Back From The Brink – Shrill Carder Bee

Date: September 2019

Location: Victory Wood, Whitstable

Funded By: Back from the Brink, Heritage Fund and People Postcode's Lottery

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Outdoor Studios’ first Back from the Brink event ran in September 2019 led by artists Amanda Thesiger and Sara Trillo.  Amanda and Sara delivered a one day drop in workshop at the Victory Wood Open Heritage day, Whitstable which was organised by the Woodland Trust.  The event was focused on raising awareness of the plight of the endangered Shrill Carder Bee.  Amanda and Sara worked with visitors to created mini bees wax models, handmade kazoos, to recreate the bee sound, and they created bee zines! Find out more in the BFTB Art of Saving Species online gallery and read Amanda & Sara’s reflections on the event here.

If you would like to create your own shrill carder bee sound please follow this link! Make a Bee Kazoo

The Shrill Carder Bee is named for its high-pitched buzz, this appealing little insect is one of England’s rarest and most threatened bumblebees. The queen bees need long, tussocky grassland to conceal their nests, and they’ll produce around 50–70 workers in each colony. These workers forage from a wide variety of plants, but they are particularly fond of vetches, Red Clover, Black Horehound and Red Bartsia.

Shrill Carder Bees were once found throughout southern Britain. However, many areas that were once filled with wildflowers, on which these bees depend, have been lost. This is because of changes in the way land is managed, and expanding development. Only tiny clusters of the bee’s former population are still holding on. Two of these are in England, and three in South Wales.

Outdoor Studios worked on the fantastic Back from the Brink, project as the South East Area Community Artist Group, delivering four site specific events in the South East.

Back from the Brink is a collective of many conservation organisations who have joined forces to tackle species extinction and save our rarest and most threatened wildlife including Grey Long-eared Bats, Pine Martens, Willow Tits and Field Crickets. The scope of the project is fantastic – to save 20 species from extinction and to benefit over 200 more animals, plants and fungi – thanks to players of the National Lottery. Led by Natural England, the project involves Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, the Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife and the RSPB.