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UK: Bees' Needs Champions awards celebrate pollinator heroes

A ‘Bee City’ and a successful reintroduction scheme for the short-haired bumblebee are among the innovative projects highlighted by Defra Minister Lord Gardiner as inspirational examples of action to protect pollinators.

The annual Bees’ Needs Champions awards, hosted at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, celebrated 17 bee boosting projects from volunteers, schools, charities and councils across the UK which are helping pollinators thrive both in the countryside and in towns and cities.



Speaking at the Bees’ Needs Champions Awards, Minister for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity Lord Gardiner said: "We must all be thankful for our essential pollinators who do such vital work on our behalf, flying from crop to crop, tree to tree, helping us to grow our food. The champions I had the pleasure to meet today are doing exceptional things to return the favour and look after our pollinators. We must not leave them to it. We can all play a part.

"Whether it is leaving grass uncut to give bees a home over winter, or inspiring young people to be the pollinator protectors of the future, our combined efforts make a real difference."

Among the champion projects creating a buzz were the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s short-haired bumblebee re-introduction scheme and the Secret Garden project in Salisbury with their ‘Bee City’ and ‘Bee Trail’.

Goldthorpe Primary School in Barnsley and St Albans Primary School in Havant also featured for their pollinator-encouraging enterprises, including building bee hotels, creating wildlife meadows and campaigning in the local community. St Albans school has set up a ‘pollinator promise’ to get the local community involved, too.

Outdoor education teacher at St Albans Primary School, Julie Newman, said: "By working together as a community, Pollinator Promise is about inspiring others to give hungry and homeless bees food and shelter. Each small individual change adds up to make a big difference to pollinators and people."

Friends of the Earth Bee Cause campaigner, Paul de Zylva, said: "This year’s Bees’ Needs Champions show how anyone anywhere can help our bees and other vital pollinators not just to survive but to thrive.

"The ten year National Pollinator Strategy is now in its fourth year and relies on action by businesses, community groups, farmers, land owners and local councils to improve conditions for pollinators. Doing so is essential to restore nature across the nation."

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