The Bees Knees - We've Done Something Wonderful for Wildlife

The second winner of our “Have You Done Something For Wildlife?” competition is Becky Twigg, who created and manages The Bees Knees UK and The Secret Garden project in Salisbury, Wiltshire. Here is Becky’s story:

Bringing People Together

About 4 years ago, Becky started an online group, to try to collaborate wildlife information all in one place, thus encouraging more people to get involved and share ideas about wildlife gardens. The group grew quite quickly and Becky soon gained the support of Stuart Roberts - chairman of BWARS (bees wasps and ants recording society) and Dr Jeff Ollerton - pollination and biodiversity lecturer, backing her mission to create a 'bridge' between gardeners and botanical scientists. With 2.5k people now in the group, it was clear that an actual space to hold talks and events was the next step in inspiring people to take up wildlife garden conservation.

 A volunteer at The Secret Garden. 

A volunteer at The Secret Garden. 

A Space for Nature

Becky started looking for a space and approached the local council for suggestions. The council thought it was a good idea and in realising this could actually create some good outreach opportunities, they agreed to support the search. Local councillors started to get involved, and one of them suggested St. Clements churchyard in Salisbury. This space had been locked up for years, strimmed at regular intervals and locked up again by the council. It was unloved but was the perfect spot!

Becky had a meeting at the churchyard with local councillors, local residents and a historian who told Becky about the history of the gravestones. Becky unearthed her plan to introduce the world of bees to groups of school children and people within the local community. The proposal was presented to the committee, Becky was soon given a huge thumbs up, and The Secret Garden project was born!

 Clearing a space for nature at St. Clements churchyard in Salisbury.

Clearing a space for nature at St. Clements churchyard in Salisbury.

All Systems Go!

Since then it has been all go for Becky with lots of interviews with local magazines and radio, and more importantly working on practical issues like organising volunteers, and making plans for planting and site management. Fundraising is also a vital part of Becky’s work load now to help support her talks ranging from birds to bees, to ecology, woodlands and heritage skills. Basically everything relating to and encouraging engagement with the countryside and its awesomeness!

 Volunteers at The Secret Garden. 

Volunteers at The Secret Garden. 

Wild Plans for the Future

Becky plans to have a bird hide in the space for groups of school children to come and use, including a “sponsor a bee hotel” scheme. Plans are in place for planting workshops, making hedgehog homes and bug homes, and everything in between.  

Becky says:

“The outreach potential is huge, and I would love to have a 'touch trail' for the visually impaired and plan to have a person to 'sign' at all the talks too, so that the hard of hearing can join in. Health and wellbeing are a huge part of this, as I hugely believe in the power of nature to create peace, calm and happiness. Contact with nature really inspires the best in people and brings out a real generosity of spirit, and I really love that!”

The Secret Garden’s first open day will be held on 3rd October. The garden has been added to the local city 'Art Trail’, a local art event showcasing local artists at many venues around the city. Becky will be offering interactive nature inspired art, which sound like great fun. Do go along if you can for a fun day out. 

 The garden has started to attract a few visitors.

The garden has started to attract a few visitors.

And Finally....

I think you will agree that the work Becky is doing for The Bees Knees UK and The Secret Garden project is highly commendable and we would like to congratulate Becky and everyone involved in the project. We wish you all lots of luck for the future and hope your story inspires lots of others to do someone wonderful for wildlife in their community. 

Becky’s Facebook pages can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Secret-Garden-Wild-ideas-for-green-spaces-gardens/839510892810391

https://www.facebook.com/groups/BeeBuddy/