We've just donated £172.51 to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, which will be used to fund their flagship, Heritage Lottery funded, project in Kent.
Making a Buzz for the Coast
This is an exciting community focused project and call to action, designed to engage and encourage local people living in Kent (and part of East Sussex) to do something positive to help protect our bumblebees and other pollinating insects. This exciting and ambitious project will take place along the 300 miles of coastline, from Dartford to Rye, and will focus on communities and land within 5km of the coast. The project will act as a flagship initiative within the new DEFRA-led National Pollinator Strategy and will help to deliver Kent County Council’s ‘Plan Bee’ aimed at mobilising the people of Kent to take action to help pollinators. Making a Buzz for the Coast will also play an important role in delivering Biodiversity 2020 (England’s national strategy for wildlife and ecosystems) in Kent through restoration of priority habitats, increased habitat connectivity and safeguarding threatened species.
The project has been developed in partnership with several organisations including Kent Wildlife Trust, RSPB, the Short-haired bumblebee project and Kent County Council and is made up of eight work strands which share the common themes of community engagement and learning and have skills for bees at their heart. The project will also involve a range of key stakeholders and other partners including landowners, local authorities, schools, community organisations, local industry, businesses, the Environment Agency and the Highways Agency. Making tangible improvements to bee habitat and linking together areas of habitat is a key element of the project and one of Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s key strategic and long term aims.
Kent’s cultural and economic heritage is intrinsically linked to bees. With its rolling landscapes which give rise to a long tradition of fruit production and horticulture, abundant orchards and flowering crops, Kent is heavily reliant on bees and the pollination services they provide. Declines in wild pollinator populations over recent decades have led to a pollination deficit which negatively impacts on yields as well as fruit or seed quality. Furthermore, bees are fundamental to ecosystem functioning in a diverse range of habitats and bee declines have been linked to decreases in floristic diversity and wider biodiversity losses.
The Kent coast is a hotspot for rare bumblebees such as the shrill carder bee Bombus sylvarum (the UK’s most threatened bumblebee), brown-banded carder bee Bombus humilis and moss carder bee Bombus muscorum, (priority species under Section 41, NERC Act 2006) as well as several rare solitary bees such as the sea aster mining bee Colletes halophilus. These species exist in small, isolated and highly fragmented populations along the coast which leads to inbreeding and a reduction in genetic diversity, making populations even more vulnerable. They also have specific habitat requirements (e.g. forage and nesting preferences) and the coastal habitats with which they are associated such as grazing marsh; vegetated shingle; saltmarsh; sea walls; chalk grasslands; and brownfield sites are under threat from development pressures, agricultural intensification, inappropriate management, neglect, climate change and coastal squeeze. One of the primary aims of Making a Buzz for the Coast will be to safeguard these rare bee populations by creating and restoring habitat in existing population centres and linking isolated populations through the creation of flower-rich ‘stepping stones’ and habitat corridors along the coast.
Aims of the Project
Making a Buzz for the Coast has four aims:
1) To protect and enhance Kent’s wild pollinator populations, with particular focus on bumblebees and solitary bees, to boost pollination services and conserve biodiversity.
2) To safeguard and strengthen rare bumblebee populations, linking isolated populations.
3) To provide habitat for the newly reintroduced short-haired bumblebee – unique to Kent.
4) To raise awareness about bumblebees and other pollinators, the benefits they provide and what can be done to help them, inspiring individual action.
Our donations help make a difference by supporting BBCT's practical conservation work and their efforts to work with local communities to raise awareness and education about the plight of bumblebees in the UK. We could not make these donations without the support of our customers and long term supporters, so thank you all very much. Long may it continue.