This afternoon I ventured across the Walthamstow border and headed to Chingford to attend the Big Buzz. Organised by Waltham Forest friends of the earth the big buzz had two aims, draw attention to the problems facing the global bee population and encourage residents to make small changes to help the bees out. The event took place in Mornington hall on Chingford Green, but thanks to my terrible navigation skills we ended up going in the wrong direction when we got out of the car. After a few stern looks from my other half I was fired from the role of navigator, and before long we spotted a giant person sized bee pointing the way to the event.
The big buzz kicked off with a short film called The Queen of the Sun, a documentary which looks at some of the reasons that the bee population is dwindling such as use of pesticides, disease and habitat loss. The film which was also shown as part of the E17 Art Trail makes it very clear how important bees are, as our biggest pollinator they are vital to the stability of the food chain. Following the film we heard from local groups including Organiclea, Save Lea Marshes and Transition Leytonstone who told us what they are doing to help the plight of the bees. Tom from friends of the earth told us about the wild flower meadow the group have planted at Queens Road Cemetery as part of the bee cause campaign, a few weeks ago he took an army of volunteers to the cemetery and they cleared weeds and debris from an area and set wild flower seeds. The organisers had lined up various activities, so after a short break the rest of the afternoon got underway. There was a bee walk around the church yard, a focus group for residents to discuss how they could help, and a local honey producer had bought along a bee hive complete with resident honey bees. My other half and I decided to have a go at building a bee hotel out of a plastic bottle and bamboo canes, but in reality we spent most of the time chatting with other people at the event and enjoying the tea and cake that was provided by the Hornbeam Cafe.
One thing that I really enjoyed about today was the large number of locals that came out on a Sunday afternoon to take part in the event. The bee problem is global but if communities like ours come together we can make a difference. I came away from the event with some packs of bee friendly flower seeds, so for my part I’m going to sow a few mini meadows in containers in the back garden and around the base of the tree outside. loss of habitat is a big problem so hopefully providing additional fueling stations for the humble bee will help them. If you would like to help the local bees why not check out the Waltham Forest friends of the earth website.