Red-tailed Bumblebee on Common Knapweed

The Big Bumblebee Discovery Project

In my post earlier today I was enthusing about the importance of introducing our children to nature and helping them to learn more about it.

By chance I received my regular email newsletter from the British Science Association today and one of the articles was about encouraging schools and individual children to become involved in a really important citizen science project this Summer –

“The Big Bumblebee Discovery”

Buff-tailed Bumblebee and Marmalade Hoverfly on Common Knapweed
Buff-tailed Bumblebee and Marmalade Hoverfly on Common Knapweed

This project runs from June 2014 and aims to

“observe the diversity of bumblebees in the UK”

By observing bumblebees and their behaviour, the project is trying to find out more about the numbers of bumblebees and the spread of different bumblebee species across the UK, particularly considering the impact bumblebees have on crop pollination. The project is being supported by the energy company EDF.

We have heard so much sad news about bees and there have been so many bee deaths in recent years, taking an active part in ‘doing something to help’ seems like a good step forward!

I understand the project age-range is 4-14 years. If you have a budding citizen scientist who might be interested in taking part, you can find out more from the Join the Pod website
http://jointhepod.org/experiment-zone/big-bumblebee-experiment-register

We have done quite a few citizen science projects over the years with our children – “Real Science!” as our youngest son calls it! (The bee photos you see in this post are his!)

It really does feel good knowing that what you are discovering or observing is then going to be added to the body of knowledge on that subject. I read recently on a Woodland Trust newsletter that records we and many, many other people have logged as part of the Woodland Trust’s Nature’s Calendar project provided some of the data for two research papers that formed part of the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Sadly that report made extremely gloomy reading too. But when we work together we can be very powerful so it’s important for us all to keep caring about the planet we share with such amazing nature!

J Peggy Taylor

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4 thoughts on “The Big Bumblebee Discovery Project

  1. People don’t realise things are not going well for bees. They are very important creatures!
    I remember years ago, my mom and I came home and we heard buzzing in the garden. Turns out a complete bee colony touched down in our garden. Mom called the city’s extermination but the office was closed. She then went on to find out if there was a beekeeper n the area. Turned out there was! He took the hive off our tree and explained that bees leave when they aren’t taken care of properly. He promised he would keep them happy. He was very respectful and clearly enjoyed these animals (despite being stung a few times, ouch!). He estimated there were about 40.000 bees in that colony. In the end, we were happy the extermination office was closed, because these bees went on to greener pastures, so to speak πŸ™‚

    1. Oh you are right San – and too many decision-makers don’t seem to care enough about bees too. Bees and other pollinating insects really are vital for our own food production and the well-being of our natural environment. I am really pleased you found a new happy home for your ‘lost’ bees πŸ™‚ We had a similar experience a couple of summers ago. We found a small colony of bees clinging to a stone in our local park. We found the details of local beekeepers and telephoned to see if they could collect the bees.

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