Category Archives: Environment

Do a Pollinator Monitoring Survey

“The Pollinator Monitoring and Research Partnership (PMRP) aims to establish how insect pollinator populations are changing across Great Britain.

We are working with existing recording schemes that focus on pollinating insects, and have established new large-scale surveys under the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme banner (PoMS)

PoMS is the only scheme in the world generating systematic data on the abundance of bees, hoverflies and other flower-visiting insects at a national scale (currently across England, Wales and Scotland). Together with long-term occurrence records collated by the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society and Hoverfly Recording Scheme, these data will form an invaluable resource from which to measure trends in pollinator populations and target our conservation efforts.

With reports of dramatic losses of insects occurring across the globe, and concern about what this means for wider biodiversity and ecosystem health, there has never been a more important time to document evidence of change in populations of pollinating insects.

FIT Counts: if you can spare ten minutes to sit and watch insects and flowers you can carry out a FIT Count (Flower-Insect Timed Count)! This simple survey collects data on the total number of insects that visit a particular flower, ideally chosen from our list of 14 target flowers. FIT Counts can be done anywhere, including gardens and parks, in warm, dry weather any time from April to September. If you can carry out several counts at one location during that time you will be adding extra value to your survey records. All the information you need is provided on their web site:”

https://www.ceh.ac.uk/our-science/projects/pollinator-monitoring

 

Change to Monmouthshire’s mowing practices

“As spring approaches, Monmouthshire’s grounds maintenance service will work to support the environment and provide a boost for wildlife by modifying mowing practices. Teams will mark open spaces with blue or white topped stakes to highlight areas likely to be suitable habitats which have been identified by council staff, residents or through the council’s partnerships with local groups. These include Bee Friendly Monmouthshire, Bees for Development and Gwent Wildlife Trust as part of the Nature Isn’t Neat project funded by the Vale of Usk Rural Development Plan for Wales …”

https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/2019/03/councils-grounds-teams-provide-boost-for-environment-with-mowing-change/?fbclid=IwAR1HfthE0OVjdmjisTWNMZgrgUAvU_eHJhgheRNZkb7sw2yU9Gu-DF1Ri_A

Strips of wildflowers could cut pesticide spraying

Strips of wildflowers across farm fields could cut pesticide spraying.   Guardian newspaper report:-

“The stripy fields have been planted across England as part of a trial to boost the natural predators of pests that attack cereal crops.

Long strips of bright wildflowers are being planted through crop fields to boost the natural predators of pests and potentially cut pesticide spraying.  The strips were planted on 15 large arable farms in central and eastern England last autumn and will be monitored for five years, as part of a trial run by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology…. ”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/31/stripes-of-wildflowers-across-farm-fields-could-cut-pesticide-sprayinghttps://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2015.1369

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2015.1369

 

Buy organic to help curb global insect collapse.

A Guardian newspaper article ,,,  “Buying organic food is among the actions people can take to curb the global decline in insects, according to leading scientists. Urging political action to slash pesticide use on conventional farms is another, say environmentalists.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/13/buy-organic-food-to-help-curb-global-insect-collapse-say-scientists

Bumblebees use perfume patterns to tell flowers apart

Guardian newspaper report ….

“Pollinators don’t just wing it when it comes to finding a sweet treat: the shape, colour, perfume and even electrical charge of flowers are all known to offer clues.

But now researchers say bumblebees also use another floral feature to guide them: how the concentration of a scent varies across the flower’s surface.”

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jun/13/bumblebees-use-perfume-patterns-to-tell-flowers-apart?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Lab+notes+2016&utm_term=278201&subid=25664344&CMP=ema-3242

https://research-information.bristol.ac.uk/en/publications/bumblebees-distinguish-floral-scent-patterns-and-can-transfer-these-to-corresponding-visual-patterns(943b7ba6-cae5-4662-96aa-705afc19cdc4).html

 

‘Outstanding Leadership’ for devising the Bee Friendly scheme in Wales.

