Press release
Press & Media

TV presenters urge people to join the Great British Bee Count and help our bee-leagured bees

TV presenters Michaela Strachan and Ellie Harrison are urging people to take part in Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee Count, which begins today (Friday, 19 May 2017) and runs until 30 June. 
 
The Bee Count is also being backed by some of the nation’s leading bee experts, who are calling on people to take action to help our under-threat pollinators. 
 
Now in its fourth year, a fun, free and informative app enables people to take part in the Great British Bee Count (19 May-30 June), which was featured on last year’s Springwatch – and which helps people: 
 
•        identify the common bee species that visit our gardens, parks and countryside – as well as two rarer species. 
•        learn more about the amazing diversity of Britain’s bees – the UK has around 270 species of bee.
•        take easy steps to help our under-threat pollinators – such as creating bee-friendly gardens and other spaces
 
Verified sightings recorded as part of Great British Bee Count will be shared with academic researchers and ecologists via the National Biodiversity Network Atlas. 

Friends of the Earth has a number of top tips for creating bee-friendly spaces which can be found here.

Over fifteen thousand people took part in last year’s event, which is supported by Buglife, with sponsorship from Waitrose. 
    
A survey of last year’s participants revealed that 80% said that they were inspired to grow bee-friendly plants, install a bee hotel (40%) and leave a patch of lawn to grow wild (35%)

35 UK bees species are considered under threat of extinction – and across Europe nearly one in ten wild bee species face extinction.

TV presenter Michaela Strachan said: 
 
"The humble bee is a vital pollinator. Buzzing around our gardens and countryside, it's a hard working little insect that pollinates our flowers and crops. But unfortunately these beautiful insects are under-threat. 
 
“By joining the Great British Bee Count you can find out more about the wonderful world of bees, and what you can do to help the plight of the humble bee. The free app includes tips on creating bee-friendly spaces, and will help you find out more about our buzzy friends. So download the app and get spotting!”
 
TV presenter Ellie Harrison said:
 
“Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee Count gives you the opportunity to learn about wild-bee species, to be involved in citizen science and to appreciate how important pollinators are in every meal we eat.”

Friends of the Earth chief executive Craig Bennett said:

“Bees are crucial pollinators for our fields, gardens and countryside. We can all help these under-threat pollinators with a few simple tips for creating bee-friendly gardens, schools and other open spaces. By taking part in this year’s Great British Bee Count with our fun, free app, you can you can find out more about these fascinating and valuable insects.”

Chief Executive of Buglife, Matt Shardlow, said 

“Bees and other pollinators are essential to life as we know it, but they are disappearing.  The Great British Bee Count  engages people across the UK in looking out for the small things that run the planet, then together we can take action to make a difference for our pollinators.”

Kate Bradbury, wildlife gardening expert and author of The Wildlife Gardener said: 

"Getting to know bees is one of the most rewarding experiences. From the big buzzy bumbles to Red mason and Leafcutter bees, to tiny things that you'd never see if you didn't stop to look, there's a whole world out there waiting to be discovered. And, by taking a few simple measures, you can help these vital pollinators too." 

Bee expert Professor Dave Goulson from the University of Sussex said:

“Our wonderful wild British bees are under threat. But the good news is that everyone can help. Plant some bee-friendly flowers or herbs in your garden, in a pot on your balcony or in a window box, or persuade your school to create a bee friendly space – then sit back and enjoy the sight and sound of lovely buzzing bees. Cutting out pesticide sprays will help the bees, and the birds and butterflies too.”   
 
Bee expert Professor Simon Potts from the University of Reading said:

“Everyone can help our under-threat bees this Spring. Research has already show that our towns and cities can be great places for bees – if the right plants are grown in parks and green spaces. With a bit of bee-friendly gardening, and a bit more tolerance of weeds, we can all help to make sure our streets and neighbourhoods are buzzing with these amazing insects.”  
 
14 year old Mya-Rose Craig, also known as Birdgirl, said: 
 
"I am really looking forward to taking part in the 2017 Great British Bee Count and would encourage other kids to do it too.  I have done several garden bio blitzes, identifying and enjoying the bees in my garden. Our garden is planted for wildlife and has lots of plants that attract bees, like lavender and borage. I am very worried about more UK bee species becoming extinct. This would be catastrophic not only for nature, but also for pollinating our crops.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. People can register to take part in this year’s Great British Bee Count at www.greatbritishbeecount.co.uk  
2. Verified sightings recorded as part of Great British Bee Count will be shared with academic researchers and ecologists via the National Biodiversity Network Atlas. Verified sightings will also contribute towards the Government's new insect monitoring scheme and related Pollinator Monitoring and Research Partnership (PMRP). This, in addition to results from other detailed surveys, will help directly inform government policies and decisions on ways to reverse bee and pollinator decline.
3. Michaela Strachan has prevented a host of programmes such as The Really Wild Show and Springwatch.
4. Ellie Harrison: Ellie is a naturalist, outdoorsman and broadcaster. She currently presents Countryfile.
5. Kate Bradbury: Author of The Wildlife Gardener, Kate is passionate about organic, wildlife-friendly gardening.
6. Professor Dave Goulson, University of Sussex, studies the ecology, behaviour and conservation of bumblebees.
7. Professor Simon Potts, University of Reading, who co-authored a 2015 study showing urban habitats provide haven for UK bees.
8. Mya-Rose Craig is a 14-year-old young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog which posts about birding and conservation from around the world.
9. Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause Campaign is supported by the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery’. 

 

If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

 

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust