apis mellifera mellifera
Please help Professor Mairi Knight and Dr Barnett and their incredible research teams with their work to identify the purest bees in Cornwall by making a pledge so that the project can sample more than 96 tests.
If you are a beekeeper and you would like to know if your bees are native you can send your them to BeeBytes CIC where Mark and his team can analyse their lineage.
Beebytes Analytics CIC aims to increase the available knowledge on pollinator genetics by working directly with beekeepers and bee breeders. Beebytes is currently helping to conserve the native honeybee subspecies in the UK with a low-cost genetic test to analyse the genetic provenance of colonies (what lineage they originated from - our native lineage or continental European strains, or a mixture of both). Founded by Expert Beekeeper and Honey Bee Research Scientist, Dr Mark Barnett (Roslin Institute), Bioinformatician Dr David Wragg (Roslin Institute) and Expert Beekeeper and Information Scientist Matthew Richardson (University of Edinburgh), Beebytes is based at the Roslin Institute Innovation Centre (University of Edinburgh). The mission of Beebytes CIC is to help beekeepers and bee farmers select and breed their preferred type of honeybee in the UK and beyond. Their data can then feed into wider collaborative work with Prof Knight's group, B4, Pollenize and other national bee groups to help to inform conservation strategy nationally.
Save bees- Enrich communities- Support science
Thank you for taking the time to read about our project. If you are interested in taking part in this project as a host site please get in touch with Matthew on email@example.com
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