Avon Wildlife Trust: All the latest news for Get Bristol Buzzing

A huge variety of insects pollinate wild plants and food crops but they and their habitats are under threat. Get Bristol Buzzing is uniting projects across Greater Bristol to help make the city a better place for pollinating insects, such as bees, butterflies and hoverflies.

Seven partner organisations have developed a Greater Bristol Pollinator Strategy that will unite individuals and organisations to achieve shared aims and actions for pollinators. We are now inviting you to sign up to support the Strategy and asking you to tell us what you are doing to help pollinating insects — whether it’s a small patch of wild flowers in your garden or a community wild flower meadow, every little helps! All activities will be displayed on the My Wild City map and you will be able to obtain Get Bristol Buzzing branding for your project to show that you are supporting the Strategy.

To find out what you can do visit Get Bristol Buzzing to see our five top tips for helping pollinators and to download useful resources, including advice on how to sow a flower meadow and plants that are good to grow in allotments.

And if you have received some of our Get Bristol Buzzing seeds this year, do let us know the results — tell us what you’ve done so we can add your site to our map. You can also tweet a photo with #getbristolbuzzing to show how you are helping pollinators!

Updates on pollinator activities…

JULY 2016

1. Bees Needs Week

Bees Needs Week (9–17 July) aims to raise awareness of pollinator needs and encourage everyone to take action to support pollinators.

Follow #BeesNeeds on twitter to find out more about the campaign and tweet your pollinator questions to charities, businesses and bee experts.

2. RHS & University of Bristol Survey

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the University of Bristol are asking gardeners to take part in a new study to identify the most commonly planted pollinator-friendly plants and assess how good UK gardens are for pollinators. The UK’s 27 million gardeners, from window sill and urban gardeners to more traditional horticulturists, are being asked to complete an online survey that will help the charity better understand how widely gardeners plant for pollinators.

3. Urban Pollinators films on You Tube

The Urban Pollinators Project team has produced a series of short films about our research and how you can help pollinators in urban areas.

The seven films cover a range of topics including our research findings to date as well as top tips for allotment holders, practitioners and policymakers on helping pollinators in urban areas. Enjoy!

DECEMBER 2015

1. Sign up to support the Greater Bristol Pollinator Strategy

The Get Bristol Buzzing initiative is underpinned by the Greater Bristol Pollinator Strategy launched in 2015. This local pollinator strategy for the Greater Bristol urban area, based on Defra’s National Pollinator Strategy, unites organisations and individuals in working towards shared aims and actions to help pollinating insects across the city.

We would like to invite organisations and individuals to sign up to support the Strategy and tell us how you are helping pollinating insects — whether it’s a small patch of wild flowers in your garden or a community wild flower meadow, every little helps! Please tell us about what you have been doing in 2015 so we have a record of all of the wonderful things that have been happening in Bristol’s Green Capital year. We would also like to hear about what you are planning for 2016 so that we can feed this information into the Strategy Implementation Plan for 2016.

All activities will be displayed on the My Wild City interactive map and you will be able to obtain Get Bristol Buzzing branding for your project to show that you are supporting the Strategy.

2. “Bees Needs” resources available

Defra has created a “Bees’ Needs” website with the Wildlife Trust to support the National Pollinator Strategy for England. The website contains lots of useful resources on creating and managing pollinator habitat including case studies and information sheets to inspire local authorities, gardeners and other landowners.

3. “Urban Buzz” coming to Bristol

Buglife recently launched ‘Urban Buzz’ a new national project that will transform urban sites to help pollinators in eight towns and cities in England and Wales over three years. We’re excited to announce that Bristol has been selected as one of the eight ‘Buzzing Cities’ and the Buglife team will be working in Bristol from 2017. Watch out for updates in future newsletters on how you can get involved with this fantastic new project and visit the project website to find out more information.

4. Date for your diary: National Meadows Day on 2nd July 2016

The first National Meadows Day took place in 2015 as part of the Save Our Magnificent Meadows campaign. The next National Meadows Day will take place on 2nd July 2016. To find out about events taking place near you please visit the Magnificent Meadows website. If you’d like to link an event you are planning to National Meadows Day, or for more information about National Meadows Day or Save Our Magnificent Meadows please contact Fiona Perez at Plantlife at fiona.perez@plantlife.org.uk.

