It’s been almost a year since myself and Alison began planning for the Bee Summit, it might surprise you but our initial vision is still recognisable today. We were first inspired at the Friends of the Earth (FoE) annual Base Camp event 2015. We were excited by the stories of the first event held in Oxford told by Fiona Tavaner (Oxford FoE) and Paul De Sylva (Senior Campaigner FoE). During our chat we even decided that Chester Zoo would be a fantastic location to hold the event. We eventually managed to make our initial planning a reality thanks to Angela Fidget who happens to work as a nutritionist at Chester Zoo putting me in touch with Sarah Bird the Biodiversity officer at the Zoo.
We were very fortunate that the Zoo were starting their own campaign around wildlife and our humble bee is one of the species included, so a Bee Summit fitted well into the whole programme. Chester Zoo would provide the location and help to promote it for us. This was something well beyond anything we had ever done before, but it was a challenge that we all relished in. So, we had a location, we had a date, what next? Oh, people!
Those who know Alison and I will know we both have full time jobs, so any organising has been outside working hours. I spend my working day as a professional Chartered Financial Planner, although outside that you might find me around Chester dressed in bee wings, campaigning to ban pesticides, and getting some odd looks from passers by.
We had some key businesses we wanted to attend.
- Chester Waitrose
- Broughton Retail Park
- Redrow Ewloe
- The Architect Chester
- Chester Race Course
Okay so we didn’t manage to get them all, but we are so pleased with who is attending.
We wanted to get Councillors and MPs from Cheshire and Flintshire. Councillors reacted excellently, it seems however that our MPs are inconveniently elsewhere at the moment. But they did make a commitment to meet and work with us after the event, which is fantastic.
A primary aim of the summit was to inspire people to do more at home, and to encourage others to do the same.
In terms of promotion we used almost every form of social media you can think of, facebook, twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and Instagram. Of course the old fashioned ways of email and leafleting were also utilised. As well as free applications like Eventbrite, Survey Monkey, Mail Chimp and Word Press.
We have the support today from fellow Chester & District FoE team, Peter Benson & Kat Tanczos. Matthew Tandy (yes, my son) and Georgina Holmes, both studying media at Salford University, are helping with photos and video of the day. Addie Mullholland, kindly helped me with the baking, I still have enough scones to feed an army but, I’m sure they will be eaten.
Other than that I am really looking forward to today, hopefully it will end with a room of people all contributing to our goal of filling Cheshire and Flintshire with Wildflowers to help protect the future of our bees. I had better stop blogging and finish baking… I’m not sure what I will do after today, move onto another major campaign most likely and perhaps start organising Chester Bee Summit 2017.
Finally I would like to thank everybody for all the support they’ve given over the last twelve months and the hard work put in by all of my fellow Bee enthusiasts at Friends of the Earth and any organisations associated with us.