As I write this I’m painfully conscious that (a) it’s a couple of weeks since I last posted on the blog; and (b) I have a long list of things to complete before I head off to Tenerife for ten days of field work on Friday. The absence of posting has been due to my current work load, including the number of conferences, talks and workshops I’ve been involved with in the past month, which seems to have taken up a disproportionate amount of my time. It’s all been interesting and useful, however, and reflects the rising activity stemming from the National Pollinator Strategy, and increasing interest in pollinators more broadly. I’ve certainly learned a lot and hopefully my own expertise contributed to the success of these events.
In this post I thought I’d briefly summarise what I’ve been up to recently, in the process expanding the numerical and phylogenetic parameters of “killing two birds with one stone“:
16th March – took part in a workshop to map the latest phase of Buglife’s B-Lines across Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. This was a really interesting exercise and I felt that we’d actually achieved rather a lot by the end of the day. Once the final maps are completed I’ll post a link so you can see where the routes go through these counties and how they meet up.
23rd March – spoke at a one-day conference on “delivering biodiversity” organised by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges at the University of Worcester. Although I was talking about our bird surveys on the University of Northampton’s new Waterside Campus, pollinators did receive some attention during a workshop on creating wildflower meadows. I’ll post an update on the Waterside work once we’ve completed the next set of spring surveys.
30th March – spoke at the Bumblebee Working Group at the University of Sussex – have already posted an account of that.
6th April – took part in a”Pollinator Experts Elicitation” workshop at the University of Warwick, along with a group of nine other academics, and members of stakeholder groups such as FERA and the NFU. Run as part of Warwick’s Food and Behavioural Science Global Research priority groups, the organisers, from the university’s Department of Statistics, used the Delphi Method to assess the likelihood of sustaining pollinator populations under different scenarios of disease, climate change, and habitat degradation. It was a fascinating process and interesting to see how often experts’ views converged on the same opinion. Also rather humbling to see the degree of our uncertainty in our forecasts. The workshop garnered quite a bit of media attention including pieces on the BBC’s Midlands Today and the Farming Today programmes.
8th-9th April – delivered two lectures at the British Beekeepers Association’s Spring Convention at Harper Adams University. Rather disconcerting to be the least-informed person in the room, given my limited knowledge of bee keeping, but they were a friendly and curious lot with good-sized audiences for my talks on the diversity of bees to be found in urban settings, and the global diversity and functional importance of pollinators.
13th April – spoke to a very receptive audience at the Friends of Linford Lakes Nature Reserve near Milton Keynes, on the topic of “Bees for dinner? The importance of pollinators in a changing world“. Great evening and lots of interesting questions afterwards, though my talk was a bit too long (must cut it for next time).
That’s it for now, hope to do some posts from Tenerife while we are there.