10th AGM and Members' Day
The Trust’s 10th AGM and Members’ Day was an extra special event, celebrating not only our 10th birthday but our milestone achievement of reaching our 10,000 members target! The event was held on Saturday 10 December and there were 110 attendees, which included members, guests, staff and volunteers. We chose the London Wetland Centre, ‘an urban oasis for wildlife and people’ near Hammersmith, although there wasn’t as much to see as usual on such a dreary December day!
Our CEO, Gill Perkins, opened the day with musings of her childhood spent in a changing countryside, and urged everyone to try to reconnect with nature and ‘Bee the revolution’ by spreading the word about the plight of the bumblebee. She also said a massive THANK YOU to you, our members, who are keeping this important cause alive. Click here to read her welcome speech.
Our chair, Professor Michael Usher opened the AGM part of the day with an overview of the Trust’s highlights of 2015-16, which included our successes in securing scientific evidence for practical conservation work and for influencing policies, plans and strategies. He also gave thanks to retiring trustee Professor Jane Stout who for the last three years has been hugely instrumental in developing the Irish pollinator strategy and will be missed. Click here to read his opening speech.
Click here to view the AGM minutes, including the voting results.
After the official business was out of the way, the day moved on to an overview of the various exciting projects currently underway, including ‘Making a Buzz’; ‘Pollinating the Peak’; ‘BeeWild West Wales’; ‘Bombus subterraneus reintroduction; ‘Thurso: Gateway to the Great Yellow’; and the BeeWalk monitoring scheme.
During the lunch break we enjoyed chatting with our members from far and wide, and as well as the Trust’s merchandise we were delighted to welcome back Steven Falk, who had brought copies of his book and beautiful prints to sell. This year we were lucky enough to receive very high quality donated gifts for a raffle, including work from notable artists Kurt Jackson, Jessica Albern, Sarah Jane Bellwood, and Daniel Mackie.
We also had an interesting information stall run by Pollinating the Peak staff.
This year’s theme was all about gardening and we were lucky to have a special guest speaker, Kate MacRae (known as 'Wildlife Kate'), who has appeared on BBC's Springwatch and Countryfile programmes. Kate led us through the story of moving into her new home in Litchfield on a large plot of land and how she transformed the land into a wildlife haven. Kate gave tips and tricks for creating different habitats for different creatures and ended her talk showing us the results of her many nest box cameras set up to capture the different creatures that were enjoying their new homes – including a dancing squirrel! For more information on Kate, please go to her website: http://www.wildlifekate.co.uk/
Professor Pete Hollingsworth, who is a BBCT Trustee as well as Director of Science at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, gave a fascinating insight into DNA bar coding and Environmental DNA (eDNA). The future looks exciting with an app on your phone being developed, which when pointed at a species would be able to tell you exactly what it was!
We also held a special certificate presentation ceremony, to recognise the contribution of four people (Ron Rock, James Riall, Allan Watson and Chris Hardy) who have gone above and beyond to help the bumblebees.
And of course we wanted to celebrate our 10,000th member, Valerie Mayo from Surrey (pictured below with Chair Michael Usher and CEO Gill Perkins).
The day was finished off with our ‘Question Time’ session, where attendees had the opportunity to pose questions to a panel of Trust staff and Kate MacRae.
Thank you to those who attended, as well as the staff and volunteers who made the day run smoothly. You can see a summary of the lovely feedback we received in the word cloud below. This will help us plan the 11th AGM and Members’ Day, which is scheduled for 30 September in York - we hope to see you there! Further information will be available on the AGM webpage in due course.
“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.”