Bees, flies and flowers: the ecology of pollination and why it matters

Bursaries are available for this course - find out if you qualify for funding

There is limited accommodation available at Madingley Hall for this course. If your preferred accommodation choice is not available, please contact our Registration Team on +44 (0)1223 746262.

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Please note that this course has started or is now finished and enrolment may no longer be possible.

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Are you worried about the plight of wild bees and other pollinators? These insects provide a crucial service pollinating crops and wildflowers. Yet there is widespread concern about their decline. This course will teach you how to identify and monitor common pollinators such as bumblebees and hoverflies, how to measure their importance to flowers, and how you can contribute to pollinator conservation.

You will learn to assess your own garden for its value to pollinators. You will try out practical techniques used in pollination ecology, including preparing a pollen sample for microscopic examination and measuring insect behaviour. Expect to go home with an entirely different view of flowerbeds and road verges.

Course programme

Friday 26 June 2015

Please plan to arrive between 16:30 and 18:30. You can meet other course members in the bar which opens at 18:15. Tea and coffee making facilities are available in the study bedrooms.

19:00 Dinner
20:30 Insects that love flowers: an introduction to wild pollinators and why they matter
22:00 Terrace bar open for informal discussion

Saturday 27 June 2015

07:30 Breakfast
09:00 Getting the buzz: identifying and monitoring British Bumblebees.
10:30 Coffee
11:00 The whole plant-pollinator network
12:30 Free
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Optional field trip to see the bee borders at the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens (weather permitting)
16:00 Tea
16:30 Laboratory session: a chance to try out the skills of a pollination ecologist. Pin and identify pollinator specimens and the pollen they are carrying
18:00 Free
18:30 Dinner
20:00 Flowers that love insects: entomophily, the pollination service and how to measure it.
21:30 Terrace bar open for informal discussion

Sunday 28 June 2015

07:30 Breakfast
09:00 The night shift: collecting moths from the moth trap. Can we find out what they were pollinating?
10:30 Coffee
11:00 Pollinator conservation – why are they declining and what can be done to help?
12:30 Free
12:45 Lunch

The course will disperse after lunch.


pdf Application form

pdf Welcome to Madingley

pdf Syllabus and reading and resource list


Unless otherwise stated, teaching and assessment for ICE courses are in English. Students whose first language is not English should refer to the Competence in the English Language Policy for further guidance.

Printable versions of our brochures are available to download from the Institute Publications page.

Bursaries available

You could be eligible for one of the following bursary awards:

  • Cambridge University Press (CUP) Bursary (£100) – if you teach at a UK state school or state-funded further education institution.

Apply for a bursary

Find out more about bursary funding

Pre-enrolment information

Information about studying with ICE

Book now

To book on this course please download the application form or contact us directly:

pdf Download application form

Write to us

Admissions Team
Madingley Hall
United Kingdom
CB23 8AQ

Call us

01223 746262

Email us

Course details

Start date

26 June 2015 (19:00)

End date

28 June 2015 (14:00)

Course code



1 weekend


Institute of Continuing Education
University of Cambridge
Madingley Hall, Madingley
United Kingdom
CB23 8AQ

Accommodation fees

Single room: £120
Double/Twin room (per person, 2 people sharing): £100

Qualifications / Credits




Did you know that bursaries are available for this course?

  • Cambridge University Press (CUP) Bursary (£100) – if you teach at a UK state school or state-funded further education institution.

Please note that you cannot retrospectively apply for a bursary.