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South Ayrshire schools are buzzing in the battle to save Britain's bees

 15 June 2016  |  


Children at Girvan Primary are just some of those taking part in the UK-wide ‘Polli:Nation’ programme

Children at Girvan Primary are just some of those taking part in the UK-wide ‘Polli:Nation’ programme

A group of children from South Ayrshire have been hand-picked to help protect the dwindling population of Britain's bees and other pollinating insects. Four primary schools have been chosen as part of 260 schools across the UK to take part in the environmental 'Polli:Nation' programme.

Girvan, Ballantrae and Barr Primaries, along with Invergarven School, have been chosen as part of 260 schools across the UK to take part in the 'Polli:Nation' programme, which aims to transform outdoor spaces to become pollinator-friendly habitats, with the support of the national school grounds charity, Learning through Landscapes.

In the next three years, each of the schools will be supported by Learning through Landscapes - the national school grounds charity responsible for the project. Linking to the National Pollinator Strategy, schools will now explore how they might:

  • Grow more flowers, shrubs & trees
  • Let it grow wild
  • Cut grass less often
  • Don't disturb insect nests and hibernation spots
  • Think carefully about whether to use pesticides

Once the project is underway, the schools will also have the opportunity to contribute vital data in a UK-wide pollinator survey from OPAL Imperial College London. The children, teachers and members of the community will be equipped with all of the necessary tools and skills to help scientists to develop an accurate understanding of the current state of the habitats for Britain's pollinating insects, and the potential to develop these further.

Douglas Hutchison, South Ayrshire Council's Director of Educational Services, gave the news a warm welcome, "Making the most of our environment goes right to the heart of what we do and this project is an ideal fit with our wider work.

"I'm proud of the schools for the hard work they've put into this project and I look forward to seeing the programme flourish in the coming years."

Sarah Blackie, teacher at Girvan Primary school, said the project was a fantastic opportunity for the children, "We're thrilled to be a part of this project and honoured to be making a contribution to such important research.

"The programme will offer children a fantastic opportunity to develop their own environment to aid the declining population of pollinators including the humble bumble bee.

"It will also provide the perfect platform to consider our environment on a global scale, while also involving members of the local community."

Organisers at Polli:Nation said they were impressed with the schools' joint application which demonstrated their plans of action, the strength of their commitment to the project, and the quality of collaboration, both with each other and the wider community. The application was reviewed and selected as an exceptional submission, resulting in their involvement in the programme.

David Hodd, the Project Manager of Learning through Landscapes explains, "It's critical that we address the declining numbers of pollinating insects in Britain, and the support of schools and communities in Carrick will certainly contribute to the overall success of the Polli:Nation programme. We look forward to seeing the final results of the school's projects."

The Polli:Nation project has been developed by Learning through Landscapes in association with sector partners The Field Studies Council, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation, OPAL Imperial College London, Stirling University, Bumblebee Conservation Trust and The Conservation Volunteers.

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