Saturday Surprise — Saving Bees!

bees-toonI almost didn’t do a Saturday Surprise again this week, for as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been unable to corral my mind and it just wasn’t working.  But then, I was going through some notes I had of saved topics and realized I could do Saturday Surprise on a topic I’ve been wanting to do for a while, just never found time … BEES!  Don’t worry … I promise you won’t get stung!

Now, we all know that the bee population in the U.S. and globally has been declining for years.  Most of the reasons are attributable to humans … loss of habitat and bee-killing pesticides being two of the main causes.  And, all living creatures depend on bees for food … one-third of all our food depends on bee pollination, so those little guys are pretty important!

Since this is a Saturday Surprise post, one of the rules is ‘no politics’, so I won’t mention what some governments are doing to exacerbate the decline of the bee population, but instead will focus on some of the good things people are doing to try to save the bees!  Rather a hybrid of Saturday Surprise and Good People!

Let’s start with a trip to the Netherlands, the city of Utrecht, to be specific.  This city has transformed all 316 of its bus stops into bee sanctuaries.  The Netherlands is home to 358 different bee species but more than half of them are already endangered and have been placed on the Dutch Red List of threatened species.utrechtThese bee sanctuaries or rather ‘bee stops’ are essentially standard bus stops with grass and wildflowers planted on the roofs to encourage pollination. Not only do bee stops support the city’s biodiversity by attracting honey bees and bumblebees, they also help capture fine dust and store rainwater.

Bee stops are tended to by workers who drive around the city in electric vehicles. But the scheme requires little maintenance because the roofs are mainly composed of sedum plants, which are a favourite among pollinators and require very little water to survive. To improve facilities for the human visitors, the bus stops have also been fitted with energy-efficient LED lights and bamboo benches.utrecht-2This is just one of the many measures Utrecht has introduced to improve urban biodiversity. It also runs a similar scheme which allows residents to apply for funding to transform their own roofs into bee sanctuaries. And as part of its clean transport goals, the aim is to introduce 55 new electric buses by the end of the year and to have “completely clean public transport” by 2028. The electricity used to power these buses will come from one of the Netherland’s most iconic attractions: windmills.

Now THAT’S what I call an environmentally conscious city!  And one of the most bee-friendly I know of.

You all know actor Morgan Freeman from such movies as Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and others, but I bet you didn’t know that he owns a 124-acre ranch in Mississippi that he has turned into a bee sanctuary! morgan-freemanFreeman’s foray into beekeeping began in 2014, where he discussed his new hobby with Jimmy Fallon during The Tonight Show. Freeman had taken up beekeeping just a couple of weeks before appearing on the show and talked about his experience keeping bees and the need to preserve and save wild bees for healthy environments.

Freeman imported 26 bee hives from Arkansas to his ranch in Mississippi. There, Freeman works to feed the bees sugar and water and has help planting bee-friendly magnolia trees, lavender, clover, etc.

“There is a concerted effort for bringing bees back onto the planet…We do not realize that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation…”

bee-thumbs-upTwo thumbs up to Morgan Freeman … and a sincere ‘thank you’ from all of us who care about the future of life on this planet.

Ever hear of the National Pollinator Garden Network?   Neither had I until a few hours ago.  What is it?

The National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN) is a partnership between conservation organizations, gardening groups, volunteer civic associations and participating federal agencies to inspire people and organizations to create more pollinator habitats. The nine founding organizations launched NPGN in June 2015.

The focus of the NPGN is: to inspire individuals and community groups, institutions and the garden industry to create more pollinator habitat through sustainable gardening practices, habitat conservation and provide these groups the tools to be successful.

The organization launched an initiative called the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, in hopes of getting one million organizations and individuals to plant and maintain ‘pollinator gardens’, consisting of pollinator-friendly plants and wild grasses that are both native and non-invasive species. Well, they now have more than met their goal with 1,040,000 as of last February.

Since the campaign launched, many gardening centers have also contributed to the challenge by offering more pollinator-friendly plants, services, and education.

Increasing the number of pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes will help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across the country.

cute-beeBe sure to check out their website … if you have a garden and can take part, this is certainly a worthy venture to join!  We plant bee-friendly flowers in our tiny 2’ x 4’ postage-stamp ‘garden’ and have for years, but I haven’t got quite enough space to make much of a difference.

It’s encouraging to know that people are becoming more aware of just how crucial the bee population is to life … all life … on earth and are doing something about it, don’t you think?  And now, since I always try to end Saturday Surprise with a cute animal video, I thought this one would be appropriate today!

Have a bee-ootiful weekend, my friends!

45 thoughts on “Saturday Surprise — Saving Bees!

  1. Before I depart this earth, I think The Netherlands is a place I must visit. They seem to have it together there don’t they Jill? They understand the threat to our planet, and they’re doing something about it. Go figure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely!!! In more ways than one, they are in front of the pack. Sadly, they are such a small country that their influence isn’t huge, but other countries are following suit, as well. Not our country, mind you. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Our builder son has installed a few green roofs – the plants actually come on a roll, but there is a lot of work involved because it will be heavy, especially after rain and it has to be very waterproof – all of that is not cheap! But it’s good that people are prepared to have a green project.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure it is a lot of work, and probably costly, but I, too, am so glad some people are willing to go to the extra trouble and expense. And, there are simpler things we can do too, such as planting bee-friendly flowers and raising our objections to pesticides that are killing bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.


