Sean Kerr: Burnley Council's wildlife expert on Towneley Park and saving £400m bees

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Burnley Council is reducing grass-cutting to several meadows to attract more bees to the area.

It has saved around £60,000 per year but faced backlash from people who prefer traditional park settings.

Sean Kerr, Pat Smith and Towneley Park ranger Graham want to create a buzz around bees and have offered advice on creating bee-friendly gardens.

Sean Kerr, Pat Smith and Towneley Park ranger Graham want to create a buzz around bees and have offered advice on creating bee-friendly gardens.

An interactive bee trail, which teaches people about these vital pollinators using a mobile phone app, was also launched at a Meadow Celebration Festival at Padiham Greenway on Saturday, September 15th. The council hopes to create a buzz around bees, which help to generate approximately £400m for the economy by pollinating 90% of our food.

Sean Kerr, parks development officer, said: “We have to act now. We can't brush the issue under the carpet and forget about it.”

Wildflowers have been planted along Padiham Greenway using £4000 in funding from charity Grow Wild. They will provide protective habitat from Pendle Street to the memorial park entrance. There are currently 35 species under threat, following the loss of around 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows since 1947.

“We have to take special care of the environment or future generations might suffer,” Sean added.

Mini beast hunt at Padiham Greenway.

Mini beast hunt at Padiham Greenway.

“Education is key. People need to talk about it - that's the legacy we're hoping to leave.”

Offshoots, an award-winning environmental group, has designed a conservation garden at Towneley Park with man-made hives, seasonal plants and backyard demonstrations.

Pat Smith, Offshoots officer, said: “Children love it. You tell them about bees and they’re buzzing with excitement.”

Team Perham, a teenage voluntary group, has supported Offshoots with a town-centre campaign in August while the council took school pupils on a two-day wildlife survey of Burnley’s Thompson Park.

Padiham walkers exploring the new wildflower meadows along the Greenway.

Padiham walkers exploring the new wildflower meadows along the Greenway.

Now the council is calling for volunteers to help save our woodlands from neglect. For, as Pat added: "If we lost all our bees, our lives would look fragile and the future would be a scary place.

"We've already lost some species, so the fight to save the rest is urgent. It's up to every one of us to help protect them.

"We have some answers - but what we need now is action."

To find out about voluntary opportunities, send an email to greenspaces@burnley.gov.uk or call Green Spaces on 01282 425011.

Wildflowers have been planted along Padiham Greenway to rebuild habitats for bees.

Wildflowers have been planted along Padiham Greenway to rebuild habitats for bees.

Sean Kerr leading a mini beast hunt along the Padiham Greenway.

Sean Kerr leading a mini beast hunt along the Padiham Greenway.

Team Perham, a teenage voluntary group, has been raising awareness of the falling bee population on Instagram.

Team Perham, a teenage voluntary group, has been raising awareness of the falling bee population on Instagram.

You can help protect bees by selecting seasonal plants for your garden which provide pollen, nectar and habitation throughout the year.

You can help protect bees by selecting seasonal plants for your garden which provide pollen, nectar and habitation throughout the year.