They are calling on local residents, experts and businesses to help restore the habitats of our most important pollinators.
On 14th July 2016, Chester Zoo will welcome a diverse range of local representatives to a Bee Summit with the aim of coming together to accelerate collaborative action in order to help reverse bee decline, and protect other potentially at risk pollinators such as moths and butterflies.
The summit aims to bring together a variety of people including conservationists, beekeepers, farmers, businesses, local authorities, students and community group volunteers.
The event is coordinated by Chester & District Friends of the Earth and is a part of their Bee Cause campaign. They are working closely alongside Chester Zoo and its Wildlife Connections Campaign.
Helen Tandy, of Friends of the Earth, says, “We were looking to arrange an event in Chester and one of the suggested locations was Chester Zoo. The zoo has already arranged many of its own events under its Wildlife Connections banner, and our request for them to help host a Bee Summit fitted well into its programme.”
“Friends of the Earth are delighted that the Government is committed to putting in place a strategy to tackle all causes of bee decline. But we, the public, also need to help turn this strategy into action locally. Wild bees and other natural pollinators are incredibly important to our environment and food security. In the UK, solitary bees are in serious decline and some species of bumblebee have been lost altogether. We urgently need more action to tackle this potentially devastating situation and I’m pleased that Chester Zoo is playing its part collaboratively.”
At the Bee Summit, experts will share their insights into the current situation to help inform discussions in order to find a way to improve the protection of pollinators in Cheshire and Flintshire.
Sarah Bird, of Chester Zoo said, “Chester Zoo is excited to work with FoE to raise awareness of the serious threats facing our bees, and to stimulate local action to help our bees and other pollinators. Linking people with conservation organisations such as FoE is an important part of our Wildlife Connections campaign, and this Bee Summit is a great example of this.”
Pollinators are essential for enabling flower fertilisation. Apples, strawberries and onions, are examples of the many foods which rely on pollination. Declines in the health and population of bees and other pollinators are posing a risk to global biodiversity, long-term food security and ultimately human health. The decline of bees and other pollinators could lead to significant increases in the price of our food.
Manon Keir, Chester Zoo, Wildlife Connections Project Officer, says “Everyone can take small steps that could make all the difference to your local bees, whether you’ve got a big garden or a tiny window box. Making a bee home and growing flowers of all kinds are simple things that will help your local bees and other wildlife too!”
“Habitat loss is a major factor contributing to bee population decline across the UK," continued Helen Tandy. "Creating and restoring habitat for bees and other pollinators is something we can all get involved in – from planting pollinator-friendly plants in our gardens to helping restore flower-rich meadows in our countryside and demanding local authorities think and act pollinator-friendly”.
We are urging anyone in Cheshire and Flintshire to come along and see how they can get involved.
We have also been raising funds to support local community groups, if anyone is involved in a group that would like to create wildflower spaces do let us know.