Environment

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

“How are the bumblebees doing?” It is a question we are often asked here at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, and one which you can help us answer!

The sad truth is that of the 25 British bumblebee species, eight are scarce and three are threatened with extinction (and that’s not even counting the two species which have already become extinct).

The problem is, we really do need the services of bumblebees to pollinate our crops and help feed our wildlife. Did you know that 1 in every 3 mouthfuls of food you eat has been pollinated by a bee or similar pollinating insect? And with their fluffy coats, bumblebees are some of the best pollinators in the UK.

After losing more than 97% of wild flower meadow since the 1930s, no wonder our incredible insect pollinators have declined over the past century. What is less clear at the moment is how bumblebee populations are doing in the short term – and this is essential because it tells us how the bees are being affected by changes happening now.

Luckily, we can start to answer that all important question of “How are the bumblebees doing?” through our national citizen science scheme, BeeWalk. By collecting information on the abundance and distribution of bumblebees, BeeWalk allows us to paint a detailed up-to-date picture of bumblebee populations across the UK.

From the north coast of Scotland all the way down to Cornwall, our nationwide community of dedicated BeeWalkers spend their sunny days from March-October (well, just a couple of hours each month), counting and identifying the bumblebees they see along their set BeeWalk route.

Absolutely anyone can become a BeeWalker, and it’s a perfect excuse to get outside and observe nature with fellow bee-lovers. Through bumblebee ID training days we will teach individuals across the UK how to identify bumblebees (“which one was the one with the white bottom again? What do you mean there are 13 white-tails?!”), so that they can join us in undertaking this much-needed research in their local area. We want to focus on areas in the UK that currently don’t have many BeeWalkers, and fill the gaps in our bumblebee knowledge.

One of our aims is to provide individuals and communities with the tools and knowledge they need to become an advocate for pollinators. Our staff members are always on hand to assist BeeWalkers, and in 2017 we started a successful trial of a BeeWalk Mentor scheme, which we would like to continue and expand.
Experienced BeeWalkers volunteered their time to mentor local BeeWalkers, increasing our on-the-ground support of new or inexperienced BeeWalkers. Our dream is a connected BeeWalk network across the country, bringing together communities of BeeWalkers sharing their experience and knowledge.

Now on to all that collected data…what do we do with it? Our Science team take the data submitted by BeeWalkers (291,321 records of individual bees up to the end of 2017!), and analyse year on year trends and patterns in bumblebee populations. BeeWalk data acts as an early warning system for potential problems, and allows us to target our conservation efforts where they are most needed.

At the Trust we believe that people and nature go together. Funding would help us recruit and train new volunteers, whilst better supporting our existing BeeWalkers - this ultimately means more BeeWalk routes and more bumblebees counted! So please vote, and help BeeWalk to grow so that we can continue protecting and advocating for bumblebees for years to come.

Bumblebee Conservation Trust

"Why do we so enthusiastically participate in this activity? Well, first of all, we love bumblebees. We love to watch them, and by watching them, so learn more about them. We are concerned about the declining numbers of bumblebees, and want to help the scientists look for early warning signs".

Location: United Kingdom

Crowdfunder

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