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University research project shortlisted for Mayor's Bristol Genius Award

The flower meadow in St George's Park

The flower meadow in St George's Park Dr Katherine Baldock

Press release issued: 17 May 2013

An ambitious scientific project which aims to transform Bristol’s urban environment for pollinating insects, while making Bristol more attractive for residents and visitors, has been shortlisted for this year's Bristol Genius Award.

Working in partnership with the City Council’s Meadow Bristol project, the University of Bristol's Urban Pollinators Project, led by Professor Jane Memmott in the School of Biological Sciences, has planted flower meadows in Bristol’s public parks and in schools, turning them into a haven for pollinating insects and a visually stunning floral display for people to enjoy.

In 2013, a further 15 large flower meadows are being sown across the city as part of a nationwide experiment studying the benefits of urban meadows for pollinators, with Meadow Bristol sowing a further 6000m2 on road verges, roundabouts and in parks.  The project will also be visiting schools, in partnership with the Avon Wildlife Trust, to educate Bristol’s youngest residents about the importance of insect pollinators, and will share key findings of the research to date at a conference hosted by the University in 2014.

Dr Katherine Baldock, co-ordinator of the Urban Pollinators Project said: "Research so far shows that the meadows provide a considerable quantity of pollen and nectar resources for bees, hoverflies, butterflies and other pollinating insects and that large numbers of insects visit the flowers in these meadows."

Teija Ahjokoski of Bristol City Council and Meadow Bristol said: "Feedback from the public and local residents has been overwhelmingly positive."

The Urban Pollinators Project is a collaborative research project between the University of Bristol, University of Reading, University of Leeds and the University of Edinburgh, in partnership with local councils and wildlife trusts.  It is funded jointly by a grant from the BBSRC, Defra, NERC, the Scottish Government and the Wellcome Trust, under the Insect Pollinators Initiative.

The Urban Pollinators Project/Meadow Bristol is one of three submissions shortlisted for the Bristol Genius Award that the judges feel best exemplify Bristol as a city that excels in ideas which have the potential to change lives for the better.  The winner will be announced by Mayor George Ferguson at the Festival of Ideas Awards’ Evening on 20 May 2013.

The winner of the first Bristol Genius Award was the University of Bristol's Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (Children of the 90s): a long-term research project that is assisting scientists all over the world with research into a wide range of health problems.

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