Making a Buzz for the Coast - this exciting and ambitious project spans over 300 miles of the Kent and East Sussex coast from Dartford to Rye, and focuses on restoring and creating habitat for Kent’s wild bees, especially the Shrill carder bee.
Features of the project include:
- Practical conservation and habitat creation activities; the creation of bee-friendly road verges; and the development of a cost-benefit tool for local authorities to demonstrate the benefits of bee-friendly planting/ cutting regimes.
- Training volunteers as bee-friendly garden advisors and working with Kent Wildlife Trust to expand their Garden with the Best Buzz competition.
- A Buzzing Roadshow that will tour communities to increase public awareness about the importance of bumblebees.
- Community workshops to engage new audiences with bumblebees through photography and art.
- Training volunteers in identifying bumblebees, with a particular focus on encouraging people to record individual Shrill carder bee sightings.
What will Making a Buzz for the Coast do?
Providing habitat - One of the primary aims of Making a Buzz for the Coast will be to safeguard rare bee populations by creating and restoring habitat and linking isolated populations together through the creation of flower-rich ‘stepping stones’ and habitat along the coast. In addition to working on a number of habitat sites in key locations we will also be working with the Kent Wildlife Trust and the Highways Agency to improve and carefully manage a number of roadside verges to become ‘Bee-Roads’. A range of advice and guidance about how and why to restore and create bee-friendly habitat will be available to landowners ranging from farmers and fruit producers to holiday parks, golf courses, parish councils and large estate owners.
Monitoring populations - Habitat and bee surveys will be an essential part of the project to help us build better data and monitor bee populations around the coast. We will be recruiting and training local people to complete surveys in their area as part of BBCT’s national recording scheme BeeWalk and given that we have more rare species of bumblebee in Kent than anywhere else in the country, we will be using a new approach specifically designed to help people identify these species. We will also be working to get as many people as possible to help us locate and monitor Shrill carder bee populations around the coast through a Have you seen this Bee? initiative. People will be introduced to this rare and characteristic species which can be spotted by its shrill buzz and distinctive colour pattern and encouraged to get hunting for it and submit their photo records.
Buzzing Communities – We know that to really have an impact and make a difference for all our wild bees around the coast we’re going to need as much help as possible. We will be touring the coast with a roadshow of events, activities, competitions and training to raise awareness about the importance of bees to Kent, build pride in the rare species that we have right on our doorstep and most importantly of all, inspire people to take some action to help. Bee friendly gardening is one of the best things that people can do to help all bees and working with the Kent Wildlife Trust there will be a Buzzing Gardens project with a range of gardening advice, activities and inspiration to encourage everyone to get involved.
This project is still in development. We are busy preparing a Round 2 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and working hard to secure the required ‘match funding’ (if you would like to donate please follow the link above). We will be submitting our application to HLF in February 2017 and if successful the project delivery phase will start in October 2017 and run for 3 years to September 2020.