Beauty and the bee: one student’s mission to draw attention to the power of pollinators
Press release issued: 13 April 2017
A University of Bristol student has embarked on a mission to paint and draw some of the 270 species of bee in the UK, thanks to an award from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.
Freya Cohen, a 2nd year Biology student, has won a Grow for it Award and will be using her work to highlight the important role bees play as pollinators.
She will be working in the University of Bristol Botanic Garden over the next two weeks, including the popular Easter Sculpture Festival and Quilting Exhibition from 14 to 17 April, where she will getting the public directly involved with the project through a 'paint and create' collage.
Bees and other insect pollinators have seen a dramatic fall in numbers over the past few decades, giving concern to experts on the future pollination of many of our food crops and natural ecosystems.
Freya's work will help make the public aware of this decline and draw attention to the role of solitary bees - amazingly effective pollinators who tend not to live in colonies like bumblebees and honey bees.
They are the most important pollinators for crop and wild plants as the much-celebrated honey bee accounts for only seven per cent of food crops.
Freya's artwork, which is painted on recycled materials such as cardboard, helps illustrate the fragility of ecosystems and the intricate plant pollinator relationships which underpin them.
Among the bees Freya will be painting is the rare welted mason bee which has been identified in some Bristol allotments and makes its nest inside the dead stems of flowers - all the more reason to leave the lawn mower in the shed.
Urban gardeners have great potential to offer forage material by planting herbs, wildflowers and other pollinator friendly plants. Further useful information is available from the Get Bristol Buzzing Campaign and Urban Pollinators Project.
Before coming to Bristol, Freya was a Field Leader for a few years at Archelon, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece. She was responsible for the monitoring and protection of loggerhead turtle nests on 13km of beaches in Kyparissia, one of the largest nesting sites in the Mediterranean.
In addition to her university studies, Freya is currently Project Coordinator of the Roots Community Garden, promoting positive mental health and wellbeing by encouraging more students to connect with nature and their local community.
This role involves organising and running weekly gardening sessions in liaison with community groups, organisations and individuals to collaborate on projects and also raising awareness about pollinator decline through the creation of mini wildflower meadows and raised beds.
- The Sculpture Festival and Quilting Exhibition at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden will take place from Good Friday, 14 April until Easter Monday, 17 April from 10 am to 5 pm. Refreshments, tours of the garden and demonstrations will be available. Entry to the Botanic Garden Sculpture Festival is £6 for adults; free to University staff and retired staff, Friends of the Botanic Garden, students and children under 16.
About the Botanic Garden
The Botanic Garden has a strong evolutionary theme and cultivates over 4,500 plant species forming four core collections that illustrate plant evolution, plants from Mediterranean climates, useful plants and rare and threatened native plants to the Bristol area.
Star attractions include an amazing dell demonstrating the evolution of land plants including the dinosaurs’ favourite plants: ginkgos, cycads, tree ferns, monkey puzzles and the Wollemi Pine. Other delights include the Chinese and Western herb gardens and an inspiring display of plants illustrating floral diversity.
The Garden is open from 10am until 4.30pm.
- From 1 April until the end of October 2017, the Garden is open for seven days a week including bank holidays.
For Easter the admission is £6 (Gift Aid payment)* or £5.40 (non - Gift Aid payment); free to University staff and retired staff, Friends of the Botanic Garden, students and children under 18.
*The adult gate entry fee of £6 includes a 60p voluntary donation which UK taxpayers can pay, allowing the Botanic Garden to benefit from a 25 per cent refund of tax from the government on each adult ticket
Dogs (except registered disability assistance dogs) are not permitted in the Botanic Garden.
The garden is largely accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters with a designated path leading around the garden and glasshouses. Disabled toilet facilities are available on site.
Pre-booked guided tours of the garden for groups of ten upwards are available seven days a week. Please contact the garden for further information. There is a charge for the guide.
Directions to the Botanic Garden
From the city centre go to the top of Whiteladies Road, at the junction and traffic lights go straight ahead across Durdham Down towards Stoke Bishop. At the traffic lights go straight ahead and take the first turning on the right into Stoke Park Road, The Botanic Garden at the Holmes is 150 metres on the right. Address: University of Bristol Botanic Garden, The Holmes, Stoke Park Road, Bristol, BS9 1JG. Tel: 0117 42 82041 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the public wishing to support the work of the Botanic Garden should join the Friends of the Garden. For more information go to the Friends of the Botanic Garden or write to Susan Redfern, The Membership Secretary, 24 Dublin Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4NA.