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Bees for Development helps some of the world’s poorest people become self-sufficient through bee-keeping. All their work is based on the understanding of the inter-linked and sustaining relationship between bees and flowering plants. Plants provide bees with a bountiful supply of free nectar in exchange for the pollination services that ultimately underpin the production of fruits, nuts and oilseeds on which humans and wildlife depend for food. When they started work in 1993, bee-keeping was considered a marginal activity, and they struggled to get our point across. They knew the importance of bees in helping to make marginal livelihoods more resilient and successful. Yet not everyone shared their vision! All of their work is aimed at promoting bee-keeping to change people’s lives for the better while supporting ecosystem integrity. Beekeeping is not just one of their areas of expertise – it is what they all do, all day, every day. Most of them are beekeepers, they talk to beekeepers, they implement bee-keeping projects; they read the research, follow global developments and question, puzzle and think about what really works, for whom and why. A unique feature of Bees for Development is the way they stick to the principles of natural bee-keeping. They recognise that for poor people, nature is wealth. In bee-keeping this means using the natural behaviour and immune responses of bees to keep them healthy. Above all, they recognise that beekeepers in difficult environments need to be empowered with access to skills, knowledge, information and connections. Bees for Development started life as an organisation delivering information, and this aspect of their work remains at our core. Their full range of information services can be accessed through their Resource Centre. There you can find all the past issues of Bees for Development Journal and how to subscribe to future editions – free of charge to beekeepers in poor nations, and you can search their online library, access their manuals, guides and fact sheets. Users’ enquiries will be answered by their team of specialists. Their emphasis on building local capacity permeates every aspect of their work. They always work with local partner organisations and this partnership working is effective, lasting and impactful. Their work is based upon the interdependent and sustaining relationships between bees, and flowering plants and people – through the craft of bee-keeping. Plants provide bees with bountiful nectar in exchange for their pollination service, which enables the production of fruits and seeds on which humans and wildlife depend for food. The supply of nectar – transformed into honey comb – is often so plentiful that a surplus can be harvested and sold as honey and beeswax without harming this essential system. Bees for Development recognises that the exploitation of this bee-plant relationship – otherwise known as bee-keeping – can be done in a way that is wholly self-sustaining and beneficial. In pursuit of the Sustainable Development Agenda, humans face huge challenges to reduce the negative trade-offs between meeting people’s needs and conserving ecosystems. Beekeeping is an activity that delivers only positive synergies, yielding income for beekeepers and pollination services for life on land. Beekeepers know that their bees need plants to thrive, and hence are champions of floral diversity and conservation. In short, bee-keeping supports people and nature!

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The four main initiatives of IBCP are: Research - This aspect of IBCP continues from the initial research described above and is focussed on the Varroa mite parasite, which is the greatest threat to Ireland’s native honeybee. This study and breeding programme will be entering it’s 5th year at our dedicated research apiaries and laboratory during 2020. Results have been encouraging, where selected colonies are now showing tolerance of the Varroa mite through the expression of natural traits contained within the bee’s genome. Habitat Support - One of the main reasons for the diminishing numbers of certain species of Irish bees have been the reduction in foraging and nesting sites throughout the country. During 2019 the IBCP began a programme to combat this effect and established 20 specially designed “Bee Lodges” to provide shelter and breeding facilities for all species of Irish bees. These lodges were erected in large trees in Fota Wildlife Park and on farms in county Waterford. Wild bees are currently occupying these shelters and will propagate over winter and next year to increase the relevant populations. The target for 2020 is to establish a further 80 lodges in other locations throughout these counties. The Research project will feed directly into Habitat Support, as native honeybees with increased Varroa tolerance will have greater survival rates in the wild when introduced to the “Bee Lodges”. Biodiversity - Along with the reduction of wild nesting locations across the country, the reduction in foraging sites has led to a significant loss of species and range for some Irish bees. The Great Yellow Bumblebee is an example of this, where 60 years ago this species was prevalent throughout the country, but today it is endangered and found only in certain western counties. The IBCP through an education and networking programme are working to increase floral rich areas which are desirable to our native bee species. This initiative is focussed on creating multiple small areas of floral development in private and public areas and links directly into the Habitat Support initiative. This programme involves liaising with government bodies, businesses, farm groups, community groups, schools, hospitals, universities, eco groups etc. Education - IBCP have established a link with the Royal Microscopical Society to secure the use of teaching microscope kits which can be brought to schools to introduce students, (both junior and secondary) into microscopy, insect biology and specific aspects of insect biology associated with the life and survival of native Irish bees. These programmes will be carried out by IBCP in association with the teachers, who will develop curriculum-based projects such as foraging areas to attract bees and demonstrate how bee pollinators can manipulate and carry the pollen which is necessary for the continued survival of the bees. This initiative will enable the students to visualise the links between the bees they see every day and biology involved in the ongoing survival of these bee species. The added advantage to this education initiative is that the students will encourage their families and friends to support the Biodiversity requirements of our native bee species. In summary, the IBCP is working for the survival, protection and proliferation of Ireland’s native bee species. The four elements of our approach are highly integrated and through our growing network of members we plan to expand our initiatives from Cork and Waterford throughout the country over the coming years.

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The Natural Beekeeping Trust was formed in 2009 in response to the need for an alternative approach to the care of bees. The key aims of the trust are disseminate information about bee-centred, natural beekeeping, develop new understandings and ways of relating to the bee that work with the natural behaviour of the creature rather than the enforced and stressful behaviour seen in conventional, chemical-dependent, beekeeping. The Natural Beekeeping Trust is delighted to be collaborating with partner organisations in Turkey, Holland and Macedonia on a two-year international sustainable beekeeping project funded by Erasmus+. We will document existing practices that​ focus on sustainable and bee-centred husbandry during field visits in partner countries, and will develop online resources and training opportunities for beekeepers and farmers. The Trust is governed by the UK Charity Commission, with which it is registered as a not for profit organisation. We encourage attention to the real nature of bees, their nesting preferences, their forage needs and their all-encompassing purpose. We hope to inspire people to live in peace with the bees, be good hosts to them, guard them and grow for them, in all ways imaginable.

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Anyone can be a Heritage Ambassador. Help take our past into the future. Spread the word and generate revenue. Make heritage your business and earn with your passion for art and culture. ArtAcadia.org is an umbrella organization for everything pertaining to our heritage and respective cultures. Providing a platform for Heritage Ambassadors, to help take our past into the future. We are a passionate community that is compiling a comprehensive global directory and cultural map. Facilitating networking, training, work opportunities, events and marketplace.

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