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Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia

by Pontis Foundation
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Help save bees and beekeeping in Slovakia
Our newly finished apiary
Our newly finished apiary

How we were building our apiary
It was a long journey of drawing, designing, permissions, papers, offices, managing and at the end hard and honest work.

The result is ready and worth the effort. You can see the whole process in this short video. It’s accelerated and fast just as the flight of the bumblebee.

Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/pPkj7-ZCowI

Thank you! Without your help and your kind donations our Apiary would had been just a dream, thanks to you its real. In the next article we will tell you about the journey of building the Apiary and how your donations have been used.

Children in beekeepers suits had great fun
Children in beekeepers suits had great fun

Since the end of April, the doors of our educational apiary were open to anyone who wanted to learn more about honey bees.  Honey bees are an important and irreplaceable part of our food chain. Did you know that honey bees are responsible for every third bite of food we eat?  Also, more than 80% of plants are directly dependent on pollination that is done mainly by honey bees. Thus, a major decrease of insect pollinators might have dramatic influence on our biodiversity and related economic activities. Without a doubt, honeybees are very important for us. That is the main message we want to give to the visitors of our educational center.     

    
This year, we hosted many field trips for children; through high school, but mostly between the ages of 6 – 14. Some of the children were quite scared at the beginning and they didn’t know what to expect.  But, after putting on safe beekeeper suits they had great fun.  They had even more fun when we took them to see a close-up look of the life of a honey bee colony. Children forgot about their fears and were fascinated by the number and diligence of these small creatures. We also gave many honey tastings to our young visitors, which is usually the most interesting part for the kids in our program. This year, we had tried something new in our method of education and it seems to be working really well for both sides of the educational process. We included games, team work and sport activities in teaching children. We had a lot of fun and the children didn’t even notice how much they learned about the life of honey bees, about pollination and other useful insects during the different games.

     
Also new this year to our educational apiary is the expansion of our program from honeybees to a chicken coop, Indian runner ducks and a few sheep. Are you wondering how all of these useful animals relates to honeybees? So did the children from the M.R. Štefánik elementary school in Lucenec. Through a series of regular meetings, we introduced them to life on a farm.  They had a wonderful chance to learn something new and useful by participating in building on the farm and in taking care of the landscape in an environmentally friendly way. In addition, we took them to the forest, meadows and pastures so they could see what happens to the landscape when it is not managed properly. They learned what animals can help in landscape protection and, in doing so, providing diverse food sources for bees. Together, we created colorful flower beds for attracting pollinators and did some useful gardening.

               
During the summer we hosted a few summer camps with children from the whole country. In addition, we had visitors from further destinations like Nigeria, Korea, Ecuador, France and India. Almost all of our weekends during the seasons were packed with beekeeping courses for beginners.  It was really nice to see how many people care and are willing to help honey bees. We had almost 60 volunteers that helped us prepare the space for our most hoped for and most difficult project so far – building a small environmental center. Literally, from the beginning of this season we were dealing with obtaining different kinds of permissions and plans for the building itself.  At the end of the month, we will finally start with constructing.  The small building will be a big help.  It will have sheltered space for lectures and workshops in any weather so we don’t have to cancel any of our scheduled programs because of rain. This is a huge step for us and will help us move forward to improve our program for our visitors.

     
While the construction of the center is in the beginning stage, our beekeeping season at apiary is finished for this year. We continue to work with children at the elementary school in Lucenec in our beekeeping class that is running its third year already. Each year we have more and more students; which is a good sign for us. So far, it has been a busy season.  Though it isn’t even finished, we are looking forward to next season; when we will operate in our new environmental and educational center. If you like our project, please support us.

Honey tasting is preferred activity :)
Honey tasting is preferred activity :)
Kids learned a lot about pollinators
Kids learned a lot about pollinators
Pupils from M.R. Stefanik school
Pupils from M.R. Stefanik school
Introduction to life on farm
Introduction to life on farm
Together we created colorful color beds
Together we created colorful color beds
We had visitors even from Nigeria, India or Korea
We had visitors even from Nigeria, India or Korea
Building a small enviromental center
Building a small enviromental center
Beekeping class is running for the 3rd year now
Beekeping class is running for the 3rd year now

Since 2013 we have been among the lucky ones whose hobby and passion become their job.

Our main activity consists indeed in connecting bees, people and education.

