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Let it Bee

On “World Bee Day”, May 20, we took an origami garden to the streets with the aim of raising community awareness on the importance of pollinators for ecosystems.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes and 39 seconds

© Helder Berenguer

Since 2018, the 20th of May has been marked as “World Bee Day” and it is intended to raise awareness on the importance of these small but essential pollinators. If you associate bees to that “little animal” with yellow and black stripes, we will have you know that there are more than 20,000 different species around the world and not all of them have those striped characteristics. In Portugal alone, there are records of around 750 species!

As unusual and fascinating as this insect is, many curiosities can be mentioned. Did you know that all bee colonies have a characteristic odor? This odor is what allows them to identify which are members of their hive and which are enemies. However, regardless of which hive they belong to, all social bees communicate with a zigzag “dance”.

Bees and other pollinating insects are essential in food production and maintaining biodiversity. They may be small in size, but alone they are responsible for 80% of all pollination, not only of flowers, but also of various fruit trees and vegetables, some of which are part of our diet.

Despite their importance for ecosystems and our food, bee populations have suffered a worrying decrease as a result of the threats to which they are subject. These vary from pollution to climate change, agricultural pesticides and herbicides, monocultures, reduction of spontaneous vegetation, diseases, and parasites, such as varroa, and competition with invasive species, such as the Asian hornet.

“It is necessary to act today so that tomorrow is not too late” - it was with this motto that we decided to sensitize the community to the importance of bees with “Let it Bee”. Using art as a form of communication, we decorated the streets with swarms of colored paper and made known small gestures that help combat the decline of these species. A simple way to help these insects is by planting “honey-like” flowers such as buckwheat, phacelia, flax, sunflower, calendula, lupine and mallow. You can also build “insect hotels”, small wooden boxes with branches, straws, and hollow bamboo sticks. Very importantly, choose honey from local beekeepers who produce sustainably. It is a more environmentally and bee-friendly honey, free of antibiotics and other contaminants.

“Let it Bee” is not Agora Aveiro's first project dedicated to protecting the environment and our ecosystems. “Plantar o Futuro” is one of the organization's best-known and outstanding projects and aims not only at reforestation but, above all, at raising young people's awareness of environmental and native forest protection.

These projects make it possible to sensitize the community to pressing issues on our planet and the threats that ecosystems are subject to, often by human hands. In addition to that, they also show the affection and concern that young people have for the environment.

Let it Bee” is part of Agora Aveiro’s Plantar o Futuro” project. This action was carried out in partnership with Mocinha Concept Store and had the support of the Câmara Municipal de Aveiro and the  Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude I.P..

Catarina Fonseca