Children helping to take the sting out of bee decline

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FARMERS and schoolchildren in North Yorkshire are being urged to help fight the decline in the county’s bee population.

A task group has been set up to explore the problem and find ways of providing more and better habitats for bees to help halt the decline, with schools across the county encouraged to get involved.

David Bowe, North Yorkshire County Council’s director of business services, says in a report going before the authority’s transport, economy and environment scrutiny committee tomorrow: “Conservation of biodiversity is vital in our response to climate change and in delivering 
key ecosystem services such 
as food, flood management, 
pollination and clean air and water.”

Now, the local authority is working with schools, showing children how they can help create bee-friendly habitats in their school grounds.

Eleven schools have been taking part in an initial experiment, with children planting flowers, stepping up their involvement in fruit and vegetable growing and being involved in cornfield flower projects to provide wildflower habitats for the bees.

Wildlife corridors have also been provided, Mr Bowe says in his report, which also tells how new habitats and more wildflower growing is underway in school grounds.

Council staff are helping children to provide bird and bat boxes, planting shrub-producing berries.

A brochure has been produced to encourage other schools to get involved.

Meanwhile tenant farmers of the council’s countryside services department, are also being urged to help to promote bee and other wildlife friendly options, the report says.

The charity Buglife has set up a project to create corridors of high-quality wildflower habitats for bees and other pollinating insects and is piloting the project in the county.

The organisation has been awarded a grant of £110,000 from the landfill tax body SITA Trust to restore 30 hectares of grassland over six miles south and west of the market town of Malton.