Pollinating insects, such as bees and butterflies, are in decline across the UK. These insects are homeless and hungry, suffering from a lack of places to nest and feed. To help reverse this trend, schools, community groups and individuals across the UK are being encouraged to make improvements to their outdoor spaces to make them friendlier for pollinators, and to take part in a new national pollinator survey, supported thanks to National Lottery players.
The Polli:Nation survey -created by the Open Air Laboratories Network (OPAL), is being launched this week to help people measure the impact of habitat improvements on pollinators. Everyone is encouraged to:
· Survey their outdoor space using the new OPAL Polli:Nation survey
· Make improvements for pollinators to their outdoor space
· Re-survey their outdoor space to see the impacts the improvements have had.
The survey, part of the UK-wide Polli:Nation project which is funded by the Heritage Lottery fund and is led by Learning through Landscapes, has been developed by a consortium of concerned conservation organisations including OPAL Imperial College London, The Field Studies Council, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation, Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Naturalist, broadcaster and patron of the charity, Learning through Landscapes, Sir David Attenborough recently showed his support for the project and its survey explaining, “I am delighted that the Learning through Landscapes project, ‘Polli:Nation’- has been given funding support by the Heritage Lottery Fund and I am looking forward to seeing thousands of school children gaining an understanding of pollinator species and their essential role in our world today. Pollination is a vital support system and without it we could not exist – this is very important work indeed."
David Slawson, Director of OPAL, adds, “Everyone is concerned that our bees, butterflies and other pollinators are struggling but often we don’t know how to help. This survey gives everyone – schools, families, scout or brownie groups – a fun way to survey their local patch, learn about and protect pollinating insects and their places they live, and become scientists for a day”.
The data collected through the Polli:Nation survey will be used to aid research on the health and status of pollinating insects across the UK.
Free survey resources can be downloaded at www.opalexplorenature.org/polli-nation and results can be submitted either online or by post.