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. As you can see, I performed the poem with the able assistance of deely-bob-clad schoolchildren.
Richard Benyon MP, Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries, helping to launch the BBCT’s Bees for Everyone project
The London launch took place at Battersea Arts Centre, whose entrance is decorated with beautiful bee mosaics!
Bee mosaic at Battersea Arts Centre
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.)
Me with one of the prize-winning children and his copy of my Buzzing! book
Take a look at some of the children’s wonderful bee pictures:
Prize-winning bumblebee 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:
Edinburgh prize-winning bumblebee pictures, by Duddingston Primary School pupils
These children were also presented with a copy of my Buzzing! book – by the Scottish Environment Minister …
With Scottish Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson MSP, presenting a copy of my Buzzing! book to a young bumblebee artist
… and Scottish tv’s Beechgrove Garden presenter, George Anderson.
Scottish Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson and tv’s George Anderson presenting my Buzzing! book to Duddingston Primary pupils
The Edinburgh launch also featured rather fabulous bee cakes and buns, created and donated by Edinburgh Cakes.
Fabulous bumblebee cake and buns
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.
Professor Michael Usher OBE, FRSE, Chair of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, launching the Bees for Everyone project
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 tried to make in a slightly more entertaining way in my poem, as you’ll see in the video above.)
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.
With Gill Perkins, who organised the London launch of Bees for Everyone
Anneliese Emmans Dean – info@theBigBuzz.biz – www.theBigBuzz.biz