If Geneva’s bees could speak, they would certainly tell us that they owe a great deal to APIDAE, which works to protect them in their natural habitat. They would also surely tell us about Myriam Boucaud, the passionate beekeeper who looks after the association’s hives, and Tanguy Coustaline, the president who is fully dedicated to saving these precious pollinators. We met them and we are very keen to introduce you to them!
Saving bees by sowing seeds
In June 2022, Equestrio Foundation funded the operation “Today we sow”, organised by APIDAE every summer since 2019. The aim of this day is to combine awareness with action by training teachers from schools in Geneva on the decline in biodiversity and by providing them with packets of honey seeds to encourage children to plant flowers, a source of food for bees. This locally inspired concrete action inspired us as much for its crucial impact as for the commitment of the people behind it.
Giving meaning to his daily life
Tanguy, who initiated this action, joined APIDAE in 2017 as a beekeeper before becoming president of the association in 2019. In another life, this fan of nature, Eric Clapton and whistle-blowers, was… an international negotiator for the retail sector. It was following the death of his son in a tragic accident in 2020 that this father of “two children and an angel” was struck by the “urgent need to give meaning to his life” and to engage in an activity in line with his “everyday values and actions“.
Since then, he has devoted himself entirely to the association and to bees, sad symbols of the collapse of biodiversity.
Preserving bees is about creating life
When we ask Tanguy what makes him happy, he talks about his children, of course. And, also about his involvement in the APIDAE association: “It brings me a lot of joy as it is a way for me to get involved in protecting all forms of life on a daily basis.”
“Protecting life” is certainly not an understatement…According to the UN, out of the 100 plant species that provide 90% of the world’s food, over 70% depend on bees for pollination. When you consider that the world’s population is set to grow by 30% by 2050, the conclusion is crystal clear: if bees are an essential part in our ecosystems, they are also crucial for a sustainable source of food supply and therefore… to our lives.
Choosing immediate action
Giving a voice to the bees
Faced with this distressing prospect, the members of APIDAE have chosen to take action. They want it to be concrete, accessible and audible to as many people as possible. And in such an undertaking, there’s is certainly no question of taking anything for granted!
For these fervent defenders of the living world, it is a matter of giving more and more voice (or buzz!) to this insect that is as precious as it is fascinating: ” We’ve had beehives in schools or in community centres for a long time, but our impact was limited to the few establishments concerned. With the “Today we sow” operation we’ve been able to reach an additional 30 or so schools.”
Taking action together
In 2022, thanks to a collaboration with the Geneva Department of Public Education and the precious support of 4 volunteers over a period of 6 months, the association has reached out through this project to no less than 800 children in a single day. This represents also 800 m2 of seeds planted that will bloom in August, at a time when resources are scarce for bees, just when they need to build up their reserves to prepare for the autumn and hibernation.
Going the extra mile for nature
One thing you should know: once you start sowing the seeds of the future, you can’t stop! Tanguy is already looking ahead to next summer and guess what, it’s not to plan his holidays…. “We want to enhance our action! We hope to reach many more classes by 2023! Our ambition is to make all the pupils of 8 and 9 P aware of the decline in biodiversity.”
So, how? By communicating more widely and upstream. By strengthening collaboration with various institutional players in the canton and the city of Geneva.
Tanguy knows exactly on what he should focus his energy to have more impact. He is passionate but reasonable. He dreams of a world where all living beings live in harmony but remains pragmatic in his desire for change. Drawing on his wealth of experience, he always chooses “less competition and more collaboration”. All these features resonate deeply with us and fuel our decision to continue supporting APIDAE.
Financing the future of bees and yours
The association needs funding to pursue its initiatives and broaden its scope. In addition to his fight for the environment, Tanguy is eager to add a social dimension to his action such as, for instance, using beekeeping as a tool for inclusion: “We are going to launch a training programme for migrants in order to get them off the streets and train them as beekeepers. The aim is to enable these people to return to their country and make a decent living out of this profession.”
Nature, people and animals… it’s all there.
What about you?
As for Equestrio Foundation, we will definitely be at APIDAE’s side in 2023 to finance the next “Today we sow” operation and we can’t wait to continue saving the bees with the help of our generous donors! Remember, each seed counts.