‘If the bees go, we go. I’m the founder of BeeSaviours, a registered charity. Its purpose is to conserve bees—not only honey bees but indigenous pollinators as well. The inspiration arose from my childhood experience of beekeeping in England, coupled with a love of nature.’ We are talking to Mark Colley from Teesdale.
‘Nicknamed ‘Insect’ as a young lad, my interest in the natural world has played a major part in my current awareness and activism.
I read extensively on ecological matters. My childhood heroes were Rachael Carson (author of Silent Spring), Edward O Wilson (author of Biophilia) and David Attenborough.
Having a fascination with honey bees, I became aware of the global issues concerning bees and the increasing battle with most farming techniques, most notably the increased use of ever stronger pesticide.
To take action, we undertook a research and development project. We qualified for an R&D grant and have gifted the Intellectual property to a Canadian University, out of which three exciting developments have emerged.
We are annually increasing the number of honey bees in various communities, following biodynamic principles. These bees produce a quality honey. Excitingly, we are getting enquires for export to Japan, Norway and China.
We are actively working with six farms on incorporating new methodologies in terms of farming for bees. We’ll be encouraging farmers to plant native flowers either side of windbreaks and we’ll be placing bees in five sites this year.
We’re also raising trees—Leucospermum (Proteas)—to give to those farmers to help them create a bee-friendly environment.
Buy honey from a beekeeper you trust. Plant your garden for pollen availability all year around (trees are good but also consider herbs and ground covers). Investigate organic and biodynamic pesticides and avoid the herbicide glyphosate.
Also, if you have a dream: follow it, jump every hurdle, ignore all the negative people and be true to yourself.’