Transition Stroud Newsletter Editor Josephine Murray (JM) talks to Peter Lead (PL), who runs bee-education initiative Stroud BuzzClub Stroudbuzzclub.com and is also a director of Stroud Nature.
See below for three things you can do today!
JM: When did you first get involved with Buzz Club?
PL: BuzzClub was started at St Dominic’s Primary school in 2011 when Stroudbeekeepers established their Apiary in a corner of the school field. The beekeepers paid a rent of a super [one of the boxes in the beehive] of honey for the children to extract, bottle, label and sell. This led to a buzz around the school, BuzzClub was formed as an after-school activity to teach the children about the importance of honey bees.
JM: Why are bees so important?
PL: All bees and pollinating insects are struggling to adjust to mankind’s interference with the environment, resulting in lack of forage and a changing climate. Bees often face a further danger from some human reaction of fear and using chemicals to control unwanted insects and weeds. In BuzzCub we encourage children not to be afraid but to respect the bees, to understand the importance of pollination and how we should enhance and protect the environment.
JM: Could you tell me about BuzzClub now?
PL: BuzzClub is now located within the Walled Garden behind the Museum in the Park where we have a top bar hive and protective clothing, Before the pandemic we met every Sunday during the summer and had monthly meetings for home-educated children. Sadly, during the last two years we have had to suspend these activities, This year I hope to re-instate these activities meeting Sunday mornings 11-12 when anyone, children and their parents, can turn up to spend the hour looking at, and talking about bees. I also will be offering a course for home educated children. Home schooling children need not be restricted in number, as they will then be split into groups. If there are enthusiastic parents or young people who would like to assist with either group, then please do contact me.
JM: How about the Ghana BuzzClub?
PL: Since setting up Stroud BuzzClub I have also been instrumental in establishing BuzzClub Ghana with Dr Kwame Aidoo, by raising funds through BuzzClub events and working in Ghana with Bees for Development, a charity that promotes sustainable beekeeping as a means of alleviating poverty and supporting education. We have established six schools in Ghana as BuzzClubs and this year will be working with another 10 schools using an education booklet that we have jointly produced.
JM: You also have the Golden Hive project, could you tell me about that?
PL: Before the pandemic I started working with Leyhill Prison where I gave talks about honey bees and then started working with their carpentry department to produce wooden beehives called Golden Hives, for sale. Talking to prisoners provides a wider education base for them and can develop an interest in bees. Looking at bees reminds or teaches respect and offers the opportunity of a calming influence in the apiary.
The Golden Hive has been designed to give the bees an insulated home with a shape that is closer to their natural choice of accommodation, giving them a better chance of living a healthy life. This was an experiment that produced some 10 or so hives. It isn’t yet clear whether it will resume due to a change in personnel in Leyhill, and Covid.
JM: Are you involved with any other environmental or sustainable organisations or initiatives?
PL: I am a director of Stroud Nature that interacts with many other charities and organisations with interests in improving the environment within the five valleys of Stroud.
JM: How long have you lived in this area and what do you like about it?
PL: I have lived in the Stroud area for some 15 years. The diversity of culture and countryside makes this area we live in very interesting.
JM: What do you do in your spare time?
PL: Summertime is taken up by swarm collecting, BuzzClub activities, golf and gardening. Winter time is less busy allowing time for wood turning and pottery as well as golf and gardening. I also am a Parish Councillor for Woodchester.
|Three Things You Can Do Today
1. Visit Stroudbuzzclub.com and BuzzClub Stroud Facebook Group, where events and news are posted.
2. Improve the habitat and forage for bees and pollinating insects in your garden by not using insecticides and planting pollen bearing flowers rather than hybrids. You can also leave areas of your garden unkempt allowing good habitat for all different insects and mammals.
3. Buy or make a bee hotel (See Wildlife Trusts) for bees who don’t live in colonies but look for solitary shelter.
Find out about more local Stroud Transitioneers
If you would like to share your sustainable living story, please contact Josephine on firstname.lastname@example.org