BBC Radio 2 have launched a competition in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) called the Big Bee Challenge.


The Big Bee Challenge is open to children, between the ages of 6 and 12, to design a “bright, buzzy garden that will attract bees and other pollinating insects.”

The winning design will then be built by the RHS at an NHS Trust site used by children and young people with mental health needs, and the winner will be invited to the open the garden during an outdoor broadcast of The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on Friday 20 August 2021.

Shortlisted finalists will also receive some bee-themed goodies.

Children entering the competition need to paint, sketch or draw a garden that is designed with bees and pollinating insects in mind, as well as humans using the garden, and to write three to five sentences about their design.

Following on from the Big Bee Challenge, there will also be a Big Bee Challenge Weekend on Saturday 31 July and Sunday 1 August, where Radio 2 will encourage everyone to do just one thing in their garden, window box or outdoor spare for pollinating insects. There will also be supporting events around the UK, run by organisations such as the National Garden Scheme and the National Trust. Listeners can download a Big Bee Challenge poster from the BBC Radio 2 website to colour in and stick in their front window, to let people know they're taking part.

In addition to the Challenge, a new BBC Sounds podcast will air weekly from July, called Bees In A Pod, which will celebrate bees and other pollinating insects. The podcast will feature celebrity guests, fascinating insights into the world of bees, and stories of people saving our pollinators.

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“I’m positively buzzing about the Big Bee Challenge, it’s such an exciting new initiative for Radio 2,” says presenter Zoe Ball. “Our younger listeners can draw, paint or sketch a picture to show their design for a fabulous garden that will attract bees and insects, and we will build the winning entry. How fantastic is that!”

“And anyone can get involved in Big Bee Challenge Weekend by doing something, however small, to help encourage more bees in our outside spaces. Knowing just how important the plight of bees is, I feel so passionate about this campaign - it's already got me thinking about what I can do for them in my garden!”

Find out more about the competition, and how to submit a design on the Big Bee Challenge website.

The closing date for entries is 6pm on Monday 5 July 2021. Entries can be sent via an online entry, or using a postal entry form.


Main image: Zoe Ball with nasturtiums. © Joseph Sinclair/BBC


Megan ShersbyNaturalist, writer and content creator