VOLUNTEERS in a Scottish city have made it their mission to bring bees and other precious bugs back to its green spaces – amid a decline in Britain’s insect populations.

Yorkhill Green Spaces looks after three parks in Glasgow, with the aim of providing a safe, pleasant space for the community, while improving biodiversity in the area.

Since 2017, they have recorded thousands of species of plants, mammals, birds, and, of course, insects. Dozens of species of bees, beetles, butterflies, centipedes, and even dragonflies populate their green spaces and earned them the NatureScot It’s Your Neighbourhood Pollinator Friendly Award.

Forestry Journal:

Volunteer Scott Shanks, who works as a conservation officer at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), said: “Repopulating our green spaces with insects and wildlife has been our main focus for the past few years.

“Insects make up the biggest percentage of life on the planet. 

“They are important for things like growing food.

“But having pollinators and other insects in the cities doesn’t just benefit us in the garden.

“We also get much more wildlife coming in, like birds and even hedgehogs, who eat them.”

A new survey, which monitored the number of “splats” on car registration plates, revealed the number of flying insects in the UK had dropped by 60 per cent since 2004.

With the changes brought by industrial farming and the use of pesticides and monocultures, the countryside is not always a hospitable environments for them, so urban gardens are more important than ever, said Scott.

“They are one of the best solutions to help improve pollinator numbers and biodiversity,” he added.

“A comparative part could be parks but, particularly in the last 10 years or so, they’ve been so intensively managed and kept so immaculate that there wasn’t very much space for wildlife.”

The group looks after Glasgow’s Yorkhill Park, Overtown Park and Cherry Park.

With attentive landscaping a careful selection of plants and flowers, and installation of “bee hotels”, volunteers create the perfect habitats for our flying and crawling friends.

“In Overnewton Park, we have a range of grasses, flowers, herbs and herbaceous perennials with lovely scents, to encourage insects and wildlife,” said Scott.

“Last June, we also got permission from the council to use the slopes of Yorkhill Park to create a wildflower meadow, which is so important for pollinators.”

About 10 years ago, explained Scott, the grass there was cut every week, preventing any kind of growth.

Forestry Journal:

Then, it was abandoned and the grass built up, squeezing out any wildflower species, and, in turn, pollinators.

“The idea is to reduce the dominance of the grass,” continued Scott.

“So last year we got volunteers to cut and rake the grass, which we took to the undergrowth for habitat piles.

“Then we had wildflower planting, so hopefully this year we will have a fantastic array of wildflowers.”

This article originally appeared in our sister title, The Glasgow Times