We have won an award for our bees project

We have won an award for our bees project

2022-04-04 Off By Editor

We’re buzzing (sorry) with news that we’re one of just 21 groups in the UK to have been selected as a winner of the 2021 Bees’ Needs Champions Award from the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). 

The awards recognise and celebrate initiatives to support pollinators.

We won the award for our inspired bees project and seed planting, led by our treasurer, Lois. You may have seen the seeds noticeboard when it appeared, offering seeds for plants we know bees love. The whole project was developed and built with help from local children.

The bee board!

Why bees matter

Everyone, we think knows how important bees are, and how they are under threat because of changing agricultural methods, landscape change, pollution and more.

Yet these small creatures help pollinate wildflowers and huge quantities of our food – tomatoes, peas, apples, strawberries to name just four. An estimated third of all human food is dependent on the pollination bees and other pollinators provide.

The value of these insects isn’t just about pollination and natural diversity – it makes solid economic sense to support them. The World Economic Forum estimates the annual economic value of pollinators at $235-577 billion per year. Bees really, really matter.

What we’ve been trying to do

One of the things we have been trying to do since we began is to make Wray Crescent park a better environment for pollinators.

That’s why we’ve planted wildflowers and continue to create small, discreet spaces in which insect life may thrive. We hope anyone who lives locally is seeing the benefits of this work, while for us the chance to show nature in action is a reward everyone in our community can share.

All about the bees project

For our bees project, we put a large seed board in place just near the children’s playground, opposite the open space in our park. People were invited to take the seeds and plant them. We also invited local children to create images to show how important bees are – as you can see in the images we have here.

The idea was to show everyone in our community how important bees are, while also giving children the chance to learn this and put that knowledge into practise in an active way.

We know that ideas stick if you get to use them.

DEFRA learned about our project and that’s why we were selected for an award.

‘Particularly impressive’

In a statement, government minister, Rebecca Pow MP, said the competition secured such a great range of responses that judging it was “really challenging”.

With that in mind we are thrilled to have been one of the small number of groups to have won this award in the Local Authority and Community category. After all, we know that even the youngest humans who live in Islington, which is the borough with the least green space in the whole country, understand the value of natural diversity and the need for bees to feed the food chain.

The judges told us:

“The judging panel was very impressed by the calibre of the applications, but yours stood out as being particularly impressive.”

You can look at all the winners for the competition, which was run by Defra and Keep Britain Tidy here. Here’s the letter we received letting us know about the win.

“I would like to offer you my sincere congratulations for being one of our Bees’ Needs Awards Champions for 2021. On behalf of Defra as a whole, we are grateful for the exceptional work that you have done to help pollinators survive and thrive throughout the country. 

“As a token of our gratitude, we are sending you a plaque as a celebration of your great work, and to commemorate your achievement. 

“The UK’s 1,500 species of pollinators play such a crucial role in all of our lives, helping flowers, fruit trees and crops to grow, and contributing around half a billion pounds a year of value to UK agriculture. Not only this, but they are also beautiful creatures that we value in their own right. 

“I was particularly impressed by your seed exchange idea, and how you have inspired young people to develop the Children’s Garden, and form the Young Friends of Wray Crescent Open Space. 

“We know that it is critical that we act now, internationally and at home, to ensure that we leave our environment in a better state for future generations. Your successful work has played a vital role in making this happen. 

“Pollinators are a priority for this government, and we are taking action alongside many partners to implement the provisions of the National Pollinator Strategy. This includes restoring and creating habitat for wild and managed pollinators, and raising awareness across society. Your valuable action will doubtless inspire others to learn more about the importance of pollinators, and take their own steps to help them thrive. 

“Thank you again for playing your part for pollinators, and congratulations on your brilliant work.”

We’ll file this award alongside our Green Flag award for the work we’ve done to try to make the park a good place for everyone. If you’d like to support our work, please donate here.