Environmental organisation Pollenize and community interest organisation Real Ideas came together on World Earth Day, (22nd April), to celebrate biodiversity through a 36,000 children-strong mass wild seeding, and a one-of-its-kind interactive, 360 degree, immersive, cinematic, experience at The Dome, Market Hall, Plymouth, England. Both experiences marked the culmination of an ambitious schools project, involving children across Plymouth, to engage the younger generation in the importance of bees and other pollinators, and their natural habitat.
Wildflower seeds from Pollenize have been gifted to every school child in Plymouth, as part of its Seeds for Schools programme. Schools have been encouraged to seed wildflower areas in an attempt to increase the forage for our pollinating insects, many of which can be found on the rooftops of some of Plymouth’s most iconic buildings.
In collaboration at Market Hall, which is owned and run by Real Ideas, children and adults alike will colour in their own individual flowers. These specific artworks will be unleashed in a 360-degree cinematic experience within the venue’s state-of-the-art, immersive Dome.
Children will be enthralled with how their creativity comes to life, as in a virtual, awe-inspiring world, their flower attracts bees and other pollinators from around the city of Plymouth, showcasing the number of pollinators that bring so much to the biodiversity to the area. Seeds for Schools is part of an extensive educational programme from Pollenize which includes designing beehives, positioning hives on rooftops throughout the city, and creating greater biodiversity for pollinating insects in and around Plymouth.
The seeds in the packet have been specially selected to attract more than 350 insects and pollinators. 39 species of wildflowers have been blended for maximum flower production, over an extended period of time, to avoid gaps in pollen throughout the foraging season. Participants of the project will log their sowing coordinates onto an interactive rewilding map on the Pollenize website, and these sites will contribute to important citizen science research, correlating data from the Seeds for Schools programme with honey production, pollen and DNA analysis.
Warren Stonebridge, from St Andrews C of E Primary School says: “Our children love to see seeds grow and develop over time, and especially after a few months see them flowering. Seeing a bee or pollinator come towards their flowers is really exciting for them. Any learning where a child can be hands on and actually see things in action, is always of benefit. It’s the best way of learning.”
Owen Finnie, Pollenize Co-Founder said: “This Spring, every school child in Plymouth has the power to become an eco-hero. Pollinators are in real trouble and they need our help, our wildflower meadows are rare habitats in the UK, and they have declined by 97% since the 1930’s. Our Seeds for Schools project and Market Hall’s Dome experience presents fun, interactive ways for children to look after our planet and take positive action against climate change.”
This is part of a whole Easter programme of events from Real Ideas with climate change and sustainability at its heart. The schedule, including Pollenize’s involvement in World Earth Day, sees a number of organisations and individuals, all of whom have been supported in some way by Real Ideas, come together to provide crafts, story-telling, and activities for adults, families and children.
Laura Adams, programme co-ordinator at Real Ideas comments: “We can all do more, to make real, discernible change, both to our local environment and in our daily lives. Our programme of events building up to World Earth Day, is about galvanising everyone to do their bit. Real Ideas’ commitment to sustainability and action in response to the climate change began with its themed light festival, Illuminate, last year.
“We are committed to using our places, spaces and opportunities to help the local Plymouth community understand more about its green and blue surroundings.” The Dome’s Immersive Wildflower Experience at Market Hall ran from 11-24 April.