Peak District bumblebee conservation project wins National Lottery award

An initiative to protect the Peak District’s bumblebees has been named the first ever ‘project of the year’ at the annual National Lottery awards.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 3:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th November 2021, 3:46 pm

Pollinating the Peak, run by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, received the accolade in recognition of its work inspiring and educating communities, schools and individuals about the all-important insects.

It beat off stiff competition from around 1,500 projects to make this year’s public voting stage, where it overcame 16 other worthy finalists with more than 4,000 votes.

Project manager Sally Cuckney said: “We’re honoured to have won and thrilled so many people voted for us.

BBC presenter Michaela Strachan handed over the award.

“With support from the National Lottery, we have engaged thousands of people across Derbyshire to help raise awareness, provide habitat and skills for people to love and care for our precious bumblebees, especially the bilberry bumblebee.”

The UK’s bumblebee population has plummeted over the last 80 years, leading to serious concerns about the future of our ecosystem.

Backed by £967,200 of lottery funding, the project has reached more than 20,000 people over the past five years, raising awareness of bees’ vital role in pollination and how to care for them.

The team has also carried out monitoring studies and habitat conservation, and created a hugely popular bee identification app.

The project has worked to secure the future of the Bilberry bumblebee, a Peak District priority species.

BBC wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan travelled to Derbyshire to present the award, which comes with a £3,000 prize, and said “The decline of our bumblebees is hugely concerning, so it’s incredibly encouraging to meet people who care and enthusiastically educate others in such an engaging and positive way.

“By spreading the word and empowering people to make a difference, Pollinating the Peak has made an important contribution to UK bumblebee conservation.”

Lottery Heritage Fund chief executive Ros Kerslake added: “It has never been more important for us all to take action for the future of our natural world and National Lottery funding for projects such as this remains vital.”

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Members of the Pollinating the Peak project team.