Bug Hotel Galore!
Since working in the Engineering department at the University of Leeds, I have established great positive partnerships with many volunteer groups, including Buglife! The University Staff Festival 2018 was another fantastic way to strengthen this bond through the organisation of our own Buglife stall!
This annual festival was brimming with a variety of refreshments, competitions, workshops and live musical entertainment for all staff and their families to enjoy. With this year’s theme ‘A Festival of Making’, Buglife ran a stall to encourage public engagement in positive pollinator activity through a bug hotel construction workshop and an insect craft station for kids. The Urban Buzz Project Leader, Catherine, was unfortunately unable to make the date and kindly asked if I could run the stall in her place. I was so excited to be given this opportunity and am delighted to have established such a strong level of trust between myself and Buglife. I really pride myself as a true representative of the volunteer team. Plus, Catherine gave me my very own bright yellow ‘Let It Bee’ Buglife t-shirt which I absolutely adore! Bonus!
On the day, I set up the stall with two other Buglife volunteers, Tom and Jane, who are both wonderful pollinator passionate people! Tom is currently a PhD student in pollinator studies which meant he was able to provide a plethora of knowledge to the public. We had many different leaflets on pollinator ID, wildflower gardening and habitat maintenance which Tom was able to expand on and answer any public queries. I found out a lot for myself as well! Did you know that out of the global 24,000 bee species, only 7 of them are honeybees?! We also gave away many packets of wildflower seeds for people to plant in their gardens. Jane was fantastic on the crafty kids station and soon had a selection of creative children all eagerly making their own pollinators. I’m not the best at communicating with children so she really was the woman for the job! Instead, I was very happy running the small workshop building bug hotels. I even brought along our own Engineering themed bug hotel made from scraps of metal tubes which not only demonstrated our School’s dedication to helping pollinators, but it also promoted waste reduction and re-use!
We had six pre-made boxes for people to fill with natural materials such as bamboo pipes and small twigs, and these really went down a treat with many enthusiastic families. However before we knew it these were all completed and taken away, which left me frantically hammering together random slabs of wood and nails to make about seven more boxes. The word ‘sweaty’ doesn’t even cut it. Honestly though it was wonderful to see so many people taking an interest in pollinators and the outside world. I was especially impressed with the number of children who understood the importance of bees for human life, with a lot of reference to honey!
The day went down remarkably well and I do believe we made an impact with a lot of people! If you’re interested in finding out more about how you can build your own bug hotel, check out Buglife’s guide here at https://www.buglife.org.uk/activities-for-you/children-and-schools/bug-makes
The pollinators need you!