The Bumble Bee Conservation Trust is leading an exciting new project with landowners here in the Glynn Valley. These include Trewithen Dairy, The Duchy of Cornwall, The Duchy of Cornwall Nurseries, The National Trust in collaboration with the University of Exeter and it’s hoped this will be the blueprint for more projects like this.
Pollinating the Fowey Valley’ is its working title and the purpose is to primarily safeguard declining wild bee populations which are bumblebees and solitary bees. The project aims to restore habitats and link isolated populations, through the creation of flower-rich ‘stepping stones’ and habitat corridors throughout the Fowey Valley and beyond.
At its core is a computer program called ‘BEE-STEWARD’ which has been developed by a team of researchers at the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute. Researcher Dr Grace Twiston-Davies explains: “BEE-STEWARD is designed to predict how well your landscape is faring in terms of bee survival and compares the benefits of creating new habitat in different areas to help pollinators establish colonies and thrive.”
The group includes a charity, a commercial company, scientists and a number of landowners, creating all the ingredients to establish a strong project. As the landowners are all neighbours, the Bee Steward computer program will be able to map a corridor of land, which takes in most of the Fowey Valley from Bodmin Moor, all the way to the Fowey Estuary. This will be the first project of its kind in the UK.
It’s a wonderful initiative which benefits our farmers, our cows and the environment, as well as our native bees.