CI Co-operative Society Plan Bee launched at Castel Primary School

June 7th, 2013 by The Channel Islands Co-operative Society Limited

Castel Primary School pupils planting wildflower seeds to launch Plan Bee with the Channel Islands Co-operative Society Limited (click image to expand - image courtesy of the Channel Islands Co-operative Society Ltd)

Castel Primary School pupils planted bee friendly wildflower seeds to launch the Channel Islands Co-operative Society Limited Plan Bee (click image to expand – image courtesy of The Channel Islands Co-operative Society Ltd)

The Channel Islands Co-operative Society has launched its Plan Bee project in the Channel Islands at Castel Primary School, following the success of the initiative in 2012.

Colin Macleod, The Channel Islands Co-operative Society’s Chief Executive, and Geraldine Silk, of the Guernsey Bee Keepers’ Association, joined pupils at Castel Primary School to educate them on the plight of the honeybee, and to plant wildflower seeds to encourage bees into the school’s outdoor woodland classroom.

The initiative was set up to help, support and expand the Channel Islands’ struggling bee population.

Primary schools across Jersey and Guernsey have received 1,200 information leaflets and packets of wildflower seeds which, when planted, will help to feed the bee populations of both islands.

Globally, it is estimated that bees pollinate a third of the food we eat, so without them there are many foods that wouldn’t be available.

Pollination carried out by bees is vital for many trees and plants, including those that produce fruits and vegetables.

Without bees we would not have apples, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, celery, cucumbers, onions and chocolate (cocoa) to name a few.

In Guernsey it is even more important to help and support a healthy honeybee population so that the island’s arable crops and garden soft fruits are pollinated.

In 2009, Jersey’s bees were struck down with a destructive disease, American Foulbrood, causing the loss of around one third of the island’s bee population.

Luckily Guernsey’s bee population has not suffered the same fate, but the long winter has caused bees to wake up later in the year and is impacting the island’s honey crops and pollination.

In the last few years, the Guernsey Beekeepers’ Association has seen its membership increase as beekeeping continues to be a popular hobby for islanders.

Geraldine Silk joined Colin Macleod at Castel Primary School on Monday 3 June 2013 to talk about what the pupils could do to help restore the bee population.

Mrs Silk and Mr Macleod then helped the students in their outdoor woodland classroom to plant the wildflower seeds provided by the Channel Islands Co-operative Society.

Mrs Silk said “maintaining a strong and healthy bee population is so crucial to ensuring the well-being of our local ecosystem.”

“The long, cold winter and snow have meant the bees have only just started coming out and about as they usually would in spring.”

Castel Primary School pupils Harry Gent and Megan Digard participate in The Channel Islands Co-operative Society Ltd Plan Bee launch (click image to expand - image courtesy of The Channel Islands Co-operative Society Ltd.)

Castel Primary School pupils Harry Gent and Megan Digard participate in The Channel Islands Co-operative Society Ltd Plan Bee launch (click image to expand – image courtesy of The Channel Islands Co-operative Society Ltd.)

“By taking a few small actions, such as planting wildflowers, islanders can really make a difference and help the bee population in Guernsey,” she said.

Mr Colin Macleod said “bees are so important for local produce and the pupils seemed genuinely fascinated by the subject.”

“Last year’s Plan Bee project was a tremendous success and we hope that all primary schools will get involved after receiving the more than 1,000 packets of wildflower seeds sent out across the Channel Islands,” he said.

Plan Bee is part of national campaign, which The Co-operative established in the UK in 2009, with the aim of addressing the decline in pollinators such as bees, butterflies and moths.

There are ways all gardeners can help their local bee population:

  • Plant wildflowers as these provide a good range of pollen and nectar. Bees need a healthy and varied diet. These can be scattered in a small area of the garden.
  • Select plants, which carry the “bee friendly” symbol. The distinctive yellow “Bee Friendly” logo will help you choose plants that are particularly beneficial to bees (and other insects). Although this symbol is relatively new, local garden centres will increasingly stock these.
  • Encourage the planting of trees – horse chestnut, sweet chestnut, maple and sycamore all provide nectar. Oak trees are great producers of pollen.

 

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