VANDALS have been convicted for destroying part of a recently completed nature conservation project in Ellesmere aimed at protecting endangered bees in North Shropshire.
A wooden column designed to create a safe haven for solitary bees along the seafront in Ellesmere was demolished over the weekend, just days after volunteers finished building it.
The nectar-rich flowering plants around the pile of logs were flattened in the weekend attack which was described as ‘senseless’.
But a large willow sculpture of a Wood Carder Bumblebee, which forms the centerpiece of the ‘bee metropolis’, was undamaged.
The project was carried out in partnership with the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative, a voluntary arts group that has developed a popular sculpture trail through Cremorne Gardens and around other parts of the town, including the quay and canal.
A spokesperson for the sculpture group said: “It is disappointing and disheartening when a worthwhile project like this is subjected to utterly senseless vandalism.
“Whoever caused this damage clearly does not care for the tireless efforts of those dedicated to improving our sea, saving its wildlife and encouraging more visitors to come and enjoy the delights of this nice place.
“We can only hope that the manager comes to learn the importance of community programs like this, which benefit everyone.”
First erected seven years ago, the eye-catching creation called Lone Bee, had recently been restored by environmental artist Caroline Lowe of Llanymynech after being removed from the site 18 months ago due to weather damage .
Volunteers working with the Shropshire Council campaign team relocated the artwork last week, with new planting around the area to develop the right conditions for bees to thrive amid vast beds of annual flowers cornfields and beds of perennial wildflowers.
New information boards have been placed in the area, giving visitors more details about the project, the different varieties of bees and the flowers they depend on for their survival.
Shaun Burkey, campaign and heritage sites manager for Shropshire Council (north), said he was determined that vandalism would not undermine the aims of the project.
He said: “The idea is to raise awareness of the plight of our bees, to show people that there are different types of bees and to encourage everyone to do their part to protect them by planting flowers rich in nectar such as lavender, thyme, borage and phacelia in their own gardens.