Meet Maddie: our Field Intern helping us research bumblebees DNA

girl kneeling at bench doing bumblebee fieldwork

My name is Madison Lucas, and this summer I am working with the Pollinator Project as their 2023 field assistant intern.

I graduated in 2022 from the University of Leeds with a master’s degree in Ecology and Conservation Biology. Growing up in Guernsey fostered my love for nature, and now that I’m back living on island, I’m keen to use my studies and contribute towards protecting our incredible island ecosystem.  

In my spare time, I am a self-taught naturalist. I’m currently in the process of compiling a personal pan-species list – a ‘compendium’ of sorts where I record every species I have seen. My interest in naturalism developed more during the pandemic, when the Pollinator Project sent out a leaflet showing all the butterfly species that breed in Guernsey. I learnt how to identify the butterflies using the leaflet and spent that summer attempting to see at least one individual of each species. The most most exciting sighting was seeing the Glanville Fritillary, a species I had been taught about at university, but never seen.

Now, I have come full circle, and have the privilege of working with the charity which contributed so greatly to the development of my passion for our environment! 

This summer I am conducting bee surveys across Guernsey and Sark. The DNA samples I collect will be used to monitor the density of bumblebee colonies on the islands, ultimately allowing the team at the Pollinator Project to determine the impact of pesticide use on our local bumblebees. Along the way, I’m hoping to find a few species that are stubbornly missing from my Guernsey list – namely the Vestal Cuckoo bumblebee, and the Early Bumblebee.

More than anything, it’s great to get back into what every ecologist loves the most – field work! 

Latest news…


Moths matter art competition winners announced  

Moth art competition winners and organisers

1,208 moth artworks displayed at Guille-Alles library exhibition 1 – 20 August 

More than 1,200 children in the Bailiwick have their artwork shown in an exhibition this summer as part of an education initiative run by the Pollinator Project about the role of moths in pollination. 

The art project, which is supported by law firm led professional services business, Mourant, focuses on 20 insects in the Lepidopteraorder – moths – and is on display from 1 to 20 August in the entrance hallway and landing at the Guille-Alles Library in St Peter Port, Guernsey.  

The exhibition is the last component of the 2023 Pollinator Project campaign and follows on from this spring’s talks to 4,000 Bailiwick primary school children about the wonders of moths. All these pupils and hundreds more received moth identification packs including take-home leaflets and classroom posters. The annual award-winning campaign is aimed at age 2 to 10 and reaches 21 schools across Guernsey, Sark and Alderney, as well as home-schooled children. 

As part of this year’s initiative, children created their own moth from an activity sheet, designed in conjunction with Guernsey Arts.  

A giant moth figure, created by local artist Kevin Hickman and with antenna woven by Guernsey-based Rae Bearder, of Rae’s Willowcraft, is also on display.  

Laura Harrison, Pollinator Project education lead said: “The Pollinator Project moth competition had so many brilliantly bright moths created by talented local children so we have put these on display at the Guille-Alles library for everyone to enjoy for free. It’s great to see that so many kids have understood the beautiful colours our moths have – they are definitely not dull and boring! We have had over 1,200 entries, from schools and pre-schools across the Bailiwick which is fantastic and judging them all was a really hard job.” 

Competition winners 

Three children and their families have won a prize for their school, either £500, £250 or £100 worth of vouchers for GROW Ltd so that they can create or expand their own pollinator patch. These three children will also receive individual prizes a personalised t-shirt of their moth design, a framed copy of their artwork, and a voucher for the environmental website NHBS worth £100, £75, and £50 respectively for first, second and third place.  

The judge was Alana Gillies Ridout, Partner in the Guernsey Corporate practice at Mourant, who said: “I was very impressed with the overall standard of entries. The winner Theo Smith’s (age 9) entry stood out particularly due to its inventive use of seed heads, leaves and other natural materials to closely approximate an Emperor moth. 

