Meeting our volunteers

What a month July turned out to be! After the busy period in June, when we were at lots of garden and agricultural shows, we had a little break in the events before our next series of events - the first BBCT Volunteer Training days.

For these events, we invited existing and potential future volunteers to come along and learn how they can help bumblebees by supporting our work. It also gave us a great opportunity to meet some of our volunteers, whom we had only 'met' through email or phone before. In particular, I must thank Clive, who sent us home with several jars of his (delicious) homemade honey! Clive has been very active in volunteering with BBCT for a number of years, so it was nice to finally meet him.

We also met with our first fledgling local BBCT group. Several people from Staffordshire got together a few months ago and decided to form a group to help support us in our work, and they've been very busy in attending events, leading walks, and putting on talks about bumblebees. They've done a great amount of work for the Trust, and Dawn and I were truly shocked when they presented us with cheques for over £500 that they raised at their events this year! A big thank-you to Ron, Rob, Sam, Lisa, Jenny, John and Felicity, who make up this group.

Receiving the cheque from Ron at Stafford.

Because these training days have been taking place in far-flung parts of the UK, it's given me a chance to spot some bees I hadn't seen before. I was really struck with the numbers of cuckoo bumblebees I saw at the RSPB Lodge at Sandy - some plants were almost covered in males, particularly the Red-tailed cuckoo bee (a new bee for me!), Southern cuckoo bee and Field cuckoo bee.

At the talks, many people who have been doing Bee Walks this year have noticed a great decline in the numbers of bees, especially the Red-tailed bumblebee, being seen. It seems that this summer weather has been very poor for bumblebees, and there's a discussion about this going on in the forum. Click here to join in the debate!

There are only a few more Volunteer Training days left, but we're looking forward to meeting some more volunteers (and seeing more new bees hopefully!)


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