The Bees In the City project was developed with students and staff members in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Westminster (UoW) in 2019. Students at the University of Westminster had been gaining interest and familiarity around the importance of bees in recent years. Academic staff at UoW became aware of this and Dr. Sarah Coleman informed myself Dain, the previous President of the Environmental Society at UoW, of Dr. Tony Madgwick's love and passion for insects, and especially bees. This is when our journey for this project began, in the office of Dr. Tony Madgwick during a casual conversation about bees and insects.
As scientists we started wondering about the abundance and diversity of solitary bees in near our university sites which is located at the heart of London, hence Bees in the City. We were asking questions such as "How many bees visit our university each year? How many different types of bees visit out university? Are those bees healthy? Where do they go to sleep at night?" And then we thought, "Why not go and look for answers ourselves?"
After that, it wasn't long until we had a team of academic staff members from various research backgrounds who were involved with developing our project. Our aim was to develop a university-wide cross-disciplinary research project in which students and staff from various disciplines would be able to participate and use/gain relevant skills along the way. We held small workshops and talk with student groups to gain student interest and expressed our shared our ideas to other Schools and teams within the Professional Services division within the university. Our project idea was well received which led to generous funding from the Quintin Hogg Trust, yay!
Unfortunately due to Covid-19, we have not been able to start our project properly this summer but we are very excited to start exploring the world of bees in our incredible city of London. Stay tuned for upcoming events and meetings with the team!