Environment in association with the Mirror

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

“Have you heard about the Bilberry bumblebee?” I ask people. It is a very distinctive bumblebee with red and a lemon striped bottom! It is a cold loving species and likes Moorlands, which is why it is pretty local to the Peak District. I have to be careful not to alarm people. However, I do have to make people aware that, mostly due to loss of habitat and climate change it is in decline. It’s serious.

The UK has seen several species become extinct on our shores in recent decades. I have to admit, before I started, I didn’t know there were 24 species of bumblebees, over 200 species of solitary bees and just one honey bee! Between you and me, I also learnt that honey bees are domesticated and bumblebees are wild.

Pollinating the Peak is a fun, innovative project with science, education and community engagement at its core. One of its aims is to increase our understanding of the under-recorded Bilberry bumblebee (Bombus monticola), listed as a Peak District National Park priority species.

Bumblebees are one of the best pollinators, most simply because they have that big fluffy coat. Did you know that 1 in every 3 mouthfuls of food you eat has been pollinated by a bee or similar pollinating insect? That’s a lot of our food!

So no bees means no food! We have to make the next generation understand about where food comes from and how important bumblebees are. We want to do fun and engaging events with schools, communities and individuals and create a buzz around Derbyshire and the Peak District.

So what a summer in 2017 we have planned for the people of Derbyshire, it will be super busy; it is after all, bee season. Eighteen events in sixteen weeks. We hope to engage with over 1800 people. Phew! That’s so many more people that will know about the importance of the project and what we want to achieve.

Sixteen weeks of local community days, bee safaris and science events for children and families. We want to spend time linking into the existing tourist activities and destinations such as Chatsworth and Buxton Summer Fair. Great places to meet people and spread the message. A great summer for all.

Our Education officer, Ida will arrive with microscopes and science equipment (armed to the teeth!) and the kids love it! Our Community Officer, Rhodri can be seen with a shopping basket full of fruit and vegetables, baked beans and other food. You will see the perplexed expression on the adults faces when they realise, without bees, there we are only left with . . . Weetabix? The children will get it; they really are experts already; “if we have no bees, we won’t have any tomato ketchup? . . . That’s terrible”. Our message needs to be understood and we all need to do our bit to protect bumblebees!

We want children to talk about their exciting science day and to we want to help people have more information about bee friendly gardening, plant one bee friendly plant each, that’s our motto. Most importantly we need local communities as a whole to help with the conservation of bumblebees and help us to save the sound of summer.

So please vote, please join us and our partners, let’s see if we can all make the Peak District a much friendlier place for our “red and lemon bottomed” friends; the Bilberry bumblebee.

Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Location: Derbyshire, United Kingdom

“I am so grateful to be working with such an energetic team and for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. The staff are so committed to conservation and in finding new, fun ways to engage local people. It is such an exciting project and I am overwhelmed by the support.” Sally Cuckney, Project Manager.
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