15 November 2016

Celebrating the nation’s Bees’ Needs pollinator heroes

An inner-London ‘nectar bar’ and a disused coal mine transformed into a pollen-rich hay meadow are among a range of innovative projects helping protect the nation’s pollinators being celebrated today by Defra Minister Lord Gardiner.

The Bees’ Needs Champions Awards, hosted at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, brings together 30 champions to celebrate bee-friendly initiatives, from playgrounds to parks and farms to famous shopping streets. As winter approaches, bee experts are also calling on the public to take action to keep bees buzzing over winter, with tips on providing homes and food as the temperature drops.

The awards celebrate success in six categories: youth groups, schools, local authorities, farming, construction and community groups. They have been judged by a number of organisations on adopting Defra’s National Pollinator Strategy. The champions come from all over England and are responsible for a wide range of projects.

In Sydenham, south London, Grow Mayow community garden features its own nectar bar. Originally an old park keeper depot, it is now home to an award-winning garden with wild flowers and a beehive. Over winter, the garden is planted with a fast-growing ‘green manure’, providing winter food for pollinators and nutrients for the soil.

In Shropshire, the site of a former coal mine was left badly scarred by its industrial past before being turned into a pollinators paradise. The Severn Valley Country Park opened in 1992 and since then volunteers have been looking after five hectares of species‐rich hay meadows and bee hives. Volunteers trained as beekeepers are harvesting mason bee larvae to give to local fruit growers, so young bees can grow and pollinate fruit crops.

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