Schoolchildren get a buzz from helping Friends of the Earth

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Heathwood School with help from local Waitrose staff, the town council via Anglia in Bloom, and South Beds Friends of the Earth planted wildflowers to help the bees at the park at Adams Bottom off Heath Road.

Waitrose staff helped the children in the heavy work of digging up the turf which is crucial for getting wildflowers to grow, and the children planted a mixture of wildflower plants grown from native Bedfordshire seed, and wildflower seed which was funded by the town council.

Bees are responsible for pollinating 75% of our food but their numbers have halved in the last 20 years and loss of habitat is a major cause in the decline.

So South Beds Friends of the Earth, with the town council, are working to “Keep the Buzz in Leighton Buzzard” by creating bee friendly habitats across Leighton-Linslade through a mixture of planting wildflowers and shrubs, as well as keeping some areas of grass long for hibernation for both bees and butterflies.

Victoria Harvey, of South Bedfordshire Friends of the Eart, said: “The challenge of growing wildflowers is making sure that they do not get choked out and smothered by grass before they are established, but the digging up of grass is very hard work so we were so grateful for the all the digging up of turf done by Waitrose staff which made it possible.

“The children and the school were so enthusiastic and helpful, the children quickly understood that without bumble bees we would not have tomatoes and so tomato ketch up. It is so great the way that our town council, schools, local business and community groups are working together to protect our environment for our children’s future.

Nicola Oxley, of Heathwood School, said: “The children have learnt so much about the effect that the bees have on the environment. They have loved getting muddy and learning how to garden.”

Jacob Enright , from Year 3, said: “ I’ve really enjoyed doing the be garden, getting in the river and planting the bank was great fun.”

South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth also gave a presentation on bees to Heathwood School and took some of the children on a nature walk teaching them about the existing trees and shrubs in Adams Bottom.

Bees and butterflies need a mixture of wildflowers and flowering shrubs for nectar and pollen which is their food as well as long grass and wood piles for hibernation.

At a national level last summer, Waitrose joined with Friends of the the Earth , the WI, the RSPB and the Co-op in calling for the government to produce a bee action plan which is now out for consultation, and the minister George Eustice has agreed to visit Leighton Buzzard as an example of a bee friendly area.

The children also did a nature walk learning about all the existing types of trees and wildflowers in the park of Adams Bottom.