Bumblebee Conservation Trust AGM 2017

The last time I saw Gill Perkins was in 2012. We were attending the launch of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s Bees for Everyone campaign in London. Gill had organised the launch. I had been commissioned to perform at it.

With Gill Perkins, who organised the London launch of Bees for Everyone

With Gill Perkins, who organised the London launch of the BBCT’s Bees for Everyone

Fast forward five years, and Gill is now the Head Honcho of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, which this year held its AGM in my home town of York. Gill was Head Honcho-ing the AGM, and I was performing at it. So our paths crossed again.

With Gil Perkins, BBCT CEO, at the BBCT 2017 AGM in York

With Gill Perkins, BBCT CEO, at the BBCT 2017 AGM in York

What I take from these two encounters (apart from the fact that my hair has grown more than hers in the interim) is that wardrobe-wise, Gill and I seem to have an uncanny knack of choosing similar colours/degrees of stripy-ness for BBCT events.

More importantly, what I take from these two encounters is how wonderful Gill, and all the BBCT staff, are. If you’re not already a member of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, then why not?! Join here and now! They are a fabulous organisation doing vital work – innovatively and with passion. And they are small enough for individuals (both staff and members) to matter and count. Something that was very evident at the AGM.

Now perhaps your heart leaps at the prospect of attending an AGM, but when I think ‘AGM’, the first words that come to my mind are: ‘dull as dishwater’. What I hadn’t realised is that the BBCT AGM is actually more of a Members’ Day, packed with fascinating talks about BBCT research and projects. Oh, and this year, a performance from yours truly too.

On the one hand, the decline in bumblebee numbers – as outlined/alluded to/quantified by speaker after speaker – is deeply depressing and worrying. But on the other hand, the work the BBCT is doing to try to remedy this, with farmers/landowners, school children, members of the public and policymakers, is very inspiring. I was particularly taken with their ‘polli:lab’ project, which will take bumblebee science into secondary schools. I wish a polli:lab had visited my school when I was a lass!

Speakers at the event were: Prof. Pete Hollingsworth, Gill Perkins, Dr Richard Comont, Sally Cuckney (doing fabulous work Pollinating the Peak), Helen Dickinson, Dr Kate Ashbrook, Sinead Lynch, Lucy Witter, Hope Moran, Steven Falk, Judith Conroy (check out their fabulous Blooms for Bees app) and Stuart Roberts. Particularly inspiring were the young student speakers. Hope for the future!

Whether I was inspiring or not is not for me to say. However, I can say that my poetic interlude provided a slight change in tone. Here’s a snippet of what I got up to:

That poem is from my Buzzing! book, that the Bumblebee Conservation Trust wrote the Foreword to. As is this poem, too (though replace the word ‘hive’ with ‘nest’ – a slip of the tongue in the heat of the moment):

Thank you to award-winning BBCT volunteer Dylan for manning my camcorder for these clips. And to Gill for joining in the show.

So, go forth and join the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (who, incidentally, wrote the Foreword to my book Buzzing!) They are doing vitally important work – and they want you to join in with it. Your life will be enriched as a result!

Oh, and if you’d like me to come and perform at your AGM (I have form when it comes to AGMs …) or other event, then just get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

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Pizza and Poetry Party

Catherine Bamford, Volunteer Manager at York Blind and Partially Sighted Society (YBPSS), is full of bright ideas! I know this from her days working at St Nicks. (Here are some of the things she and I got up to together then.) One of her latest bright ideas was to put on a Pizza and Poetry Party for YBPSS volunteers as part of Volunteers’ Week, which started yesterday. And guess who she asked to put on the ‘poetry’ part of the party. Yes, yours truly.

My remit was to put on an event that would result in the participants creating a poem that YBPSS could display. As it was a Pizza and Poetry Party, I came up with the idea of their creating Poetry Pizzas, to complement the pizzas we were going to eat.

Putting on the 'Poetry' part of our 'Pizza and Poetry Party' at YBPSS

Putting on the ‘Poetry’ part of our ‘Pizza and Poetry Party’ at YBPSS

The participants were a varied bunch, some fully sighted, some visually impaired, and included volunteers, a trustee and the Chief Officer herself!