“The second prize, won by Isla Aylward, age 6, from St Martins School, also used natural materials including pressed flowers, herbs and even feathers to create a lovely colourful image.  

The detailed nature of the shading was notable in the third prize won by Isabelle Grayland aged 11”. 

Both the first prize winner Theo Smith and the third prize winner Isabelle Grayland attend Vale Primary School so have won £600 for the school’s gardens.  

Laura Harrison, education lead for the Pollinator project said: “There were almost as many moth artworks as the 1300 types of moths we have in Guernsey, and they have been great to see. There were many inventive entries, with everything from a Spiderman themed moth, one that looked like a stained-glass window, and lots of rainbow-coloured creatures”.  

Bailiwick’s children’s favourite moth to decorate 

Laura continued: ‘We particularly liked that many children who entered into our competition looked at the “20 Guernsey Moth” posters and leaflets and designed their moth to look like their favourite. 586 entries were decorated to look accurately like a locally found moth and we can reveal that the Bailiwick’s school children’s favourite moth is the Jersey Tiger moth, with 119 entries! This was closely followed by the Light Emerald with 103 created, and the third favourite was the Emperor moth.” 

Children encourage adults to participate in conservation 

The next step in the annual campaign is about conservation – feeding local moths. Every child that submitted their art for the competition was provided with a packet of pesticide-free, non-invasive seeds to sow their own pollinator-friendly flower mixin their garden or planter at home this summer. The aim is to encourage children and their families to increase the habitat and food source for more local beneficial insects. Children can also watch the plants grow into food sources for the insects they learn about in school. 

Pollinator Projects co-founder Barry (the bug man) Wells explains: Our popular pollinator education campaign, which started five years ago teaching children about bees, then butterflies, bugs and beetles has this year focused this year on 20 of the 1,300 moths in Guernsey. Moths are really important pollinators but are often overlooked or misunderstood. Children who first learned about bumblebees in year 3 will now be in year 7, so have increased their knowledge of many pollinators over the years. We whole-heartedly thank Mourant for supporting this awareness campaign by funding the design and print of the identification guides and classroom posters and purchasing the pollinator-friendly seeds.”  

About the Jersey Tiger moth  

Named for the distinctive markings on their wings, which resemble a tiger’s and commonly found in the Europe and the Channel Islands (but not the UK in Victorian times); this black, cream and orange moth has a wingspan of 52–65 millimetres and flies July to September. The scientific name is Euplagia quadripunctaria and they are day-flying moths feeding on buddleia and hemp-agrimony.  

The larvae (caterpillars) feed on several plants (September to May) on the leaves of nettles, raspberries, dandelions, white deadnettle, ground ivy, plantain, borage, lettuce and hemp-agrimony.

Pollinator Field Assistant Opportunity- Internship

  • Do you care about protecting our island’s vital pollinating insects?
  • Are you experienced or interested in learning pollinator survey techniques?
  • Are you organised and enthusiastic, able to work flexibly and independently?


The Pollinator Project is looking for a seasonal pollinator field assistant to help us carry out our summer monitoring activities. This would be an ideal opportunity for someone looking to gain experience in fieldwork survey techniques and working with a conservation charity. We particularly invite applications from students or career switchers looking to enhance their CV.

Deadline for applications – 23:55 on 27th June 2023

Location: The fieldwork is carried out at different sites across Guernsey (and possibly Sark). Training will be provided in person on Guernsey and online.


The Role

The Pollinator Project, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, runs a suite of pollinator monitoring surveys across the Channel Islands every summer. The surveys are largely carried out by trained volunteers. We are looking for an enthusiastic field assistant to help carry out our most technical survey – collecting DNA samples from bumblebees across the island. The survey will take place over a 2-3 week period in July.


The survey involves looking for bumblebees in specified areas across Guernsey, catching them in a net, cooling them down so they can be handled and taking a very tiny DNA sample from one foot. The bumblebees are released unharmed. The field assistant will be trained in these specific techniques by Miranda Bane (Science lead at the Pollinator Project), building confidence surveying alongside Miranda, until they are ready to survey independently. The work is fiddly and must be done accurately, but surveys are always done in good weather and the work is rewarding.



