The Queen Bee Project (in partnership with The Sign Maker)

With various celebrations taking place up and down the country for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, at The Sign Maker, we knew that we wanted to find a way of marking the occasion. Given the environmental focus of the jubilee celebrations this year, gifting insect boxes to a local group seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a difference. 

Onsite at The Sign Maker, we are home to a team of award-winning craftsmen – we knew that they’d be able to turn their hand to something special. The boxes have been crafted using sustainable timber, Tricoya, which also happens to be long-lasting and waterproof. We used natural materials that we had on-site to fill each section before painting in our signature ‘Lichen’ green colour. Though the boxes our workshop team crafted were phenomenal, we know that it was partnering with The Outdoors Group that brought this project to life! 

From the offset, we were drawn to the evident passion of the team, and the heart of what The Outdoors Group aims to achieve. With a number of sites and hundreds of learners who could benefit from the extra wildlife resource, we decided to bring together The Queen Bee Project in partnership with The Outdoors Group.

When we visited the Escot Forest School Site in the May of 2022, we were met with the warmest of welcomes from both the staff and the young people we met. A morning of bug hunting and sitting around the fire together was the perfect opportunity to find out more from the kids themselves about why they love attending forest schools. We loved that the answers were so broad and varied – reflecting the joy found in friendships and mature gratitude for being able to learn and explore alongside their leaders who evidently love what they do! The young people expressed a real love for Forest School, and pride for their site – showing us the different areas and talking with such enthusiasm about their experiences. 

We had a great time presenting our insect boxes to the Escot Forest School learners. It was wonderful to see the next generation passionately engaging with the nature around them. 

Creating a Wildlife Haven at Home

Wildlife watching is a great way to engage with nature. Not only can it further our understanding and learning, but being out in nature can also benefit our mental health. Furthermore, encouraging these creatures to explore our gardens is a great way to encourage biodiversity so not only can the exploration of the outdoors benefits us, but also the wildlife that surrounds us. 

There is something special about creating a wildlife haven in your own back garden. When we actively encourage wildlife to make a home in our local spaces, it can be hugely exciting to track their activity. That being said, we know that it can be challenging to know where to start! So, we thought we would leave a few wildlife top tips below for you.

  • Plant a variety of colourful flowers. This will encourage the bees and the butterflies to your garden so that your garden flourishes to its full potential!
  • Consider if your garden might be a good spot for the birds to feed. We love watching the birds come and go at Yelland Farm (they appear to love coming down to say hello too)! 
  • Gather together some different materials and create your own bug hotel! You could use a shoe box, some empty toilet roll tubes and some pinecones, for example, anything natural and textured. The key is that it doesn’t have to be complex or complicated, just use what you have and create a space that you think bugs might enjoy exploring further.
  • Have fun with it! Keep a little wildlife diary and track what you are seeing and the spaces that they enjoy exploring. Or, simply take joy in watching the wildlife inhabit your garden. 

Signing Off

We’ve loved working alongside The Outdoors Group for The Queen Bee Project, and we can’t wait to hear from the team about how each site gets on with their insect box. Being able to partner with a fellow Devon-based organisation has been really special for us. We would like to thank the amazing team who welcomed us and the learners we met when we visited the Escot Site. 

Forest School is clearly a fantastic way to facilitate a different learning experience for many individuals. As a team, we are honoured to have been able to create an additional resource to encourage further wildlife exploration in a new and exciting way, as well as to honour The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

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