On Thursday the 19th of September the annual meeting of the NL Pollinator Strategy ‘Bed & Breakfast for Bees’ took place in the city of Tilburg (the Netherlands). Policy-makers, ecologists and other interested parties came together to discuss the future of bees and other pollinating species.
In the Netherlands, bees are of crucial importance for the pollination of crops. Providing a habitat for bees is essential and adds to our own well-being and business environment. Hence the motto: ‘a great economy is nothing without a great ecology’. During the meeting, partners of the NL Pollinator Strategy informed and inspired each other.
The morning programme consisted of several excursions to natural areas, beekeepers and agricultural businesses. After that Mario Jacobs, host and alderman of Tilburg, opened the afternoon programme: “If you wish to be a city that is both attractive and competitive, you have to be green as well.” Among other things, the municipality of Tilburg invests in ecological management of its roadsides, and uses native perennial plants by preference.
Happy bee happy me
Beefoundation, the winner of the hackathon ‘Big data 4 bees’, presented the game ‘Happy bee happy me’. This objective of this game is to raise awareness in youths about the importance of creating suitable living areas for bees. Players can photograph a plant and find out which bee species favours it and which obstacles bees encounter. Like this, players can earn points for vouchers with which they can buy real plants. “Putting the right plant at the right spot” makes the difference, according to the game-developers. The game is not only suitable for youths, but also for greenkeepers. Happy bee happy me will go up shortly on www.bee-foundation.nl.
Look through the eyes of a bee
Partners Donne Slangen (Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality), Eric Kiers (BASF), Koos Biesmeijer (Naturalis Biodiversity Center) en Titia Wolterbeek (Butterfly foundation) together discussed the importance of the pollinator strategy and what has to be done to really make a difference.
Slangen pointed out that approximately 10% of the Netherlands consists of nature. According to him we have to broaden our view when we want to strengthen nature. “Bring nature closer, because when something gets close to you, you will learn to appreciate it.” The coming period, Biesmeijer will invest in measuring the effectiveness of the initiatives within the pollinator strategy. Are we together doing enough to counteract bee-mortality, or is there still room for improvement?
Kiers told about a project in Drenthe (a province in the Netherlands) in which tests are done to find out which mixtures of seeds foster biodiversity in field borders. Wolterbeek explained how the ‘colour mark’ helps to take into account the value of biodiversity in tenders. And, at the end, she encouraged everyone to look through the eyes of a bee.
This year the NL Pollinator Strategy welcomed a few new partners. Among them are the Rabobank, IVN Natuureducatie (natural education), the Food4Bees Foundation and a few tree growers and municipalities.