Help needed to save region's bumblebees

Darlington and Stockton Times: RARE SIGHT: Bombus terrestris on Devil’s-bit Scabious. RARE SIGHT: Bombus terrestris on Devil’s-bit Scabious.

A CONSERVATION charity has announced an opportunity to learn about bumblebees and make a valuable contribution to saving them.

The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust hopes to recruit ten volunteers over the next two years as part of a new project called A Buzz in the Meadows.

The volunteers will monitor and record bumblebees and the wildflowers they visit in meadows across the Dales.

And the findings will be added to the national records of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and used to influence policy and hay meadow management.

Project officer Tanya St Pierre, said: “This is a great opportunity to learn new skills whilst spending time in some of the most spectacular countryside in the Dales.

“This type of survey work has not been carried out in the Yorkshire Dales before, so it will be really exciting to finally build up a picture of bumblebee populations within hay meadows, and to ascertain the importance of these habitats for bumblebees and other pollinators.”

In recent decades two species of Britain’s bumblebees have become extinct and the remaining 24 species have shown a dramatic decline - some by as much as 80 per cent. The decline is largely due to habitat loss.

Only 1,000 hectares of upland hay meadow now survive in the UK, of which about half are found in North Yorkshire, Cumbria and County Durham.

Volunteers will be asked to make weekly or fortnightly visits to a specified meadow in Swaledale, Wensleydale, Wharfedale or Ribblesdale from June 7 until the meadow is cut for hay sometime after July 15.

To get involved please contact Ms St Pierre before June 2 by calling 01524-251002, or emailing tanya.stpierre@ydmt.org

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