Posted 8th Apr 2014
A country walk on a summer day is pretty unbeatable. With the sweet scent of flowers and the gentle hum of the birds and the bees, it is the perfect time to be outdoors. But, this year the Bumblebee Conservation Trust is asking people not just to ramble around the countryside, instead they are inviting everyone to help them by monitoring the bumblebee population in a national census across the whole of the UK
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is a British charity that was established because of serious concerns about the ‘plight of the bumblebee'. In the last 80 years the bumblebee populations have crashed, and two species have become extinct in the UK, meaning their work is more crucial than ever.
Bumblebees are an essential part of the countryside, responsible for pollinating our crops and wildflowers and ensuring the food that we need can grow and be harvested. It is a little known fact that without bumblebees, fruits such as tomatoes, apples and strawberries would simply cease to exist.
BeeWalks are simple and fun, and offer an educational experience for the whole family to get involved with. By either attending a guided walk or even by creating your own route and recording the bumblebees seen in your area, you can help the Bumblebee Conservation Trust monitor how the bumblebee population is changing.
To find out how to get involved in creating your own Bumblebee walk route or where you can join in on one of the many guided trips set up for families across the country, simply visit www.bumblebeeconservation.org. Full information on what to look out for when launching your own walk is also available.
Becoming a BeeWalker
Anyone can become a BeeWalker – all you need is a spare hour or so every month to walk a fixed route of about a mile (you choose where it goes) and send the Bumblebee Conservation Trust your sightings.
It is essential that the route is fixed to allow direct comparisons of bumblebee population trends over time.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust will help as much as possible with identification. They've got resources online and a website – BeeWatch – that photographs can be uploaded to.
Information collected by BeeWalk volunteers is integral to monitoring how bumblebee populations change through time, and will allow the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to detect early warning signs of population declines.