Bee Wild West Wales is working with communities to help them take practical action to make west Wales a buzzing haven for bumblebees.
There are two strands to the project:
- Skills for Bees will encourage people to engage with bumblebees through citizen science, events and interactive activities, e.g. identification training, bumblebee hunts, and bilingual resources.
- Buzzing Communities will help communities to make their local areas more attractive, and encourage pride and ownership of their unique natural heritage. We will produce and distribute a toolkit to help other communities to create their own bee-friendly greenspaces.
Benefits to bumblebees: West Wales is an important hotspot for bumblebees, with many rare and protected species. Our project area is one of the last remaining strongholds for the Shrill carder bee, the UK’s most threatened bumblebee species. Remaining populations need protection and suitable flower-rich habitats (many of which have been lost). This project will create good quality habitat and raise awareness of the need to protect and create other areas of bee habitat.
To protect bees effectively we need up to date information on their distribution and abundance – data which is surprisingly patchy and uncoordinated at present. The only cost-effective way to collect this data is by recruiting, training and supporting a network of committed volunteers.
Bee Wild West Wales will give bees a better chance by:
- Developing vanishing skills and knowledge about bees, so more people know how to help them.
- Creating a Buzzing Communities toolkit to distribute widely to at least 100 community groups across Wales and the rest of the UK, inspiring further action to create/restore bumblebee habitat elsewhere.
- Restoring and creating bumblebee habitat and training volunteers in managing it for bees.
- Training a network of surveyors to record and monitor bumblebee populations, so that BBCT’s work, including policy and advocacy at the highest levels, continues to be based on sound, proven science.
Benefits to people: The project will benefit a wide range of people living in deprived communities in west Wales, including community groups, schoolchildren, families, young people and the older generation. We will train 150 volunteers, and many more people will benefit from taking part in events and activities, and from visiting and enjoying the improved greenspaces in their local area.
Bee Wild West Wales will offer people:
- Fun, accessible ways to learn new skills and knowledge (such as how to identify bees; how to help bees; seed collection; bee-friendly gardening) through training, family activities, events, talks and walks.
- Opportunities to get involved in planning, improving and maintaining their local green spaces so they are better for bees (and other pollinators) and for the local people, giving them a sense of ownership.
- Opportunities to use their new skills to contribute to scientific data that will be used to help bumblebees.
- Opportunities to enjoy the physical, intellectual and social benefits of taking part in volunteer work parties to create bumblebee habitat and train volunteers in habitat management for rare bees.
“Bumblebees are one of the most endearing insect visitors to any garden. Their furry, colourful bodies and clumsy flight always raise a smile, but they also do an essential job. Without their pollination services many flowers would produce no seeds, and fruit and vegetable yields would suffer.”