To show awareness about the importance of bees for the continued existence of life, Ljubljana’s primary and secondary school students turned the Ameriška ulica Street in BTC City Ljubljana into a so-called Sunflower Avenue. Today also marks the beginning of the open days at the Ljubljana urban beehives. Both activities are being carried out as part of the project Help the Bee – Flower-up the City (“Pomagajmo čebelici – Ocvetličimo mesto”), which is being implemented for the fifth year in a row by the City of Ljubljana and BTC with the support of their partners.
On Sunday, May 20, we will celebrate the first ever World Bee Day, which is a huge achievement due to Slovenian effort. Cause for celebration in Slovenia is the report claiming that already every 200th Slovenian is a beekeeper. The question here is whether the Slovenian apiary tradition will also spread to the younger generations. Today, students of primary school OŠ Martina Krpana, primary school OŠ Zadobrova, and secondary school Gimnazija Jožeta Plečnika Ljubljana showed their kindness toward bees as part of the Eco-School programme. More than 50 of them grabbed a hold of some gardening tools and, together with partners in the project Help the Bee – Flower-up the City and under the watchful guidance of Andrej Mramor, horticulture expert from the company Galanthus, planted sunflowers and other honey plants along the Ameriška ulica Street in BTC City Ljubljana. They planted a total of about 1,900 honey plants, among them more than 600 sunflowers.
As a result of Slovenian undertaking, and also thanks to BTC and its partners, beekeeping is gaining visibility in Slovenia and keeps resonating around the world. The purpose of the project Help the Bee – Flower-up the City is to raise awareness about the importance of bees and encourage citizens of Ljubljana to plant honey flowers on their balconies and windowsills. Besides BTC and the City of Ljubljana, the project is supported by the following partners: A1 Slovenija, Medex, Hofer, Minicity Ljubljana, and Semenarna Ljubljana with gardening centres Kalia.
Miha Mermal, director of BTC’s business unit Mission: Green: “BTC has been an active supporter of beekeeping since 2014, when we formed the initiative Help the City Bee (“Pomagajmo čebelici v mestu”) together with our partners. With it, we wanted to draw attention to the importance of the Carniolan honey bee and beekeeping in general. We set up our own beehive on the meadow beside Atlantis Water Park, which has become one of the stops on the Ljubljana Bee Path. This year, we also established a bee monitoring centre and provided the curious with some insight into our urban beehive, to which we will also add the beehives of our partners. We provide favourable conditions for the bees by planting honey plants. Today’s event shows that the younger generations are also aware of the importance of the harmonious coexistence of people and bees.”
Maruška Markovčič, head of the Bee Path project and senior rural development advisor at the Department for Environmental Protection of the City of Ljubljana: “Planting sunflowers and other melliferous perennials nicely rounds off this year’s Help the Bee – Flower-up the City campaign. The inclusion of children in these campaigns is vital, since it helps them develop a positive attitude towards nature right from the beginning. It also helps them to get to know the world and internalise values, such as tolerance, responsibility, mutual help, and a responsible attitude towards the environment and their fellow human beings. The sunflowers will cheer up the passers-by and provide bees with pasture all year long. This makes for a quality living space of different animal species in an urban environment, and consequently strengthens and maintains biodiversity. I appeal to everyone to let the sunflowers and all other plants grow. Those who want such a plant should sow its seeds in their home gardens or in pots on their windowsills.”
Jasna Žaler Culiberg, owner of theme park Minicity Ljubljana: “This is Minicity Ljubljana’s third consecutive year of participating in the project Help the Bee – Flower-up the City. We decided to cooperate once again because a part of the project is aimed at educating children about the importance of bees for our living environment, which goes hand in hand with Minicity’s mission. In our creative miniature city Minicity Ljubljana, we use didactic games with realistic props to help children and their parents familiarise themselves with various professions and activities, which will be useful later in life. We prepare weekly activities in the project implementation period every year, enabling visitors to educate themselves about bees, taste honey, design creative bee-focused projects, get to know various honey plants, learn the bee dance, bake gingerbread biscuits, etc. We strive to educate children about the importance of bees on our planet and, if at all possible, encourage them to help provide enough honey plants for bees to survive in an urban environment in their homes.”
Maja Weinberger, manager at the department for responsible business management and product quality assurance at Hofer: “Bees are extremely valuable for our shared future, which is why we at Hofer started to shine a light on their significance with a number of activities already some years ago. In the scope of our own sustainable initiative Today for Tomorrow (“Danes za jutri”), we raise awareness and adopt measures to create conditions for a better tomorrow, today. It was with pleasure that we supported today’s planting of sunflowers, which will bring a splash of colour to the city and at the same time help the bees. Projects of this kind benefit the people as well as the little workers, our smallest partners.”
Petra Kalan Lubajnšek, head of business development at Medex: “We are excited about the Sunflower Avenue! It is the youngest among us who have shown us today that everyone can contribute, plant a honey flower and help the bees in the city or in the countryside. At Medex, we happily supported the creation of the Sunflower Avenue, because it puts into effect the key message of the project Help the Bee – Flower-up the City and spreads awareness about the importance of bees for our existence with a concrete action.”
Zlatka Poličar, social responsibility expert at A1 Slovenija: “At A1 Slovenija, we gladly joined the campaign to plant sunflowers along the Ameriška ulica Street, providing even better pasture for all bees in the area of BTC City Ljubljana. On the roof of the A1 office building, we currently have four beehives with four bee colonies, which will soon be joined by two more. The beehives on the roof are located right on the spot that allows the bees best flight onto the nearby sunflower patches, which the bees are sure to frequent every day. We wish our bees, as well as other bees in the area, many sweet sunflower delights, a healthy pasture and pleasant living in this environment.”
Andreja Tomšič, head of branding projects at Semenarna Ljubljana: “Honey plants are important for the life of bees, and every individual can contribute to the preservation of bees and other pollinators by planting honey plants in their garden, on the balcony or on the patio. Semenarna Ljubljana’s garden centres Kalia participate in the project Help the Bee – Flower-up the City with a product mix that comprises seeds and seedlings of melliferous plants, herbs, ornamental trees and bushes, which can help us invite bees into our garden.”
From today and until May 27, you are welcome to attend the open days at Ljubljana’s urban beehives. In addition, also supported by BTC, Cankarjev dom will prepare a special programme dedicated to the World Bee Day on Monday, May 21. The detailed list of open-day dates and beehives as well as other details about the activities carried out in the scope of the project Help the Bee – Flower-up the City are available at this webpage (in Slovene only).
Maja Oven, Director of Market Communication and Public Relations Sector
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Ljubljana school children plant about 1,900 honey plants
PHOTO: Studio Bomba