Environmental activists have made an unusual entry to a regional competition to increase bee numbers.
A group of residents calling themselves Bee the Change have installed a bee-friendly garden on top of a bus stop on Cheltenham Road in what they say is a call for action on nature and an entry to the West of England Bee Bold awards.
The “buzz stop” garden was installed on Saturday (July 17) outside Montpelier High School. It is built with a recycled wooden frame and is held securely in place by industrial glue. Inside are over eight types of bee-friendly flowers.
Emma, a spokesperson for the group, said: ‘We’ve been very worried about the lack of insects we’ve seen this summer. It’s bad news for local nature and the crops we all rely on for food. Sometimes the environmental crisis can feel overwhelming.
‘But no one is too small to “bee the change”. Whether you can write to your MP, plant wildlife-friendly plants on your windowsill, in your garden, and on your street; or install a garden on top of a bus stop; everyone can be part of making the city we all want to live in.’
The installation was a hit with local residents. Denzil, whose house overlooks the bus stop, came out to see why people in hi-vis were climbing on the bus stop.
After being told the plan, Denzil thanked the activists and even invited them intones house for a glass of wine when the job was done.
Denzil said: ‘I’m really thrilled to see flowers on top of the bus stop outside my house. It’s such a brilliant idea and should be wonderful for the bees. And make people feel lovely on their way to and from work.’
The Bee Bold awards were launched by West of England metro mayor Dan Norris to recognise organisations that are taking positive action to support bees and pollinators. Winners of the award will be supported by the regional authority to promote their work across the region.
The UK is one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries. In Bristol, numbers of swifts and starlings have dropped by 96% since 1994 whilst 41% of pollinator species, including bees and butterflies, are in decline. Heatwaves are particularly hard for bees.
Research by the National Biodiversity Network shows that urban areas can actually support greater richness of bee species than non-urban areas and that residential gardens and allotments act as pollinator hotspots to increase bee numbers.