Ecoscape UK is determined to support all aspects of the natural environment. Now, more so than ever before, it’s especially important to support vulnerable species that contribute greatly to our wider environment but aren’t necessarily being protected themselves, consequently resulting in declining numbers. For instance, take our large, fuzzy, four-winged friend… the Bumblebee.
Bumblebees are a vital and treasured component of our biodiversity. The more common UK bumblebee species make a substantial contribution to our economy through the method of crop pollination. Pollination is crucial for the wider ecosystem as Bumblebees will pollinate a diversity of wild plant species, also helping us to maintain affordable five-a-day fruit and vegetables. Per annum, insects contribute over £600 million to the UK economy via the pollination of industrial crops such as tomatoes, peas, apples. However if the numbers of bumblebees and other vital insect pollinators continue declining, high incremental costs may incur as the pollination extraction process would need to be sourced through other means.
Over the last 80 years however, Bumblebee numbers have declined significantly, with two species declared extinct and several others on the brink of extinction. Therefore, in an effort to support, protect and increase the national distribution of 8 endangered UK national species of Bumblebee, Ecoscape UK have become a committed member of The Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust was founded in 2006 by Professor Dave Goulson and Dr Ben Darvill. As a science-led organisation, the main objectives of the trust include; to increase the quality and the quantity of bumblebee habitats, enhance the understanding of bumblebee ecology and conservation and to inspire and enable a diverse range of people to take action for bumblebees, achieving the overall aim of making a clear and positive difference for such an iconic species. In order to help achieve said aims, Ecoscape UK are seeking to become a key member and donator towards a number of key projects carried out in 2021 by The Bumblebee Conservation.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust have embarked on a number of exciting past projects that have truly inspired people to connect to the flourishing environment whilst incorporating opportunities for participants to learn about bumblebees and the actions that they can take to help make a difference. ‘Blooms for bees’ is an ongoing partnership initiative, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, aiming to promote bee-friendly gardening and engage communities to explore which species of bumblebee visit their gardens and allotments. Observations during this project have helped research to better understand which bumblebee species visit gardens and allotments and which flowers we should grow more of.
Another inspiring and successful program launched in 2011 was the three year ‘Bees For Everyone’ project. The success of this project exceeded all expectations as the trust engaged with over 40,000 people face to face at over 400 staff-led events, helping to inform, educate and spread the bumblebee message. Moreover, a project target was set to create and restore 1,200 hectares of quality bumblebee habitat and with the hard work and dedication shown by farmers and land managers supporting the trust, over 3,000 hectares was able to be restored! The project recruited over 500 volunteers, supporting over 500 events across the UK. The project also contributed significantly to the trusts online presence as nearly 600,000 people visited the website. By the end of the project, over 28,000 people had subscribed to the Bumblebee conservation monthly e-newsletter.
Working closely with The Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Ecoscape UK want to help continue the support through partaking in volunteer days, such as the BeeWalk, in which employees will walk a fixed route around the Greater Manchester area, counting the bumblebees seen and identifying them to species and caste (queen, worker, male) where possible. This will help to contribute towards achieving the aim of the scheme- collecting abundance and distribution data on the UK’s bumblebees, analyse population trends and carry out further research. All data collected will contribute to crucial long-term monitoring of bumblebee population changes in response to changes in land-use and climate change and, ultimately, to informing how the countryside is managed on a wide scale (The Bumblebee Conservation Trust, 2020). In addition, Ecoscape UK have committed to donating a range of Ecoscape UK recycled sustainable products that can then be used for various projects including: Bumblebee-friendly green gardens, bumblebee protected habitat areas and boardwalks for the BeeWalks, helping to make it safer for volunteers as well as encouraging the wider community to enjoy the wonders of the nature.