Although beekeeping in our a family is a tradition that started in 1945, it was not always clear that we will always be able to carry on this passion forever. The story of our non-governmental organization kRaj is in fact fascinating.

One of its founders - David - has grown up with bees. He had helped and learnt about beekeeping since his early childhood, because with up to 100 beehives, every helping hand was needed. But instead of helping at the apiary he preferred hanging out with friends and playing, like most kids his age. That is why for quite a long time he saw beekeeping as a necessity and bees as stinging insects, rather than as an interesting hobby and a useful insect. Everything changed when David´s father grew old. Due to his lack of force, he had to quit beekeeping. So David came to the decision to continue the beekeeping tradition. Indeed, as he became older, he started to appreciate this activity more and more.

First he decided to help his farther with selling honey. So we created a label and sold the honey directly to customers at different art and craft festivals. This is when we realized that knowledge about honey and bees among the general public is pretty low. We often got questions about how bees made honey and how they live. Sometimes we even experienced big mistakes from people who would for instance think that the bumblebee is the male of the honey bee, or that our honey comes from the supermarket. We then had the feeling that we needed to tell the people how important bees are for our daily lives.

They had to realize that almost 90% of the food we eat is pollinated by insects and that every third bite is pollinated directly by honey bees. 

So in 2013 our project “Vcelí kRaj” (Bee landscape/Bee paradise) came to life. We established an educational apiary in the middle of Slovakia that since its opening has become quite popular and was visited by almost 2500 visitors.

A lot of schools are coming to our apiary. Children receive beekeeping suits and can experience the job of a beekeeper. We want them to become bee-friendly and to overcome their fear of bees. They receive important information about pollination and useful insects, always by playing and in a friendly environment. We also teach them how to help bees by creating bee-friendly environments and how bees contribute to our biodiversity.

Our last message is very important for the future of beekeeping. In addition to produce a varied natural environment and honey, bees are also highly profitable. Indeed, we also work with marginalized communities (for instance people with mental or physical handicap, Roma people or long-term unemployed people.) These communities where taught how to keep bees, and together we established 22 new apiaries. This is a good way for these people to earn some little money and get some honey for their families. We also taught them how to process other bee products like bee wax or propolis into unique handcrafted gift products so they can sell them and earn some little extra too. We believe bees are important for our environment, biodiversity, nutrition and also a good source of social entrepreneurship.

They are our irreplaceable helpers. BEES ARE THE BE(E)ST!

That’s why we want to build the first environmental center focused on bees and pollination in Slovakia. We have to promote this feeling towards more and more people!

Thanks to your donations, we are able to create a display apiary with bee friendly gardens where people can learn everything from the fascinating life of pollinators, and get useful hints how to help and protect them. We are very ambitious about our actions, and that is why we need even more help!

 

A good meal thanks to pollinators!
A good meal thanks to pollinators!

On May 21st, we participated in Restaurant Day and made our clients discover all sorts of bee-friendly and bee-inspired meals.

We believe that the best way to a man´s heart is through his stomach, which is why thanks to this international event we decided to educate people via food.

We can easily teach the importance of bees and other pollinators by showing that without them, we wouldn´t be able to eat one quarter of the food we enjoy daily. We chose to present people with two different menus: one with ingredients which need to be pollinated, and the second with only ingredients that don´t need to be pollinated. Of course, the second menu remains edible, but we would get tired very fast to always eat those simple pieces of food. Pollination allows changes and variety. The menu made thanks to pollinators was of course way tastier and nutritive than the second one.

We think that this type of action can settle new behavior and can make people want to protect the gift of nature bees are.

Thanks to your donations, we are able to educate more and more people and carry on different kind of activities, from our regular workshops aimed at children and families, to this type of one-time event.

Along with the food, we set up observation beehives, so as to also offer information about our daily work.

We hope to see you again next year for Restaurant Day, and in the meantime we will keep you updated on our ideas to always inform more about the importance of bees.

 

 

Getting familiar with the beehive :)
Getting familiar with the beehive :)
Families came to discover our work
Families came to discover our work
The youngest generation is the key to save bees
The youngest generation is the key to save bees
No bees would also mean no wine...
No bees would also mean no wine...
 

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Organization Information

Pontis Foundation

Location: Bratislava, Slovakia - Slovakia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Marek Chalány
program coordinator for individual philantropy
Bratislava, Slovakia
$1,372 raised of $5,000 goal
 
46 donations
$3,628 to go
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