Bleddyn Lake, from Friends of the Earth Wales has won the annual Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) ‘Outstanding Leadership’ award which seeks to recognise an individual who has provided outstanding leadership to their organisation or community in pursuit of change.

Bleddyn started working on Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign a few years ago and quickly had success in persuading the Welsh Government to draw up a new Action Plan for Pollinators. As part of this he sits on a Pollinator Taskforce group which was set up to look at all aspects of pollinator health and welfare in Wales.

Bleddyn devised the ‘Bee Friendly’ scheme as a way to engage schools, communities, universities, councils and other public bodies in Wales in a fun way to help protect bees and other pollinators in Wales. To gain Bee Friendly status, all a group has to do is to complete a set of actions to help pollinators from 4 different categories: food, habitat, community involvement and pesticides.

Once accreditation has been granted, the organisation can officially call itself ‘Bee Friendly’ and a network of regionally based volunteer ‘Bee Champions’ has been set up around Wales to help groups get started.

This scheme is the first such national pollinator accreditation scheme of its kind anywhere and is already attracting plenty of interest with many towns, schools and universities already working towards their Bee Friendly status. Some schemes have buzzed in to action very quickly and have already secured their accreditation with Hay on Wye Primary School becoming the first Bee Friendly school in Wales and Swansea becoming the first Bee Friendly University. Conwy Council has led the way amongst Local Authorities and the race is on to become the first Bee Friendly town and city.

https://www.foe.cymru/welsh-environmental-campaigner-wins-uk-award-getting-wales-buzzing?platform=hootsuite

The “Bee Friendly” Initiative in Wales

“Bee Friendly” is a new initiative aimed at communities and community organisations, schools, public bodies, town and community councils, businesses, universities and colleges, places of worship…….. and many other organisations, all around Wales.
We think it is the first co-ordinated national scheme of its kind and has at its heart – making Wales a Pollinator- Friendly country.
Although the scheme is called Bee Friendly, we want people to take action to help all our pollinators, and not just bees.

http://www.biodiversitywales.org.uk/Wales-Action-Plan-for-Pollinators

https://www.foe.cymru/bee-friendly-wales

The scale and speed of environmental collapse is beyond imagination.

http://www.monbiot.com/2017/10/23/insectageddon/

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 20th October 2017

Which of these would you name as the world’s most pressing environmental issue? Climate breakdown, air pollution, water loss, plastic waste or urban expansion? My answer is none of the above. Almost incredibly, I believe that climate breakdown takes third place, behind two issues that receive only a fraction of the attention.

This is not to downgrade the danger presented by global heating – on the contrary, it presents an existential threat. It is simply that I have come to realise that two other issues have such huge and immediate impacts that they push even this great predicament into third place.

One is industrial fishing, which, all over the blue planet, is now causing systemic ecological collapse. The other is the erasure of non-human life from the land by farming. ……..

Polli-Nation survey

Polli:Nation is a UK wide initiative supporting pupils from 260 schools to turn their school grounds and other local walk-to spaces into pollinator friendly habitats. To do this schools are encouraged to:

  •  Survey their patch using the new OPAL Polli:Nation survey (available May 2016)
  •  Make improvements for pollinators on their patch
  •  See how well it has worked using the OPAL survey to see the   impact the improvements have had.

This cross-curricula secondary and primary school project will give pupils direct hands-on experiences; from creating vertical green walls and night-blooming flower beds to lobbying to change school maintenance regimes and debating pesticide use. Pupils will learn about the role pollinating insects play in eco system services and be able to contextualise this in the choices and actions they take.

Alongside creating a network of knowledgeable and enthused young activists, the ambition of this programme is to utilise school grounds to form local green corridors and ‘stepping stones’, enabling species to move between core areas thereby contributing to the overall aim of the project by increasing numbers and sightings of pollinating insects in the UK.

http://www.polli-nation.co.uk/