More than 15 million seeds are set to be planted via ‘seedballs’ in the coming weeks. The campaign, endorsed by the Dutchess of Cambridge, is organised by Backyard UK, a youth-based initiative that aims to help save the bee population in the UK.
Backyard UK has given young people the mission “to feed the bees where you live by planting wildflower seedballs. You can get involved where you live – seedballs can be planted in a garden, pot or window box.”
Young people first needed to sign up at the Backyard UK website to become a Backyard Nature Guardian, and then travel to their local Iceland or Food Warehouse store to pick up their package of seedballs. Backyard UK offered up over 330,000 seedballs for free in Iceland and Food Warehouse shops, which adds up to 15 million wildflower seeds.
Once young people plant their seedballs, they have been encouraged to track the growth on social media using the hashtag #BackyardNature.
“Bees are an integral part of our ecosystem and provide a vital pollination service to UK crops,” said Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation trustee and Iceland managing director Richard Walker. “These wonderful creatures are quickly disappearing and they are in desperate need of more places to live and eat.”
When BackyardUK launched back in the summer, the Duchess of Cambridge lent her support to the campaign, stating: “Spending time in nature can play a pivotal role in helping children grow to become happy, healthy adults…I hope the Backyard Nature campaign inspires children, families and communities to get outside and engage with nature, wherever they live.”
The campaign, funded by the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, was inspired by the Eco Emeralds, a group of young environmentalists from All Saints Catholic Primary School in Anfield, Liverpool. The Eco Emeralds wanted to help stop the decline of bees in the UK. They also came up with the idea that the campaign’s first mission should be to help stop the decline of the UK’s bees. Backyard was launched by Semble, a platform for community projects.
According to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have disappeared in the last 80 years, leaving bees with less to eat.
Mark Shearer, co-founder of Semble explained: “At its core, Backyard Nature is about inspiring young environmentalists to get their hands dirty and start to engage directly with accessible nature activities. Having thousands of ‘Backyard Nature Guardians’ come together to plant 15 million wildflower seeds will create a real environmental impact across the UK.”
A partner of the campaign, Seedball, states on its’ website “The children of today need to have both the tools and the connection with nature to fight for nature. Yet with 62% of British children spending less than five hours per week outdoors it seems like we’re some way off giving them the exposure to nature needed to recognise its value and stand up for it when needed.” Backyard attempts to tackle this head-on by helping children make a real difference to the planet, aiming to inspire nature engagement over the next 18 months.
There are also instructions on the organisation's website on how to make your own seedball. If young people were not or are not able to get to a shop or to make their own homemade seedballs, Backyard UK includes tips on their website on how to create “insect hotels” and on how to care for bees.
The scheme is supported by campaign groups and conservation charities including the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Plantlife, WWF and The Wildlife Trusts, as well as family activity app Hoop.