I was really impressed by how they all threw themselves into our poetry workshop, and came up with poems that shone a light on the fabulous work they all do for and with blind and partially sighted people in York.

Some of their poems made us all chuckle. Some brought tears to my eyes. All went onto our poetry pizzas – which you can see in the photo below.

With some of the participants and their Poetry Pizzas

With some of the YBPSS participants and their Poetry Pizzas

Thank you to everyone who took part. It was a great pleasure meeting you all. And a privilege finding out about the volunteering work you do, making a difference to the lives of the – surprisingly large number of – people with visual impairments in York.

(Oh, and thank you for the pizzas – and cake! – which were all very delicious!)

If you fancy volunteering for YBPSS, contact Volunteer Manager Catherine on 01904 636269 or volunteermanager@ybpss.org.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Let me edu-tain you!

STOP PRESS: My book Flying High! is shortlisted for the York Culture Awards 2017

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Welcome to theBigBuzz, home of poet and performer Anneliese Emmans Dean. Let me edu-tain you with my award winning:

and my acclaimed:

I’m all about promoting learning through laughter, rhythm and rhyme, wellbeing through words and sustainability through creativity. So whether you’re a primary school looking for a poet or photographer to visit, a theatre or festival looking for an edu-taining family show, a club looking for an edu-taining after-dinner speaker, or a parent looking for a photography workshop to give your child as a present, then just get in touch, and I’ll see how I can help.

Mooch around this site, read the feedback (from schools and from events) and scroll down through the blog posts below to learn more.

And to find out where you can see a show or take part in a workshop, click here.

Anneliese Emmans Dean

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Performing at Le Moulin Rouge

Well, I never thought when I started up theBigBuzz back in 2007 that I would end up performing at Le Moulin Rouge in the company of Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Ant and Dec. But that’s exactly what happened this Yorkshire Day (= 1st August, for the uninitiated!)

Perhaps I need to unpack that a little. Le Moulin Rouge in question was a fantastic Spiegeltent temporarily erected in the centre of my home town York, as part of The Great Yorkshire Fringe Festival.

Le Moulin Rouge (The York spiegeltent version!)

Le Moulin Rouge (The York spiegeltent version!)

And Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Ant and Dec were in fact present in the guise of face masks only, aka local volunteers judging the Yorkshire’s Got Talent portion of the day’s events. (And boy, has Yorkshire ever got talent! The contestants all sang amazingly!)

Simon Cowell (almost)

Simon Cowell (almost)

What was the day? Well, it was the family part of the Yorkshire Day Festival, a whole day and night’s worth of acts performing to raise money for the Lord Mayor’s charities, one of which is St Nicks (of which I am a Patron).

It was fabulous to watch so many other talented acts over the course of the day – and in such an amazing performance space.

Ukelele Sunshine Revival performing in Le Moulin Rouge

Ukelele Sunshine Revival performing in Le Moulin Rouge

My contribution to the day was an edu-taining ‘Birds and the Bees’ poetry show. I’m pleased to say the feedback was great – including this on the day:

‘The Birds and The Bees act was very good. My granddaughter loved it and was up on stage holding up drawings. Very good day indeed.’

and this from @FamiliesYork on Twitter:

‘Loved it. Anneliese was amazing of on

Can’t ask for more than that!

I hope that much money was raised for the Lord Mayor’s charities. And that the families who came along were inspired by my portion of the day to do plenty of minibeast hunting and birding over the summer holidays.

Thank you to the friendly and professional crew at the venue who were a great help to us all. And to Emma Courtney of The Social Octopus and Kellie Taylor for organising the event.

The Moulin Rouge crew in action

The Moulin Rouge crew in action

If you’d like some ‘amazing’ eco-edutainment at your event, just get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans Dean theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

AGM – with attitude!

Let’s face it, an AGM can be a little … lacking in pizzazz. However worthy the organisation. And Edible York, the organisation holding its AGM last night, is a *very* worthy organisation. It’s a ‘lively local charity that aims to support people to become closer to the food they eat’. Take a look at what they get up to here.

