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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

More bees please as students’ campaign boosts eco-diversity

A campaign inspired by Catholic students from Liverpool and aimed at encouraging children to become environmental guardians is urging youngsters to plant wildflower seeds to halt the decline of bees.

Backed by the Duchess of Cambridge, Backyard Nature launched in July and is pledging to help youngsters across the UK spend a total of one million hours outside by inspiring them to protect wildlife on their doorstep.

Its first mission is asking young ‘Backyard Nature guardians’ to stop the decline of bees by helping to plant millions of wildflower seeds.

The campaign, funded by the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, was inspired by the Eco Emeralds, a group of young environmentalists from All Saints Catholic Primary School in Anfield, Liverpool.

The youngsters also came up with the idea that the campaign’s first mission should be to help stop the decline of the UK’s bees.

More than 330,000 seedballs containing 15 million wildflower seeds were recently handed out for free in Iceland and Food Warehouse stores nationwide, with enough supplies for 100 people in each store.

Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland and trustee of the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, said: “Bees are an integral part of our ecosystem and provide a vital pollination service to UK crops.

“These wonderful creatures are quickly disappearing and they are in desperate need of more places to live and eat.”

Mr Walker said this is why Iceland stores made seedballs available free of charge to members of the community visiting their stores earlier this month.

“Once grown, these wildflowers will provide much needed habitats for bees, helping them to survive and thrive again,” he said.

The scheme is supported by campaign groups and conservation charities including the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Plantlife and The Wildlife Trusts, as well as family activity app Hoop.

The Duchess of Cambridge, who is known for promoting the benefits of the great outdoors for children’s health, has previously welcomed the campaign’s launch.

She said: “Spending time in nature can play a pivotal role in helping children grow up to become happy, healthy adults.

“The great outdoors provides an open playground for children to have fun and learn lifelong skills – from balance and co-ordination to empathy and creativity – with their friends, their parents, their carers, or their family members.

“I hope the Backyard Nature campaign inspires children, families and communities to get outside and engage with nature, wherever they live.”

Young people, schools and their parents or carers can sign up online to become ‘Backyard Nature guardians’ for their area through the website

Once joined, users can find their local patch using a map highlighting green spaces, download DIY guides and also find conservation events happening nearby.

Picture: A honey bee forages on a wildflower. (Robin Loznak/Zuma Press/PA).