The Eco Emeralds, a group of nine young inner-city environmentalists from All Saints Catholic Primary School in Anfield, Liverpool, have created a scaled-down version of Buckingham Palace to inspire other children to help create much-needed additional habitats for insects in the UK.
The creation of Bugingham Palace coincides with the launch of the latest ‘mission’ from Backyard Nature, a campaign funded by the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation and grown by Semble, the UK’s leading organisation for grassroots community projects.
The ‘Love Bugs’ mission, in partnership with The Wildlife Trusts, aims to raise awareness of the steep decline of insects in the UK, which are a crucial part of the ecosystem. Globally, 41% of insect species are threatened with extinction, and in the UK 23 species of bees and wasps are now extinct and butterfly numbers have almost halved since the 1970s.
Insect habitats have seen a dramatic decline with 150,000 miles of hedgerow and 50% of ancient woodland being lost since 1950. Children, and their grown-ups, are being encouraged to become ‘Backyard Nature Guardians’ and build bug hotels to protect the insects on their own patch.
From 13th February, 300,000 simple bug hotels will be given away for free to the community from over 970 Iceland stores.
Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland and IFCF Trustee, said: “The launch of Backyard Nature last summer was a phenomenal success with nearly 200,000 nature hours delivered to children across the UK so far. The Eco Emeralds have continued to drive forward their inspiring ideas and Love Bugs is a fantastic example of their environmental activism.”
“It is ideas like Love Bugs that truly show that the next generation is committed to connecting with nature and their planet. Bug hotels will be available free of charge to members of the community visiting our stores from Thursday, 13th February. These hotels will provide crucial habitats for insects, which are an integral part of our ecosystem, and I would encourage parents and their children to pick up a free bug hotel in store. We’re looking forward to hearing about the bugs who are checking into our hotels across the nation.”
Thirzah McSherry, Director of Communications at The Wildlife Trusts, added: “Bugs are brilliant and are vital to ensure that the rest of nature can hum harmoniously. Without them we’d be in big trouble. Unfortunately insects like bees, butterflies and stag beetles urgently need our help – they are struggling because there aren’t enough wild places for them to live and they can’t cope with pesticides and climate change. The great news is we can all do our bit and fabulous kits like this provide bugs with a perfect palace – a home where they can slumber in splendour.”
Find out more and become a Backyard Nature Guardian at www.backyardnature.org