Buzzing Bee Road Volunteers

Location: The Swale, Kent

©Nikki Gammans

We are looking for volunteers to help out with the exciting new ‘Making a Buzz for the Coast’ project in The Swale.

Buzzing Bee Road Volunteers

The Making a Buzz for the Coast project is an ambitious new project led by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in partnership with Kent Wildlife Trust. We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help us with our Bee Road work, helping to conserve rare bumblebees and other pollinators in the Swale. We have a number of different volunteer roles, including practical tasks on sites and wildlife monitoring.

Practical Task Days

Our Bee Road sites provide important corridors for wildlife and we are managing them to improve the habitat for bumblebees and a wide range of other pollinating insects. We are keen to find volunteers who would like to help with the practical side of Bee Road management, including brushcutting, wildflower seeding, raking and scrub control. You will be helping us to make a considerable difference to our native bees, many of which are in decline and need our help.

You do not need any previous experience or specific training, as this will be provided; you just need to be willing to learn and work as part of a team. You will gain practical conservation experience, including specific knowledge of the ecology and habitat requirements of bees.

We run our Bee Road tasks on Wednesdays and Fridays and you can choose how much time you would like to commit, whether it is attending a half day every so often or joining us every week. Tasks generally run from about 10am to 3pm.

Bumblebee surveys

The Swale is home to some very rare and threatened species of bumblebee, including the shrill carder bee and the brown-banded carder bee. These were once widespread in Kent, but are now restricted to mainly coastal areas. With your help to monitor these charismatic bumblebees, we can gain a better understanding of how bumblebee populations are faring and whether they are responding to the specific management of the Bee Road sites.

We are looking for volunteers who are keen to learn about bumblebees and can monitor them on the Bee Road sites in the Swale. Using the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s ‘BeeWalk’ scheme, you will walk a fixed transect along a Bee Road on a monthly basis from March to October and record the different types of bumblebee that you encounter. No previous bumblebee knowledge is required because we can offer you bumblebee identification training to ensure that you have the skills and confidence to carry out this important work.

Each transect is 1-2km long and will take no more than about two hours to walk. You can fit it in when it suits you, as you do not need to carry it out on a fixed date each month. We can provide you with survey forms and you will need to submit your records online so that the results can be used for the benefit of bumblebee conservation.

Plant Surveys

As well as finding out about the different types of bumblebee on our Bee Road sites, we would like to know more about the plants. There are some rare species of plant that have been found on some of our Bee Roads and we would like to know more about these so that we can help them to flourish on our sites. It is also important for us to understand more about the different flowering plants that occur on the Bee Roads and how they are responding to the habitat management work.

We are looking for volunteers to help us monitor the flowering plants on each Bee Road site in the Swale. We will be running a number of days where beginners can learn how to identify different plants and help us to monitor their abundance. If you already have some experience of botanical surveying, we would also love to hear from you because you may be able to help us monitor some of the rarer species as well as carrying out more general monitoring. We will provide support and training in the field to help you understand the methods we are using and build your confidence.

Bee Road Volunteer Wardens

We are looking for volunteer wardens for each of our Bee Road sites in the Swale, who can look after and monitor their site on a regular basis. As a volunteer warden, you will walk the site to look out for any issues that might arise and carry out important bumblebee monitoring a few times a year, or monthly if possible. You will be provided with bumblebee identification training and learn more about the ecology of bumblebees and how you can help them. You will have the opportunity to learn about the different plants on your Bee Road site and get involved with practical task days, if these are of interest. There will also be the chance to participate in a range of events run as part of the Making a Buzz for the Coast project, engaging with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Kent Wildlife Trust staff and other volunteers.