The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced support for the UK-wide biodiversity project - Polli:Nation, a programme which supports schools in helping to protect the future of our seriously dwindling bee population.
The Polli:Nation project, developed by the school grounds charity, Learning through Landscapes, will receive the initial support of £26,000 to develop this £1.3m project.
'Free' pollination by bees and other insects is worth over £400m** to UK agriculture each year but their numbers are in severe decline. This innovative project will engage 260 schools to help transform their grounds into pollinator-friendly habitats.
Data recording will monitor any changes in species diversity and numbers. A key driver is to increase awareness of nature and particularly insects. A network of young enthusiasts in the 260 schools will help by spreading knowledge and creating green 'stepping stones' such as bug hotels and bee houses to enable insects to move with ease between different areas.
All schools in the UK will be able to apply to participate in the programme, which will be delivered by Learning through Landscapes and will enable teachers, children and volunteers to be trained to make the necessary changes to their school grounds to create habitats. They will be supported by biodiversity and landscape experts from the charity to develop their environments by planting insect pollinator friendly areas using pollinator friendly plants, building bug hotels and bee houses, planting night-blooming flowers to draw in moths, constructing bee-hives, as well as promoting changes to maintenance schedules, reducing pesticides and letting areas of the school grounds become wild.
The programme will also promote and encourage the development of existing provisions in schools such as orchards and wild meadow areas, green walls and ivy growth to attract the bees and other insects.
Juno Hollyhock, the Executive Director of Learning through Landscapes explains, "We are delighted that the Polli:nation project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and that 260 schools can now transform their grounds to become pollinator-friendly habitats. We believe that this important and inspiring project will help children and young people to learn about the development of their natural environments, both in and out of their school grounds, teaching them that the changes we make to our environment can have a profound effect on critical issues such as our declining bee population."
Learning through Landscapes will be delivering the Polli:Nation project along with other sector partners including The Field Studies Council, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation and the OPAL Network.
If you would like to get involved in the project please click here.
To keep up to date on the project sign up below. You can also follow @LTL_Pollination on twitter for further announcements.