LETTER: We must work together to save our bees

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I WRITE with reference to the article in the Advertiser and Times (January 31st) featuring our MP Nigel Evans and a bee-outfitted lady representing Friends of the Earth.

The recent meeting at Westminster has only helped to underline something the Rotary Club of Ribblesdale has been aware of for some time, which is the rapid decline of our indigenous bee population and its habitats due to disease, poor weather and the loss of habitat though changes in farming practices.

This year the Rotary Club of Ribblesdale are running our second bee awareness campaign with 17 Ribble Valley primary schools taking part. The first event in 2011 was very successful and enjoyed by pupils, teachers and parents, who all met at the final presentation where they saw photographs of all the participating schools’ efforts.

This year the project will be featuring the importance of wild flowers and the loss of natural habitat. It is estimated bees directly contribute to 30% of our food production in the UK, with their pollination actiities. The loss of the bee would not only be catastrophic but very expensive, with estimates being as high as £1.3 billion in extra food costs, which would put further strains on household food budgets.

The club has been supported by Clitheroe Advertiser’s own gardening expert John Foley, of Holden Clough Nursery, who has agreed this year to host the final presentation at the new cafe/conference centre currently being completed in the nursery grounds, where all the pupils, teachers and parents can again meet and see the results of all the participating schools.

Since the last project, I have been invited to the Rotary Clubs of Settle, Lytham, Garstang, Preston and Church and Oswaldtwistle to advise them or discuss the format used at Ribblesdale. These clubs are now working with schools in their area to further promote this worthwhile work.

ROTARIAN DEREK WIGHTMAN