It’s not often I find myself edu-taining the Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries (Richard Benyon MP) and the Scottish Environment Minister (Stewart Stevenson MSP) about the importance of bumblebees, but that’s exactly what I was doing last week, at the national launches of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust‘s ‘Bees for Everyone’ project.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) had commissioned me to write ‘a political poem about bumblebees’ for these launch events. I performed the poem with the able assistance of deely-bob-clad schoolchildren. (Video to follow …)
The London launch took place at Battersea Arts Centre, whose entrance is decorated with beautiful bee mosaics!
The children assisting me were from Stoneydown Park Primary School – all prize-winners from the BBCT’s bumblebee art competition. Their prize included copies of my newly published Buzzing! book – with a Foreword by the BBCT’s CEO Dr Ben Darvill – for their school library. (The copies kindly donated by my publisher, Brambleby Books.)
Take a look at some of the children’s wonderful bee pictures:
The Edinburgh launch was at the stunning (and gorgeously sunny) Royal Botanic Garden (where I had performed my Buzzing! show a couple of years back as part of the Edinburgh Fringe). The children at this launch were from Duddingston Primary School in Edinburgh, and they had also taken part in a bumblebee art competition:
These children were also presented with a copy of my Buzzing! book - by the Scottish Environment Minister …
… and Scottish tv’s Beechgrove Garden presenter, George Anderson.
The Edinburgh launch also featured rather fabulous bee cakes and buns, created and donated by Edinburgh Cakes.
The great and the good were at both these launches, during which the Bumblebee Conservation Trust introduced their new ‘Bee Kind’ app. Go take a look – it’s a great way of making sure you have the very best selection of flowers in your garden to attract bumblebees through the year.
And in case you were wondering why you should bother about bumblebee numbers – bear in mind that 84% of our crops are pollinated by insects, including bumblebees. (A point I made in a slightly more entertaining way in my poem. Watch out for the video …)
Many thanks to everyone from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust for inviting me to be part of their launch events, especially to CEO Dr Ben Darvill for commissioning a poem from me and seeing its potential, to Gill Perkins who organised the London launch, and to Linda Evans who organised the Edinburgh launch. Thank you too to all the schoolchildren who joined in my poem with such gusto – and to the staff who chaperoned them.
I wish the BBCT the very best of luck with their vitally important Bees for Everyone campaign.