8th AGM and Members' Day
We held our 8th Annual General Meeting on Saturday 29 November 2014 and for the first time ever had a Members’ Day at the same time! We hoped this would give you the opportunity to see first-hand what your membership pays towards, and to give you a chance to provide feedback on how we are doing. The turnout on the day was fantastic, with total attendance at 100!
The venue was the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh (RBGE). Unfortunately it was too late in the year to do a BeeWalk as all the bees were in hibernation! Nevertheless, it was considered to be a ‘beautiful and fascinating setting’, as one member commented.
The event began with an Opening Address from our Chair, Professor Michael Usher, who discussed the highlights of the year 2013-2014, which included the increasing numbers of trained volunteers, as well as the development work the Trust has been involved with. Also, as a result of the Trust’s habitat management work, there are now an additional 3,500 hectares of land rich in wildflowers – this equates to approximately 4,900 international football pitches!
Michael also mentioned the increasing media coverage of the Trust’s activities. A Sting in the Tale, written by our Honorary President, Professor Dave Goulson, was serialised on BBC Radio 4 and resulted in over 100 new members joining us in one day alone!
We then moved on to the main business of the day, our 8th AGM. Voting was conducted in advance, and the results were read aloud. All eight resolutions were passed, including the re-elections to the Board of Michael Usher (Chair), Jane Dalgleish (Vice-Chair), and Peter Farr. To view the minutes click here.
After speaking about the past year, the focus changed to the future of the Trust. Our CEO, Lucy Rothstein, gave a detailed overview of the Trust’s strategic plan for 2014-2019. To view the Plan click here.
Lucy also reminded everyone of the Trust’s key vision: ‘To ensure that our communities and countryside are rich in bumblebees and colourful wildflowers, supporting a diversity of wildlife and habitats for everyone to enjoy’.
Our next speaker was Professor Pete Hollingsworth, Director of Science at the Botanic Gardens. He spoke about the core objectives of RBGE, namely understanding plant and fungal diversity; responding to global change; and building communities. He also talked about the vast library at the Gardens, containing books, journals, original artworks, and archives. He ended his talk with a discussion of potential opportunities for collaboration, such as the Edinburgh Living Landscape project and the URBANBees exhibition taking place from February-June 2015.
Next up was our Conservation Manager, Gill Perkins, with an overview on conservation and volunteering activity. She spoke about some of the partnerships the Trust has built up in the last year – with scientists and with landowners - and the work carried out in creating lots more bee-friendly habitats. She also highlighted that we now have over 332 BeeWalkers!
Our special guest for the day was our Honorary Vice President, the award-winning journalist, Simon Barnes. Simon’s keynote focussed on the importance of conservation and how it should be higher up the political agenda. He stated that the recent poll result (that the shortage of bees was the environmental issue people were most concerned about) should not only encourage politicians to take more notice of these issues, but should change the way everyone thinks about conservation and the natural world. His rousing speech was described by one member as ‘excellent and inspiring’. For more information on Simon Barnes, click here.
The day was wrapped up with a ‘Question Time’ panel session, with the most discussed topics being the temporary ban of neonicotinoids; encouraging younger people to engage with conservation; and habitat restoration of industrial areas (e.g. quarries, railways).
As you can see from this word cloud, the feedback from the day was very positive. Thank you to everyone who took the time to give us your feedback.
“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.”