5. West of England B-Lines update

The West of England B-Lines project is transforming habitat for pollinators across the West of England, including in urban Bristol. The first 18 months of the project has proven to be a great success! Between April 2014 and September 2015 the project has restored and created over 110 hectares of wildflower-rich habitat, providing important areas for our pollinating insects to forage, nest, shelter and over-winter. Avon Wildlife Trusts Grassland Restoration Team volunteers have put in an amazing 533 days of their time, undertaking a wide range of conservation tasks including scrub management, grassland cutting, seed collecting and sowing. Buglife and Avon Wildlife Trust would like to thank project funders, partners, supporters, landowners, communities and all those who have engaged in the project so far. Thanks to further funding from Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust the project is able to continue delivering habitat improvements on the ground to benefit wildlife and communities.

6. St George in Bloom selected as national finalist

St George in Bloom was the first community group to take up the Get Bristol Buzzing challenge and incorporate planting for pollinators into their planting schemes in 2015. Not only did they win a Gold Pennant award and also trophy for Best Urban Community entry in 2015, St. George in Bloom has been selected by the Royal Horticultural Society to be a national finalist to represent the St George area of Bristol and the entire South West region as an urban entry in the RHS national competition in 2016. Many congratulations to all involved and to find out more about St George in Bloom please visit the website.

Tell us your pollinator news!

Do you have any news about activities you have been involved in in 2015 or upcoming events in 2016 to add to the next Get Bristol Buzzing newsletter? If so please send a short paragraph (max 200 words) and a photograph if possible to urban-pollinators@bristol.ac.uk before 10th January 2016.

SEPTEMBER 2015

1. Green Treasure Hunt highlights pollinating insects

On 1st August a ‘Green Treasure Hunt’ around Bishopston, Cotham and Redland was launched as part of the Bristol Green Capital Neighbourhood Arts Programme. The trail takes you on a journey of discovery through treasured green spaces and independent shopping delights, woven through the quiet backstreets of the neighbourhoods. It is linked together via five ‘street pockets’ designed to inspire participants on green issues and 10 hidden art works en-route. The Nature-themed street pocket is a Mazda X5 sports car adorned with pollinator-friendly flowers to highlight the importance of pollinating insects for everyday life.

Do visit the Nature street pocket on the corner of Cotham Hill and Hampton Park and go to www.greentreasure.net to find a map of the whole route. A huge thank you to Cleeve Nursery for the beautiful pollinator-friendly flowers and planting assistance.

2. Mini-meadows brighten up Bristol streets

Bristol City Council have been growing up mini-meadows in planters and have recently distributed these around the city to brighten up the city streets including Queens Road and the Bear Pit — keep an eye out and let us know if you find any!

3. Getting St George Buzzing

Residents in Kensington Road, St George, Bristol have been busy enhancing the street and have planted pollinator friendly plants. These have been located around the 14 street trees, and all the residents have also set up colourful window boxes, hanging baskets and containers in their small front gardens. Kathryn Lwin, Founder and Director of River of Flowers, visited the street earlier this year to give advice, and she also produced a street planting plan. The residents were given a generous sponsorship donation from Natracare Ltd, and this enabled them to purchase the plants and complete the project. Grenville Johnson Chair of the residents group and Chair of St. George in Bloom commented ‘There has been a significant increase in the numbers of pollinating insects that are visiting the street. The street is really buzzing! ’St George in Bloom have been the first community group to take up the Get Bristol Buzzing challenge. For more information visit their website at: www.stgeorgeinbloom.org.uk

4. Bristol selected for Defra research on pollinators

On 4th August Bristol residents gathered at Bristol East Allotments Association headquarters in St George for a pollinator-themed creativity workshop. This was held as part of a Defra research project that is exploring the social and cultural values of pollinators. The process used meditative walks through the allotments, discussion, visual art and the creation of short movement texts to help explore in depth the many ways that we can value and appreciate pollinators. The stunning setting at this allotment site together with spectacular views over the city of Bristol proved to be a stimulating and inspiring venue for all the attendees, and this was a successful and enjoyable day.

West of England B-Lines in Bristol

Buglife and Avon Wildlife Trust are working with project partner Bristol City Council to restore wildflower-rich habitats on two of their sites within the West of England B-Lines network in the Hengrove area of the Bristol — Hawkfield Meadow and Hengrove Mounds. Earlier this year contractors installed a gate and cleared an existing pathway to allow machinery access to Hawkfield Meadow. This grassland will now be cut on an annual basis which will help to improve the diversity of the sword.

Later this month AWTs Grassland Restoration Team and My Wild City volunteers will be meeting at nearby Hengrove Mounds to cut areas of the grassland which have become quite rank, with a dense thatch of vegetation forming underneath. Using traditional management methods such as scything we will cut the grassland and remove the cut material to a compost area. Again this is intended to improve the floral diversity of the grassland for the benefit of pollinating insects, other wildlife and those who visit the site.