I’m sitting in my garden on a sunny day last summer, soaking in some much needed vitamin D and photographing bumblebees in a lavender bush. It’s not a bad way to relax.

This is one of the photographs that I took. It ended up being one of the most popular I ever posted on Tumblr or Instagram and for me it sums up that entire summer.

20170725_155338

But I was able to go a step further. Counting up the numbers and species of bumblebee, I was able to send those records in to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

Ireland has one of the best bumblebee monitoring programs in the world, based on developing a network of amateur-experts for citizen science recording. Building up that expertise among the public has been one of the main goals of the People for Bees projects that I’ve fundraised for with my sponsored tattoo and that I’ve been assisting with in my volunteering with the Irish Wildlife Trust.

I’m giving a talk and workshop on bumblebees for the Irish Wildlife Trust this Biodiversity Week. I’ll teaching people how to help and identify our wild bee species and taking them through Dublin City University campus to show what can be done on our campuses when they work with the pollinator plan. We’ll end with trying to catch and identify some bees the DCU Community Garden

20170615_BridgefootSt_Bmuscorum_TomasMurray
Bombus muscorum Photo credit: Tomás Murray NBDC

Monitoring is one of the most important things the public can do to try and help wild bee populations, as well as planting bee friendly plants and reducing their pesticide use.

It’s so exciting for me to get to start taking part of the project that I was fundraising for and try and put a local slant on what we’ve been doing.