  • Helping to carry out our annual bumblebee DNA survey across Guernsey (and possibly also on Sark)
  • Working alongside Miranda Bane, and then independently to catch and sample bumblebees in locations across the island(s)
  • Maintain clear and precise records of surveys carried out
  • Represent the Pollinator Project, being able to answer questions and engage with the public whilst surveying in public places


Essential requirements

  • Willingness to handle living bumblebees – full training will be provided on how to do this safely
  • Available to work flexibly (depending on weather conditions) throughout July 2023
  • Willingness to work on weekends when required
  • Ability to travel around Guernsey ideally by bicycle but alternatively by public transport, car or on foot
  • Good organisation and record-keeping skills
  • A steady hand – able to gently and accurately handle insects and tools



  • Any ecological field survey experience
  • Experience lone working outdoors
  • Knowledge of pollinators and the work of the Pollinator Project



The training and field surveys will take place in July, with specific dates to be confirmed based on weather conditions and other survey constraints.



The successful applicant will receive an ex-gratia payment of £500 on successful completion of the work and reasonable local expenses will be paid.


Applicants must be 18+ years old.


Note: This role involves handling live insects. The risk of being stung is small but if you are allergic to insect stings this role might not be suitable for you.


How to apply

In the first instance send your CV and/or a cover letter stating why you would be a good fit for this role to  by 23:55 on June 27th


For more information or to schedule an informal discussion about the role please email





The Wild Escape Weekend 18th and 19th March

We are really looking forward to The Wild Escape Weekend at Candie Museum Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th March. Come and meet us, join a workshop, do some colouring or even origami- we have lots happening.

From 10 am: we’ll have colouring, terracotta pot painting for you to take home, butterfly origami, advice and free flower seeds.
11am Sunday – Barry the Bugman will talk about Guernsey mini-beasts (aimed at kids but fascinating to all!)
2pm – Gordon will talk about why we work to save pollinators and how they are portrayed in art, new and old.
It’s at the Guernsey Museum at Candie, £7 for adults, £2 for age 7-17, free for under 7s. Or free with a Discovery Pass. All talks and activities are free too.
There are plenty of other child and art activities there too.

It’s a UK national event and you can find out more about the thinking behind the event





We are looking for a new Treasurer

The Pollinator Project LBG is one of the island’s most successful environmental charities. We know that our pollinators including bees, butterflies, moths and other flying insects are vital to our food supply, our well-being and biodiversity on the island. And that they are under threat. So in the 6 years since we formed we have focused on four core activities: education, citizen science, protecting habitats and campaigning against the use of pesticides.

In 2023 we will take on our first employee, launch bee trails and engage with over 4000 primary and junior school children when we share our love of moths with them among many other things. We pride ourselves on getting stuff done.


As our treasurer, you will be volunteering to be a member of the board, and to play a key role in our organisation. We hope you will bring financial controls, budgeting disciplines, manage our audit and relationships with insurers and the banks. And we know you will want to be more than our bookkeeper. You’ll have contacts, views on policies, and you might want to join us in a field or two.


We meet every two weeks to check in and as a board quarterly and flex our times and days to try and match those in full-time employment or with caring responsibilities. Your time commitment can be as little as an hour a week, but that’s how we all started…


Please contact our chair, Gordon Steele, in the first instance to explore how you might be part of helping Guernsey’s nature.

07781 401004


PS If you’ve seen this and just want to know more about us or better still have ideas, time for volunteering or some feedback we welcome that too.




Glyphosate is going

Roundup container on grass

Glyphosate is going, going, gone.   

The Pollinator Project is truly delighted that weed killers containing glyphosate are being phased out in 2022 and will be banned from general use in Guernsey from the start of 2023.  