To counter the ‘lack-of-pizzazz’-ness of the evening, Edible York invited me to come and perform for them, after the formalities of the agenda were over. So I did just that. A set of poems all about what they get up to, which is growing fruit and veg.

Entertaining at the Edible York AGM

Entertaining at the Edible York AGM

How did it go down? Here’s what one  attendee tweeted afterwards:

‘Spectacular performance poetry this eve from the ever effervescent Anneliese’

Edu-taining at the Edible York AGM

Where would we be without bumblebees? Edu-taining at the Edible York AGM

And another comment:

‘I loved the way you tied everything together with merry words and buzzing characterisations. It made our AGM such a happy, memorable event!!’

Adding to the festive atmosphere was Tim Pheby playing and singing some beautiful songs (and updating us on the England v Slovakia game).

An excellent way to spend a June evening.

If you dig digging, then Edible York are always looking for new volunteers! They’ve recently produced an excellent ‘Guide to Community Growing‘ which you might find inspires you further. You can download a copy here.

And finally … if you’d me to come and pep up your AGM, then get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans DeanBringing poetry to life – theBigBuzz.biz

 

Happy World Poetry Day 2016!

For great cartoons of all the poets who performed at this York Literature Festival poetry feast, go to Sam Zuppardi’s blog: https://brushingup.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/york-literature-festival-programme-launch/ (Scroll right down to the bottom for his cartoon of me performing this very poem!)

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

The WOW Factor

If you thought The X Factor was exciting, you should have been at the Grand Final of The P Factor in Malton on Friday. It was amazing!

The P Factor is part of the Ryedale Book Festival, and is the brilliant brainchild of award-winning Ryedale-based author Andy Seed. The idea is to get children across Ryedale learning and performing poems (of their own choosing). The early rounds of the competition are held in the schools themselves, then the winning group from each school comes to Malton to perform at The Grand Final.

Teams from 11 Ryedale primary schools turned out to perform this year. I was one of the four Grand Final judges, along with fellow poets Messers John Hegley, Steve Nash and Andy Seed, all of whom performed for the children in the morning.

The 2015 P Factor judges - Steven Nash, Andy Seed, me and John Hegley

The 2015 P Factor judges – Steven Nash, Andy Seed, me and John Hegley

Then, come the afternoon, we had the great privilege of watching teams from all 11 schools perform a huge variety of poems, from funny ones to frightening ones, silly ones to sad ones. Dressed up and armed with a wide variety of props, the children all shone as they performed their poems on stage, under bright lights, to an audience of nearly 300.

The children came from the following schools: Terrington St Mary’sSt Joseph’sSt Benedict’sSettringtonNortonLangtonKirkbymoorsideGillamoorFostonAmotherby. And I’d like to congratulate every single participant from every single one of those schools. You were fantastic!

However, we had to choose a winner. Not easy! But our unanimous decision was that the runners-up were Amotherby Primary School, and the winners were … Kirkbymoorside Primary School, with a fabulous multi-media performance of Michael Rosen’s ‘End of the World’ that included an erupting volcano. You can see pictures of the Year 4 winners in a reprise of their performance on the school’s website.

The winning team was presented with medals and a cup by none other than the Mayor of Malton:

The Mayor of Malton, Cllr Joan Lawrence, at the 2015 P Factor Grand Final.

The Mayor of Malton, Cllr Joan Lawrence, at the 2015 P Factor Grand Final.

The Very Great John Hegley declared the day to have been ‘better than the X Factor’. And who am I to disagree?

The 2015 P Factor Winners from Kirkbymoorside Primary School, getting ready to go home after their triumphant performance.

The 2015 P Factor Winners from Kirkbymoorside Primary School, getting ready to go home after their triumphant performance.

Thank you to all the pupils, parents and teachers who put so much work into this competition. It was all well, well worthwhile. And thank you to Andy Seed and Sarah Tyson of Ryedale Book Festival for making the competition happen.

If you’re a Ryedale primary school and would like to take part in next year’s P Factor, then email Ryedale Book Festival.

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life