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School Children Help the Plight of the Bumblebee

Schoolchildren from across the North Pennines have been as busy as bees in a bid to help one of the nation’s favourite and endangered pollinators.

Pupils from primary schools in Forest-of-Teesdale in County Durham, Rookhope and Stanhope in Weardale and Brough in Cumbria have spent the last year learning about the plight of our bumblebees and taking steps to help them thrive.

Forest-of-Teesdale School

Pupils from Forest-of-Teesdale School

The initiative is part of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership’s Nectarworks programme, which is a three-year HLF funded project created to enthuse, educate and enable communities to help bumblebees by restoring and creating flower-rich habitats throughout the area.

Children from all four schools have undertaken a range of educational activities including making foods using ingredients that rely on pollination, looking at bee lifecycles, creating art and establishing their own nectar gardens.

Mandy Oliver, Nectarworks Community Officer, said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the children over the past year, and they seem to have really enjoyed themselves, too, which is the most important thing.

“There is something about bees that captures children’s imaginations. They’ve been very enthusiastic and have really enjoyed learning about them. Which isn’t surprising, they are fascinating little creatures.”

The fruits of the children’s labour are already starting to appear in their nectar gardens, with fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs flourishing.

Mandy said: “One of the major things we teach the children is how important bees are for the production of a lot of our food. They understand when you tell them that without bees we wouldn’t be able to grow tomatoes and strawberries, but when you transfer that to not being able to have tomato ketchup and strawberry ice-cream, it really brings it home.”

Working with schools is just one element of the AONB Partnership’s Nectarworks programme. The project is also working with smallholders to look after the best remaining meadows and create new ones, collecting seeds to preserve threatened species for the future and taking surveys of flower-rich banks throughout the North Pennines.

North Pennines

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