  3. We have a lot of local (VERY local…like, literally in my neighbourhood) beekeepers here in Victoria. Even the Empress Hotel has beehives. I am not brave enough to have one myself, but I love seeing all the visitors in my garden.


    • That’s awesome!!! Ahhh … you should try it … they are really quite friendly and gentle once you get to know them. Except wasps, hornets, and that bunch … they are mean. Bumblebees are the sweetest, though. They will even let you pet them!


    • It is good to see … this is so important that we can’t afford to wait for the politicians to decide to get on the bandwagon. Good for you, Roger! We do the same, but noticed a significant decline the past two years.

      Liked by 1 person

        • More and more, I am convinced that humans aren’t capable of ‘self-governance’ and must be led by a strong hand … just not by one such as Trump whose self-interest ‘trumps’ the national good. [pun intended] Sigh.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The trouble with the idea of my sort of government it assumes each and every member and subsequent generations share the following characteristics.
            1. The intention to stamp out all forms of intolerance and not use that as an excuse to widen the parameters of intolerance.
            2. The focus to have all utilities, medical services, education systems and transport run as public enterprises and ensure there are always constant funds and training to ensure this.
            3. And here’s my tricky one which scares the horses ‘Free Speech is not a right, it is a something which has to be earned’.
            Now providing everyone is government has something equivalent monastic focus and cares not for their personal lives or wealth and can work with their colleagues that might work.
            However as we know, folk an’t like that are they….so the result would be a repressive regime with those on top doing as they damn well please.
            Democracy is messy and often disappoints however the alternatives are far worse.


  4. Ah good. An environmentally friendly post I like bees and I know how important they are for our survival, not to mention their own. I’m not ready to let them lick sugar water up off my hands yet though.There are pesticided that don’t affect bees and other creatures this way, their use should be enforced and Monsanto’s Round Up sent to the hives of hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhhh … the key to letting them lick the sugar water off your hands, or sit on your nose for a little chat, is attitude. If you are afraid, they will sense it and you will no doubt get stung. If you can be perfectly relaxed and confident, they will sit and chat with you for a bit and you’ll come to no harm. Yes, Monsanto and others have sacrificed life on this planet for their lust for money … personally, I hope they choke on it! Grrrrrrrrrrr

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jill, great story with a very public figure. I have seen two separate stories about urban beekeeping, one in Chicago and Detroit. The former was combined with an effort to employ teens and teach them a business. The latter is using razed houses in disrepair, using the lots for bees.

    I also read in Scotland, a farmer is encouraging planting wild flowers on the peripher of crop.fields.

    So, much more to bee-done,. Thanks, Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is encouraging to see that people are sitting up and taking this seriously, even if certain world ‘leaders’ aren’t. I also read about a coal-mining town in Southwestern Virginia that is retraining displaced miners to be beekeepers! Many efforts are taking place around the world, despite the naysayers! But yes, much more to be done and it would help if the people at the top were more supportive.


  6. Very encouraging. On the other hand, I live in an area where spraying with pesticides is widespread. The farmers spray from the ground and the air and many of the towns spray for mosquitoes. The result is a falling number of insects (including bees) and even birds. Very sad.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, that is likely the #1 reason for the disappearance of the bees, butterflies and others … thank you Monsanto. It is sad, and it is a threat to life on this planet, but all Big Ag is thinking about is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hate it that people worry more about their lawns than life on the planet. I know how strong some of those pesticides are. I used to walk in our neighborhood in the U.S. and if I passed by a certain house I’d come home with an itching reaction from allergy. I had to avoid that place. 😦 — Suzanne

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, me too. Every spring, the lawn care company that services this apartment complex comes around spraying, and if I see them coming, I sit out on my steps until they reach mine, then I ask them not to spray. If they insist, then I stand in the middle of my tiny yard and dare them to spray me! I have a long-standing battle with them over that and other issues, such as them pulling up all my sunflowers claiming they thought they were weeds! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

          Liked by 1 person

                • I don’t know, since this is privately-owned property, if the local government would do anything about the trees that were cut down. I still seethe about that every time I think about it. I’m thinking about getting a live Christmas tree, as opposed to a cut one, and then after Christmas planting it right in my front yard! But … sigh … I fear they would chop that down some day when i wasn’t home or not looking, and then I WOULD be heartbroken.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • My dad did that one year. He then planted it up near our garage which was near the lane. It started out rather small but grew to be huge. He said it was a mountain pine. The only problem was one of the branches got so close to the lane and brushed the neighbor’s car as he sped past. One day he got out and sawed the end of it off. My dad was not pleased, to put it mildly. My dad had sent to the government for free small pine seedlings he planted across the lake from us. Every year that same neighbor would go and cut down one of the larger trees for a Christmas tree. My dad was also not pleased with that. If it’s a privately-owned property I’d think the city government has even less of a right to cut trees on it. If you’re renting the owners do but I don’t think the city does. I’ve known the city to top trees a bit that were too near power lines but not cut down the whole tree. —- Suzanne

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I think I would have very much liked your dad!!! A man after my own heart! It wasn’t the city that cut down the trees, but rather the landscaping company hired by the owners of this apartment complex. That’s why I’m pretty sure it would be pointless to contact City Hall or anybody else in government. Sigh.

                      Liked by 1 person

    • I know … I saw maybe only a tenth as many as normal. And other critters, too. On the path between my home and the park where I walk, there used to always be several squirrels and rabbits, but this year I saw none. 😥

      Liked by 1 person

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