This is such a great first step towards going fully pesticide-free and is a necessary step to protect our fragile wildlife and our sources of locally grown food. Lots of other UK councils have done this as well as whole nations like France and Luxembourg so we’re very glad Guernsey has reacted like this to the latest news on contamination of water courses.    

So what do I need to know?  

Under the Poisonous Substances (Guernsey) Law, the States of Guernsey’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is introducing a restriction preventing these 152 products being sold, stored or used.  

From 31 October you won’t be able to buy glyphosate in Guernsey (or online for shipping to Guernsey).  

From 1 Jan 2023 you will not be able to use or store products containing glyphosate.  

We encourage you to dispose of your products at Longue Hougue recycling centre.  

Professional pesticide users are encouraged by the States of Guernsey to limit their use and explore alternative control methods.  Professional use of glyphosate can only be done by those holding an NPTC certificate of competence.  

Why is this happening? 

Earlier this year Guernsey Water appealed to Islanders not to use glyphosate products after they saw multiple high readings of glyphosate in water courses, which the States says are increasingly linked to domestic use of glyphosate. Many people including the Pollinator Project are also concerned with the impact of glyphosate products on the Island’s biodiversity.  

Robin Gonard, Chief Health & Safety Officer, said: “We do believe it will help improve water quality and protect our biodiversity.” 

What’s the next step in going Pesticide Free?   

We also think there is a need for greater transparency of what volume and frequency of glyphosate products are sold to professionals – and where these are used. We’d also like to see a register of professionally qualified people firmed up so that it is refreshed annually with up-to-date controls of incoming and outgoing contractors too.  

Aside from glyphosate, there are many more products sold and used that harm the environment for the sake of looks. So our aim is to work with government, corporates and land owners to be the first island in Britain to be pesticide-free. We do have a caveat for regulated uses by licensed professionals such as on Japanese knotweed or Asian Hornets but there is little to no need for the other pesticides like chemical insecticides and synthetic slug pellets when there are natural methods available.   We are asking people to stop using all pesticides.    

So what do I use instead? What are the alternatives?  

We would not recommend using most of the branded ‘glyphosate-free’ weedkilling products like Roundup that are on sale in some garden centres as you may just be replacing one problem with another. They often contain synthetic manmade chemicals – which are not naturally in the environment. There’s no requirement for all the ingredients to be listed. There’s very little practical experience of what they do to the environment, and some appear to be not much more than a bottle of chemicals with a marketing label on. And more scientifically-speaking, research by University College Dublin has shown that these new ‘co-formulants” also harm bees. Organic liquids like a mix of white vinegar with a bit of salt work well on grass and broadleaved plants – as does a hoe, a rake, or the new weed burners too.

Or best of all leaving plants to flower and appreciating their beauty and their role in a healthy ecosystem.   

Proposed hedge removal plans will harm wildlife

woman in hedges

Vital wildlife habitats will not be adequately protected under proposed new Development & Planning Authority laws.

The DPA is proposing an overhaul of what types of development work can go ahead without having to apply for planning permission and this is set to be debated in the States next week.

An addition to this list is the removal of a hedge or part of a hedge, as long as it is replaced by new planting of native species within two months. Scant conditions have been set – in that it must not be done during nesting season, from 1 March to 31 July.

But the DPA doesn’t seem to have considered that hedges are a food source in their timing recommendations for hedge replacement.

It’s good that the DPA has thought about birds nesting, which is great, but what about autumn, when birds rely on berries to get through the winter and when one of the only food sources for pollinators is a flowering ivy hedge?

‘The proposal should include the best time to replace a hedge – December to February.’

We the Pollinator Project do applaud the DPA for including the term ‘native species’ in the proposed legislation but said the document would be improved by the inclusion of a list of allowable plants.

This may hopefully stop the bad habit of property developers putting in the cheapest non-native hedge like the awful Griselinia that has almost no use to wildlife.

Another concern for us is the apparent green light for property owners to do away with old hedges.

