There is a common misconception that we only need to worry about the diminishing numbers of honeybees and bumblebees. There are more than 20,000 different bee species worldwide and more than 250 exist in the UK.
The Stroud-based Bee Guardian Foundation was created to protect all bee species.
The Stroud campaign started in 2009 when Jessie Jowers and Carlo Montesanti, from the foundation, were invited to speak at a talk at Star Anise Cafe about what was happening to bees.
“We explained that it was more than just honeybees and bumble bees. The response was amazing. Everyone at the meeting said they were going to support us,” said Jessie.
It grew from there with Stroud Town Council leading the campaign. Its Green Spaces team pledged not to use pesticides in the town’s 24 Green Spaces and to use bee-friendly pollination plants.
The town council changed how it managed dead trees by leaving 1.5m stumps which volunteers then drilled to turn into bee houses.
“We believed in what the Bee Foundation was setting out to do and were very impressed by their enthusiasm and commitment to working across the community. We wanted to work with them to help enhance our town green spaces and the environment at large,” said town councillor Rob Green.
The foundation set up in an empty shop so people could drop in and find out how they could become bee guardians.They spoke to gardening clubs, schools, allotment associations, community groups – everyone they could think of.
“Stroud was our pilot project, our first bee guardian town,” said Jessie. “What we learned there has helped us in our work to make Gloucester our first bee guardian city.”
Stroud and its bee guardianship was mentioned in a recent feature about bees in The Observer.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved in Stroud with the Bee Guardian Foundation,” said Cllr Green. “We will continue to work hard to look after our bees.”
To find out more, log on to www.beeguardianfoundation.org.