Residents of Blackburn in Lancashire will be out today planting 16,000 bee-friendly plants at 28 sites across the town. Anyone who turns up at the town hall between 11-3pm will be given a trowel and assigned a ‘queen bee’ organiser and a site to get planting. Hives are also being installed on the roof of the town hall.
The initiate to replace traditional bedding plants that bees don’t like with more bee-friendly varieties across the town was the idea of charity Groundwork Pennine Lancashire which has been running an amazing three year ‘save the bee’ project in the region, called bees in the borough. The project includes breeding more indigenous apis millifera millifera (the black honeybee) .
As well as helping improve bee forage in Blackburn, the bee planting today is intended to bring the community together, instil pride in the town – volunteers will receive an ‘I love Blackburn t-shirt’ – and to rejuvenate the failing town centre. Giant bee sculptures are being designed and placed in strategic locations across the town. Designer, Wayne Hemmingway, who comes from the area, is creating a vintage bee sculpture. The idea is for each sculpture to be sponsored and that money will go towards maintaining the bee-friendly plants.
The event has got the backing of Blackburn Town Centre Partnership Board, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council – which has three bees in its crest which represent skill, perseverance and industry – the town centre BID (business improvement district) , The Mall shopping centre and the local Groundwork trust. Flyers and postcards have gone out all over town, in schools, businesses, community centres.
It is yet another great example of how bees are being used as a catalyst to bring communities together and do positive things in their local area. Newcastle, Stroud and Gloucester are some of the other cities that have gone bee-friendly . And hopefully this initiative will help all types of bees in Blackburn.
You can follow today’s event on Twitter @BigPlantingBee #BBBigBee. And there is a Facebook page blackburnsbigplantingbee
I’m looking forward to seeing the photos.
Let’s hope they get a good turn out . It looks like it will be dry until 1pm!