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Government recognition for University scientists helping to save bees

Simont Potts receiving award from Lord Gardiner

The Reading Bee team, made up of Agri-Environment researchers at the University, was named a Bees’ Needs Champion 2018 for its work to raise awareness among the public of the needs of pollinators.

Professor Simon Potts received the award on behalf of the team from Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, at an awards ceremony at Kew Gardens on Tuesday 13 November.

Professor Potts, Director of the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research at the University of Reading, said: “It’s a privilege to accept the reward on behalf the Reading Bee Team. Undertaking top quality research is only half our job. The other half is making sure that our science informs better decision making by farmers, beekeepers, policy makers and the general public when it comes to safeguarding pollinators.”

The Reading Bee Team, within the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, carries out cutting-edge research and engages with the United Nations, industry and governments to stop a potential global crisis.

Pollinators benefit production of more than 75% of global food crops. We can thank them for foods like apples, strawberries, coffee and cocoa.

Among areas of research for the Reading team are how climate change and land use are affecting pollinators, and changes we can all make to protect them, from gardeners and farmers to governments.

Defra, the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is responsible for safeguarding the natural environment, supporting food and farming industry and sustaining the rural economy. Its Bees’ Needs Champions Awards recognised innovative bee-friendly initiatives from around the UK.

Lord Gardiner said: “Pollinators are essential for food production and the environment. The Bees’ Needs champions show us how to keep our pollinators happy and healthy all year round, and their efforts are an inspiration for us all. They show that whether you have access to acres of land or just a window box, everyone can play a part in helping these vital insects thrive.”

In July, more than a dozen University of Reading scientists supported Defra’s Bees’ Needs Week. The national campaign aimed to raise awareness of the threats facing pollinators and invited the public to engage in educational activities in Carnaby Street in London, which became ‘Carnabee Street’ for the day.

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