Green Lanes for Bumblebees

 

green-lanes-for-bumblebees

 

Romney Marsh is home to 5 of the 6 rarest UK bumblebee species but populations may be fragmented. Dungeness is also the site of the Short-haired Bumblebee Reintroduction project, the first ever reintroduction of an extinct Bumblebee species back into the UK. The Green Lanes project is building on the work done within this reintroduction programme to map bumblebee habitats across the marsh and work to improve habitat connectivity by establishing new wildflower corridors and teaching people about these important species.

This project has clear synergies with the Blue Lanes project as it too is building connectivity within the landscape and provides another layer to the diversity of Romney Marsh.

A4_Bumblebee in jar cropped

Listed below are the key achievements and challenges with this project. Please click on the green bars to reveal information on what has been achieved to date.

The Green Lanes project is a partnership with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) who have been working on the Romney Marsh for more than a decade to provide advice to local farmers, councils, landowners and others on how to manage areas better for bumblebees and other pollinators. The main support from the Fifth Continent project has been the funding of three paid full-time trainees working for 6 months each between April-October 2017-2019 and a fourth trainee in 2021 who will work for 9 months. These traineeships were designed so that each trainee gained valuable experience in bumblebee and wildflower identification, as well as delivering outreach to landowners and the public, undertaking surveys, writing land management plans and working with volunteers. The first 3 trainees successfully completed their placements and have all gone on to exciting jobs in the conservation sector which shows that Dr Nikki Gammans’ mentoring role has really been a success!

Volunteers have been at the heart of this project, working with the trainees as part of the wider Bumblebee Conservation Trust project, they have contributed a fantastic 1,700 hours and worked on many practical habitat days. The enthusiastic and dedicated group of volunteers working together on many practical activity days have improved habitats through planting, seeding and harvesting green hay – each hour they spent on these tasks directly benefits local pollinators and provides a lasting project legacy.

Volunteers now also regularly monitor 25 BeeWalk transects, across the marsh on farms, B-roads, Ministry of Defence land, sea walls and small holdings. This great variety of locations means that the baseline survey data gathered on the occurrence and abundance of bee species and the wildflowers on which they feed is really useful and contributes to a better understanding of how bee populations are faring over time. This information is used to inform habitat improvements and to monitor their effectiveness once completed.

The project has also successfully provided habitat management advice and prepared management plans e.g. the best cutting regimes for wildflower meadows, seed mixes to use and flowers to plant, for more than 30 landowners including councils, farmers, the environment agency and community groups. In total advice was given on an amazing 365ha of land and 64km of B roads which absolutely smashes the targets originally set for the project.

Raising awareness amongst local people of the importance of pollinators and the threats they are currently facing has been a vital element of the project. Outreach work to engage local communities has taken a variety of shapes, from guided walks, to talks, stalls at county shows and workshops. These events have generally been well attended and it is obvious that people are keen to learn more about pollinators, the role they play in the countryside and the fascinating lives they lead. A good measure of success is that new volunteers were recruited, and some local landowners expressed interest in receiving advice on what measures they could implement on their land.

 

Green Lanes for Bumblebees project contributes to the Restore project theme.

2021
Feb 2021

RECRUITMENT OF NEW TRAINEE UNDERWAY

The Green Lanes project has a new lease of life with recruitment of a 4th trainee well underway. This renewed collaboration has come as a welcome boost for the Bumblebee Conservation Trusts’ ongoing engagement on Romney Marsh and means that even more landowners will receive advice and the project can engage with even more volunteers – we look forward to great things from the new trainee in 2021!

2019
Dec 2019

PARTNERSHIP WORK WITH BUMBLEBEE CONSERVATION TRUST SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED

The partnership between the Fifth Continent and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust has drawn to a close at the end of this year with the 3rd and final trainee, Isabel Knight going on to paid employment in the conservation sector. As well as working with landowners the project has also engaged with Kent County Council to find ways to improve the management of verges on B roads – 65kms of roads are now cut less and later in the year which makes them much more BEE Roads

Dec 2019

IMPROVED MEADOW MANAGEMENT AND GRASS CUTTING REGIMES…

We have achieved a lot with habitat management advice provided by Dr Nikki Gammans and her trainees to 30 local landowners on 365 Ha of land – including improved meadow management and grass cutting regimes – all for the benefit of the bees of the marsh. Of course not forgetting the amazing volunteers who have committed their time to undertake bee-walks, bee-blitzs and their own recording which has added substantially to the stock of knowledge of bee abundance and distribution

Jun 2019

Bumblebee Farm Day

Bumblebee farm day took place on 26 June hosted by Nikki Gammans of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. We attended and helped facilitate discussions around ditch planting.

Apr 2019

Teaming up on planting events

We are teaming up with the Bumblebee conservation trust to enhance the local environment by planting bee friendly plants alongside ditches

Feb 2019

New Trainee Appointed

New project trainee appointed and will starting in April. In this third year of the traineeship she will be collating all the data gathered so far and continuing to enhance the area for pollinators.

2018
Dec 2018

Ditch works working party

A2 Ditch working party 30_11_18

With the help of volunteers, planted Yellow Flag Iris and Purple Loosestrife along the banks of the restored ditch, which helps with the diversity along the ditch and increases the amount of flowering plants for bumblebees.

Nov 2018

Helping insect pollinators

bulb planting

15 Nov: Morning spent with colleagues from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust & Shepway day care centre. Planting out over 250 bulbs and creating a wild flower patch. Thanks Ivychurch Parish Council for letting us use this area to help insect pollinators.

Nov 2018

Third year trainee placement update

The advertisement for the third year trainee placement will go live in mid-December, with a closing date of 18 January. Planned start is in April 2019.

Oct 2018

Trainee placement update

Second year trainee (Lucia Chmurova) has completed her placement and is going on to work on another lottery project in Kent called ‘Kent’s Magnificent Moths’. The advertisement for the third year trainee will go out in January 2019, with a planned start in April.

Jun 2018

Bumblebee event

Stall ready to go for Green Lanes event

Bumblebee event for families at Romney Marsh Visitor Centre took place on Sunday 24 June. Stall set up ready to go!    

May 2018

Report on BBC

Report on BBC

16 May: BBC South East Today broadcast an item on promoting the Green Lanes for Bumblebees project –  the focus of the item is on improving roadside verges for pollinators along ‘B’ roads.    

May 2018

Bumblebee event in June

Bumblebee event for families being planned at Romney Marsh Visitor Centre on Sunday 24 June

Apr 2018

New Project Trainee

Lucia Chmurova has been appointed as the new Project Trainee. Lucia will continue the project of mapping wildflower areas, as well as working with partners and volunteers to create new wildflower areas attractive to Bumblebees.

Feb 2018

Recruiting for the next project trainee

We are currently recruiting for the next project trainee to start in early April. Lucy Witter (last years’ trainee) has started her PhD looking at seed mixes for pollinators – see her blog here.

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To find out more including how to get involved contact the project team.