Silence of the Bees
The extinction of bees threatens our biodiversity, food supply and economy; they ensure pollination of crops. A lot of research is being done, but very little in our region where the loss of biodiversity is almost the highest in the world.
Oldenburg University and VHL Leeuwarden work in collaboration with the Dutch Center for Bee Research, Ökowerk Emden and IMME Bourtanger Moor together with a unique “Citizen Science” project. Children, young people, teachers & their own bumble bee populations in the Ems-Dollard region are deployed to collect data and raise awareness. This data is uploaded by the ‘young researchers’ via the Inspektor B App. The sounds of their bumble bees are also recorded. In collaboration with students from M.A. for Pop Culture (Leeuwarden), Institut für Musik (Oldenburg) and everyone involved, a Bumblebee Rhapsody was composed that was performed simultaneously on 21 June 2018 by local orchestras. The concerts in Buitenpost, Oldenburg and Emden were connected via a satellite connection and could be followed on all locations via large screens. The local and regional population and the public of LF2018 attended this happening en masse.
Buitenpost, Oldenburg and Emden have a tourist attraction thanks to B-RAP: The Oratorio, a sculpture in which visitors are immersed in music generated by bees. The Oratorios are connected to each other via a web application.
All visitor centers are equipped with a Fenster zum Nachbarn touchscreen with microphone and camera. This allows visitors to contact each other. In this way, visitors as well as partners are permanently connected across borders. The Fenster zum Nachbarn system ensures that all spoken words are translated in real time. The system largely removes the knowledge of each other’s language as a barrier to contact.
B-RAP has created lasting cross-border cooperation in the Ems-Dollard region between research institutes, bachelor’s programs and visitor centers. B-RAP is particularly visible through web applications (www.silenceofthebees.eu, www.facebook.com/SilenceoftheBeesEDR, etc.) and public activities. Not only for the hundreds of participating children and young people, but also for the tens of thousands of visitors from the partners and the public of Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018.
During the Silence of the Bees/B-RAP Bee Symposium on 22 September 2018, we joined forces to devise and implement surprising local solutions together to turn the tide for bees and other pollinators. At this symposium inspiring ideas have emerged that form the basis for various BIJENPACTS. To turn the tide, several parties have found that more coherence and cooperation is needed to address this. The signers of the BIJENPACTS note that greater impact can be created by working together, inspiring each other and learning from each other. Interventions that they do themselves are expanded, improved or accelerated in partnerships. The aim of the BIJENPACTS is therefore to create cooperation and cohesion with the parties involved, thus creating a coordinated program to increase the bee population and thus the biodiversity. The individual BIJENPACTS are part of a cooperation agreement.
This has now become a true movement: So far, 35 municipalities, companies (such as Omrin, Wetterskip, Arriva, Landal Greenpark, etc.), nature organisations (such as Staatsbosbeheer, Natuurmonumenten, It Fryske Gea etc.) and the province of Fryslân have signed a pact. The intention is to also introduce the BIJENPACT (Bee Deal) in northwestern Germany in 2020.
An important B-RAP spin-off was started on 1 July 2019 in the form of the large-scale INTERREG NSR project BEESPOKE. With a total budget of € 4.1 million over a period of three and a half years, BEESPOKE brings together a wide range of 16 partners from policymakers, research institutes, advisers and end users from 6 North Sea countries. The general aim of this project is to increase biodiversity with new methods and knowledge and at the same time increase the pollination of food crops by insects by more than 10% and thus create more sustainable and resilient agro-ecosystems.