A group of student zoologists from Newquay are creating a buzz around their important new conservation project.
The Back Garden Bee Project, consisting of seven Applied Zoology & Conservation degree students from Cornwall College Newquay, have made it their mission to raise awareness on bees and their importance in the natural world. The group was formed around the Conservation Project Management module of their degree programme and has united the students in their passion to offer a helping hand to this global issue.
Student Ria Arabin from the team, said: “Bees may seem small in size but they are colossal with regards to ecological influence. We formed the Back Garden Bee Project to provide people with an insight into the incredible life of bees, providing information on what exactly is causing their decline and most importantly how everyone can get involved to help give them a much needed boost!”
Bees are the most important pollinator of food crops in the natural world and as pollination is essential to the growth of much of the food sources we rely on as humans, the ongoing decline in bee numbers would have global implications if it continues. As Albert Einstein famously once said: “No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
Luckily, there are many simple changes that anyone can make to help bee populations in our own back gardens. Student Jessica Cranston explains: “By adding a few simple things to your garden you can turn it into a bee haven and help fight their decline! No matter what size garden you have, your level of gardening skills, available equipment, money or time, there are small changes you can make to help. Whether that is adding a window box full of their favourite flowers or planting a wild flower patch in your garden, every little thing will help your local bees.”
Fellow student Jamie McIlhatton continues: “Making more informed consumer choices is also really important. Supporting our local bee keepers and purchasing local honey rather than going for the easy, cheaper option at the supermarket will be integral to bee conservation in the future. You can visit your local farm shop or organic health food store for your best chance to find some local honey or even check out local bee keepers online. It’s a small change to make that can make a big difference, not to mention that local honey is delicious!”
The team of students have been spreading their conservation message online via social media and their own web site, as well as visiting local schools including a day spent at Summercourt Academy constructing DIY insect hotels with around 120 school children.
Jessica Cranston explains: “In addition to buying one from a local garden centre, anyone can make a contained insect hotel themselves, all the family can get involved and you can make it look however you want! You can go foraging in your garden or local woods to find wood, bark, pinecones, sticks and logs. The only challenging part is making the frame to fill, however there are resources online to show you how. It is also beneficial to the insects once inside, to cover the entire outside it wire mesh as this prevents predation from birds! We have a more detailed blog post that explains the process we went through to make our insect hotel on our website.”
For more information on the range of wildlife, conservation and marine science courses available across The Cornwall College Group visit www.cornwall.ac.uk or call 0330 123 2523.