Zoe Ball reveals the winner of Radio 2’s Big Bee Challenge is… 10 year-old Izabella from Hampshire!

Today on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, Zoe announced that Izabella Zogaj, aged 10 from Hampshire, is the winner of Radio 2’s Big Bee Challenge competition to design a bee-friendly garden

"Huge congratulations to Izabella - her garden design is simply gorgeous, packed full of beautiful bee-loving plants, a wildlife pond and even a seating area. I can’t wait to see her reaction when she sees her garden in real life!" — Zoe Ball


BBC Radio 2

Izabella Zogaj will see her newly built garden unveiled at an outside broadcast of The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, coming live from Doncaster on Friday 20 August (6.30am-9.30am) where guests will include Adam Frost, Dr Bee - aka biologist Professor Dave Goulson - with music from Ella Henderson.

Radio 2’s Big Bee Challenge is a brand new initiative that launched in June this year with the aim of shining a light on the plight of our bee population which is in decline, with some species in danger of extinction in the UK. Children aged six-12 years old were asked to design a garden that would attract bees and other pollinating insects. Award-winning gardener and one of the judges of the competition, Adam Frost, adapted Izabella’s design into a plan for the site, which is at an NHS Trust in Doncaster that is used by children and young people with mental health needs. It has been built there by a team led by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Zoe Ball says: “Huge congratulations to Izabella - her garden design is simply gorgeous, packed full of beautiful bee-loving plants, a wildlife pond and even a seating area. I can’t wait to see her reaction when she sees her garden in real life tomorrow morning at a special outside broadcast of The Breakfast Show in Doncaster!”

Izabella says: "I really enjoyed designing the garden for the competition as it combined my love of drawing and nature. I was amazed to hear I was one of the 20 finalists and I am so happy that my design has been chosen to be created. I cannot wait to see it in real life!"

Helen Thomas, Head of Radio 2, says: “Everyone at Radio 2 pulled together to spread the news about our Big Bee Challenge, which attracted thousands of entries. I’m so proud of every child who was inspired to find out about bees, plants and wildlife to design their brilliantly imaginative gardens, which were filled to the brim with colourful flowers, water features, bee hotels and so much more. Well done Izabella and the Top 20 finalists, and also to our wonderful judging panel and our partners at The Royal Horticultural Society.”

Another of the Big Bee Challenge competition’s judge’s is television presenter and farmer, Jimmy Doherty, who says: “Judging BBC Radio 2’s Big Bee Challenge has been truly wonderful. The imagination and ingenuity of all the applicants has been breathtaking - making judging extremely difficult. This year’s winner encapsulated everything that the judges were looking for, displaying exceptional talents - truly outstanding!”

For her prize - as well as her garden being built - Izabella receives a box of gardening and nature goodies from the RHS, an illustrated and framed version of her garden design and an extra special chat with the stars of one of her favourite TV shows, BBC Two’s Your Garden Made Perfect. The remaining 19 finalists receive a box of gardening and Radio 2 goodies.

Professor Dave Goulson, Radio 2’s Dr Bee and specialist in bee ecology at the University of Sussex, says: “It is fantastic to think that thousands of children have been busy thinking what they can do to help bees. Many of the entries were wonderfully imaginative, so much so that it was almost impossible to choose just one. The winning entry was beautifully and cleverly planned, providing a welcoming space for both bees and people - I can’t wait to see it brought to life and buzzing with bees!”

Radio 2’s Big Bee Challenge aimed to encourage listeners of all ages to help create a better environment to support bees and other pollinating insects. It has been run in partnership with The Royal Horticultural Society, whose garden experts led the team building Izabella’s winning design, and their RHS Campaign for School Gardening team engaged with schools during the summer term to help children discover why bees are important and what they could include in their garden designs to support them.

Additionally, during Big Bee Challenge Weekend on Saturday 31 July and Sunday 1 August, from Dermot O’Leary’s show to Liza Tarbuck, Elaine Paige and Paul O’Grady the bees were buzzing all over Radio 2 with themed interviews, conservation tips and tricks and a bee-themed playlist, as listeners were encouraged to do one thing, large or small, to help the bees wherever they live. Many of them shared pictures on social media of their children's garden designs, flowers they'd planted after hearing tips on Radio 2, bee sightings in their gardens, their homemade 'bee hotels', and pictures of bees drinking sugar water that they were helping to save!

BBC Sounds launched a new podcast, Bees In A Pod, hosted by comedian Rob Beckett, celebrating our buzzing buddies. It features celebrity guests, stories of heroic efforts to save our pollinators, and offers an entertaining insight into the fascinating world of bees.

The Big Bee Challenge was produced by Rebecca Maxted for BBC Audio North.

Source BBC Radio 2

August 20, 2021 4:00am ET by BBC Radio 2  

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