Does the DPA mean it’s OK to remove a dead hedge or one people just don’t like the look of – one that could be brilliant for wildlife?

The proposal also doesn’t say people have to replace the hedge with one of the same size. As hedges have twice the carbon sequestration properties of trees due to their shape, we could lose carbon sequestration properties for years if we lose many big hedges and they are replaced with tiddly plants that take years to grow.

Hedges get better over time. They start off being a man-made thing and grow into a natural mini ecosystem.

We’d never advocate the removal of an old, tangled hedge.

We praise the DPA’s proposals to save resources and cut red tape, she said, but this should never be at the expense of the environment.

Perhaps the States would like to see our alternative wording:

‘A dead hedge within domestic curtilage that is deemed no longer useful to wildlife by the DPA/approved environmental agent can be replaced by a Guernsey native species of the same size, from the DPA approved list, that has been grown with pesticide-free, peat-free methods’.

Read the full Guernsey Press article

Tell us your thoughts 

Pollinator-themed art exhibition flys high

Local artist Bridget Spinney has curated a pollinator-themed art exhibition in conjunction with the Pollinator Project.

Thirty local artists have contributed a piece of pollinator-inspired art to raise awareness of the role bees, butterflies, hoverflies, wasps and moths have in our food and in nature, and to inspire more people to act to protect them.

Mrs Spinney has contributed to the collection.

Her work is a large collection of organic prints in the shape of a butterfly.

The theme of her work is a celebration of the organic world. She uses leaves, flowers, plantains and more to create the impression of a beautiful pollinator.

‘My work is printed in pollinator plants, and I hope it makes people realise that even here in Guernsey, our insects are in crisis. I hope it makes people think about keeping the habitat safe for these important insects,’ she said.

The 30 pieces of art feature a wide variety of media and were created to form a wide range of commentary about environmentalism, pollinators and climate change.

Read the full article here

Chouet’s Orange-legged furrow bees could be at risk

Barry Wells - Pollinator Project co-founder

Bee species that are rare in Guernsey could be at risk if quarrying starts at Chouet headland.

Our founder and local bee expert Barry Wells said: ‘While modern quarrying does factor in environmental concerns and a bit of off-setting measures, if quarrying at Chouet goes ahead, there’s still a risk of losing important pollinating insects including rare bees that are probably only found on this headland,’ he said.

The Pollinator Project is concerned for the viability of two bee populations at Chouet headland should plans progress to begin quarrying there.

The bee species found on the headland include the Potter flower bee (anthophora retusa), which is now extremely rare in the UK, but widespread at Chouet, and the orange-legged furrow bee (lasioglossum xanthopus), which is very rare and declining in the UK.

The Environment & Infrastructure (E&I) committee has decided – by a majority – to recommend the establishment of a new quarry at the Vale headland, once the current quarry at Les Vardes has been exhausted, which is expected to be in 2023.

In its policy letter, the committee admits that the plan would result in ‘unavoidable localised ecological and environmental impacts’ but argues that this can be offset by measures elsewhere to enhance biodiversity. E&I president Lindsay De Sausmarez has said she would like to see off-setting measures – known as biodiversity net gain – being focused on the immediate area as far as possible.

Quarrying company Ronez has verbally committed to protect the perimeter of the site, along the public coastal footpaths – which may protect the bee habitats – unless they are disturbed by the rock blasting noise, dust and vibrations.

Mr Wells agrees: ‘I think that if we can preserve the habitat around the periphery of the headland, which should be possible, these insects will survive,’ he said. ‘But I am  concerned that the impact on pollinators may be difficult to mitigate if this precaution is not taken.’

‘Some people naively think bees will just move, but they live at that site because it’s best for them and if machinery destroys their nests, that may wipe out an already precious bee population,’ he said.

‘We need to protect those areas that are vital for wildlife’.

The Pollinator Project has also requested that the environmental impact assessment report covers invertebrates and takes into account the local knowledge of the sighting of these bees – not recorded anywhere else in Guernsey.

More news…