We’re looking to build a ‘bee corridor’ in Letchworth to help bees buzz around more easily as part of our wilding programme across North Herts.
Working in partnership with our ground maintenance contractor John O’Conner, we’re aiming for ‘bee friendly’ status for the world’s first garden city, and if successful will roll out to other towns in the district.
But why are bees so important? Bees and other insects pollinate most of our fruit and vegetables – they pollinate nearly three quarters of the plants that produce 90% of the world’s food. And as the number of people on the planet increases, and we take up more space to live, there is less and less habitat available for wildlife, including bees and other pollinators. The habitat that is left is often in small patches separated from other patches by roads and buildings. This makes it difficult for bees to move from one habitat area to another to find the flowers they need to feed on and pollinate, to find a mate and to find a nesting site. Bees are fundamental to our ecosystem and we cannot afford to lose them
Karen Brett from John O’Conner said: “We wanted to get a couple of beehives but after some research and speaking to local beekeepers, I was surprised to find there currently isn’t enough food to sustain bees in the local area. So we decided to look at creating a bee corridor in Letchworth instead.
“Although we’re already helping the council with various wilding projects to increase wildlife habitats, we are aiming to get the whole community on board with this initiative. To be granted Bee Friendly status we will be working with the Bee Friendly Trust which sets out actions for the council and John O’Conner to take, but we really need local residents, businesses, schools and groups to get involved and do their bit too. If we meet all the criteria, we could even win a community award!”
For instance, the council will plant more bee friendly shrubs on roundabouts, put up more bee hotels, and make and give away bee bombs with the help of John O’Conner. We’d love to hear from any Letchworth schools who want to be ‘bee-friendly’ and local pubs who have, or would be willing to have, bee-friendly planters outside and have Bee Friendly Trust collection points at the bar or sell local honey.
Cllr Steve Jarvis, Executive Member for Environment & Leisure, said: “Bees are in decline on a global scale due to loss of wild spaces and climate change. They are also affected by toxic pesticides and the way land is managed. By transforming Letchworth into a wildlife haven – including things like re-wilding grass verges and planting nectar rich flowers wherever we can to form a corridor – we can make it easier for bees to get around and increase their numbers.”
John O’Conner and Culture Wood, a non-profit company, passionate about protecting our natural world and reconnecting communities with nature and local greenspaces, recently held a bee bomb event at Howard Park, and a similar workshop will take place at Hitchin Eco Day on Saturday 15 July, 10am-2pm, in Market Square. Along with council officers, they’ll be promoting all things green and wild – you’ll be able to learn more about how biodiversity and wilding can encourage bees and other pollinators to help protect us from climate change and grab or make your own special bee bomb!
Other events and opportunities to get involved will be taking place - keep an eye on this website and our social media channels to find out more.
If you are a school, pub, business or community group and want to get involved please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bee Friendly Trust added: “Many of the criteria involve communities working together as a team – much in the same way bees unite within the hive!”
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