Environment &  healthy living     2020


Sept 20 Conference at Rothamsted Research for Academics, Company CEO’s and Scientists PLUS 4 year 13 Geographers from Roundwood Park School

OCT 2019. Climate Action at Roundwood Park School

With the climate emergency currently at the forefront of everyone’s conscience, thanks to the campaign by Extinction Rebellion it came to our attention that Roundwood as a school could be doing more to improve our own environment.

This led to a group of Year 13s passionate about climate change, along with the help of Mrs Eburn, putting together the school’s first Climate Action Group! We are essentially an eco-committee for the school, fighting for changes to be made not only within Roundwood itself, but also into the local community. It is a group entirely student-led, with the Environment Captains and other enthusiastic sixth formers chairing the weekly meetings. We held our first meeting this week with good interest, but want to spread the message further to get as many people involved as possible!

As part of this group, we want to work toward achieving the Eco-Schools Award. This initially involves members of the group completing an environmental review of a school, addressing ten key areas: biodiversity, energy, healthy living, school grounds, global citizenship, litter, marine life, water, waste and transport. After completing these surveys, an action plan is put into place, aiming to focus on the elements of the school that require improvement. An eco-code is then created, outlining how all students can reduce their environmental impacts in the school. This hopes to educate everyone on how all individual actions, however small, can have an immense positive impact!

Other environmental improvements continue to be made in the school, with our Environment Captains (S. Barr and T. Marsh) recently removing all single-use plastic cups and cutlery from the canteen. There has also been a big push on bringing in your own water bottle to further reduce the school’s plastic consumption. A total number of five new recycling bins have been added around the school, showing we are definitely moving in the right direction!

Rothamsted scientists working in collaboration to find out what makes the varroa parasite of honey bees resistant to chemical treatment.

One of the biggest problems facing honey bees, the parasitic mite Varroa destructor (varroa) is now found almost worldwide and usually kills untreated hives within three years. For varroa control, many beekeepers use the chemical tau-fluvalinate, marketed as Apistan®, but its effectiveness has been in decline since the mid­­-1990s. Scientists studying varroa mites collected from Florida and Georgia, USA, have identified two new mutations that give the parasites resistance to tau-fluvalinate.

The discovery of the two mutations enables testing of varroa populations to determine whether control with tau-fluvalinate will be effective. The research was carried out by scientists working in Spain, the USA and Germany in collaboration with a team at Rothamsted Research, which is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The study is published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

Joel González-Cabrera, scientist at Rothamsted Research who led the study, said: “We identified the mutations in a known hot-spot for pyrethroid resistance on the sodium channel protein—a region proposed as the binding site for these compounds. Together with our previous work on European mites, this finding allows us to develop diagnostic screening tests to analyse individual mites for the presence or absence of the mutations. The diagnostic test should help beekeepers to decide whether to use pyrethroid-based chemicals to control this highly damaging parasite.”

How important are Honey Bees to our everyday lives?

  1. 1• Honeybees, together with other types of bees and pollinating insects, increase the yields of about 75% of the crop species grown worldwide

  2. 2· The value of pollination performed by these insects has been estimated at €153 billion per year

Important facts about Honey Bees and Honey

  1. 1·The number of honeybee hives in Europe declined by 16% between 1985-2005. In the USA colony numbers dropped 61% between 1947-2008.

  2. 2·Honey is nectar that bees have repeatedly regurgitated and dehydrated

  3. 3·A single hive contains approximately 40,000-45,000 bees

  4. 4· A queen can lay her weight in eggs in one day and 200,000 eggs in a year

  5. 5·The queen mates in flight with approximately 18 drones. She only mates once in her lifetime

  6. 6·Honeybees communicate with one another by 'dancing' so as to give the direction and distance of flowers

  7. 7·The Varroa mite is a major pest species of the honey bee

  8. 8·In the course of her lifetime, a worker bee will produce 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey

  9. 9·To make one pound of honey, workers in a hive fly 55,000 miles and tap two million flowers

Ownership of Rothamsted Park and some other green spaces in Harpenden is to be transferred to the Town Council at no cost.

St Albans City and District Council (SADC), which currently owns and manages the community assets, agreed to the change at a meeting of its Cabinet on Thursday 19 March.

Harpenden Town Council will also take over open spaces at Wood End, Oakley Road, Parva Close and Roundwood Lane.

SADC has a policy of allowing such transfers to the District’s parishes where there is no detriment to the Council or residents.

There will be no purchase price and any savings made from SADC’s budget will be passed on to Harpenden residents through their share of Council Tax.

The deal is subject to a number of issues that will need to be resolved before the transfer is finalised.

These include whether to exclude Harpenden Town football club’s site in Rothamsted Park in the new arrangement.

SADC will also ask for a written commitment from HTC to maintain Rothamsted Park as an open space and not to develop the land to any significant extent.

Cllr Brian Ellis, Town Mayor of Harpenden, said: “We are excited at the prospect of owning these community assets and thank St Albans City and District Council for agreeing to our request

Aug 2020. Clean, Clean and Green.

Harpenden’s MP Bim Afolami has announced his intentions to ensure that we have cleaner air, cleaner living and cleaner transport going forward over the next 5 years and beyond.This will mean a large increase in the use of electric cars, much more cycling and strengthening the Green Belt.

1.He is working on how to develop a network of fast charge points across the constituency within 3 years combined  with incentives for local people to buy electric cars.

  1. 2.Making cycling safe in Harpenden and the connecting towns and villages will require a 5 year plan to develop a full network of cycle routes; expanding the length of the Nickey Line and financing a network of local electric bikes that anyone can use.

3. He spoke recently with the Prime Minister who stressed to him the clear importance of protecting the Green Belt in areas like ours. He will working on a proposal  in the run up to the Autumn Budget for the Government to help Harpenden fund the planting of more trees.

All of these objectives will be managed with the help of  private sector partners, campaigners from Wheathampstead inc County Councillor Annie Brewster and many others.

Follow Harpendia for ongoing announcements from Bim

AUG 2020.  Ownership deal now suspended by HTC ollowing disagreement on purchase prices previously agreed by SADC.

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