Bees Needs': East Midlands case studies
Bumblebee Conservation Trust - Bumblebee Education Experience
The Bumblebee Education Experience (B.E.E.) is a free, curriculum linked, secondary education package with the aim of educating and inspiring secondary school students, in Derbyshire, to take action to conserve bumblebees and to consider careers in science and conservation...
B.E.E. offers a unique opportunity, for schools to learn about bumblebees, their importance and their conservation in an exciting format, with strong links to KS3 curriculums. It provides enrichment in subjects such as Science, Geography, Art, STEM and Citizenship, as well as contributing to the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development of students.
The experience comes in two parts. Firstly, a show in which students are told the ‘bumblebee story’. This assembly style show uses large scale props, such as a giant bumblebee nest and flowers, to immerse students in the bumblebees’ world. The second part of the experience is a classroom based science workshop. During the workshop students have the opportunity to use exciting science equipment, such as microscopes and ultraviolet lights, to delve deeper into the science of bumblebees, while learning scientific skills that meet curriculum requirements.
Through education, future generations are being taught to value bumblebees and other pollinators and are being inspired to take action to conserve them. The Bumblebee Education Experience has engaged with over 1200 enthusiastic students, so far, this academic year. The adaptability of B.E.E. has seen it delivered across state, independent and special schools in both city centre and rural locations, across Derbyshire.
You can find more information about B.E.E. here.
B.E.E. currently operates within the Pollinating the Peak project, led by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in Derbyshire. The Trust is looking for opportunities to expand B.E.E. to other areas of the country.
Bakewell in Bloom, Peak District
Entry to East Midlands in Bloom
Volunteers in the picturesque village of Bakewell created a flower and bee trail to raise awareness of the threat to pollinators. They also knitted mini bees which were hidden within the window displays of businesses throughout the village, encouraging children to find them. The displays were accompanied by information leaflets that highlight the threat to bees and their habitats as well as what people can do, complete with the winning image of a children’s bee painting competition.
Brocks Hill Country Park Local Nature Reserve – Bees’ Needs Champions Award Winner 2018
Brocks Hill Country Park Local Nature Reserve provides a significant resource for biodiversity in an urban-fringe environment.
Brocks Hill Country Park Local Nature Reserve is 27.4ha in size and contains a range of habitats including woodland, scrub, ponds, wildflower meadows and a Community Orchard. Over the last few years there has been a focus on enhancing the site for pollinators, through increasing the area and quality of wildflower meadows, enhancing garden areas with pollinator friendly plants, establishing new fruit trees in the Community Orchard and recognising the value of bare earth, rough grass and scrub for its role in providing pollinator habitats.
Brocks Hill has over 7ha of wildflower meadows, an important area considering their rapid decline and relative rarity in the region. Key to ensuring the long-term success of the wildflower meadows has been the commencement of sustainable methods of grassland management, involving help from volunteers and the local farmer. At the end of summer, hay is mown and removed from the meadows, to prevent nutrient enrichment and allow the flowers to grow well the following year.
Volunteers have helped with many aspects of practical management, carrying out seasonal tasks to manage the meadows, woods, gardens and the Community Orchard. A group of local college students have now been growing fruit and vegetables on the raised beds for the past 3 years: learning about garden wildlife and growing organic food at the same time.
Dedicated volunteers also help to carry out surveys of bees and butterflies, and both surveys have shown exciting increases in the amounts of bees and butterflies spotted over the last few years. The data feeds into the management of the site, with certain aspects tailored for particular species (e.g. leaving small areas of meadow containing Bird’s-foot trefoil uncut until late September to benefit Common blue butterflies). Seasonal information about bees and butterflies is displayed in the Centre to engage and educate visitors. Interpretation boards in the park inform visitors of pollinator species and their habitats, with additional interpretation planned for installation later this year.
Since winning a Bees’ Needs Champions Awards in 2018 a further 1ha of former arable land has been sown with flower-rich seed mix. Over 65 plant species have been recorded growing within its first year.
Brocks Hill had its best year ever in 2019 for butterflies and bees! More butterflies were counted in 2019 than any other for 12 years. It was a record year for Common Blue butterflies and Brown Argus, Orange Tip, Small Copper and Red Admiral all had their best years ever at Brocks Hill.