The Slovenia Times

Australian bee foundation wins Golden Bee award

Environment & NatureScience & Education
President Nataša Pirc Musar (left) presents the Golden Bee award to Fiona Chambers, executive director of the Australian Wheen Bee Foundation. Photo: Katja Kodba/STA

The Australian Wheen Bee Foundation is the winner of this year's Golden Bee award, a prize given out by Slovenia on World Bee Day in recognition of achievements in the promotion, conservation and research of bees and other pollinators.

The Wheen Bee Foundation is a non-profit organisation raising awareness on the importance of bees and other pollinators for food security, biodiversity and the health of Australian ecosystems.

Accepting the award from President Nataša Pirc Musar on 20 May, the organisation's executive director Fiona Chambers dedicated it to its founder Gretchen Wheen, the foundation's board, team and volunteers, as well as partners and sponsors.

The foundation supports different programmes and events, provides funding for research on threats to bees, encourages the use of bee-friendly agriculture practices, and brings together people working towards these goals.

The late queen bee breeder Wheen established it in 2019 out of concern for bees and other pollinators, Chambers said. Today the foundation has 14 different programmes for the support of bees, pollinators and beekeeping.

The Golden Bee award. Photo: Katja Kodba/STA

The winner of the award was chosen by a judging panel from among 15 applications from Slovenia, the UK, Germany, Australia, Kenya, Spain, Malta, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece.

The panel, led by Agriculture Minister Mateja Čalušič, shortlisted two candidates. In addition to the Wheen Bee Foundation, ITF Enhancing Human Security was shortlisted.

ITF Enhancing Human Security is a Slovenian-founded organisation that supports landmine removal projects in 20 countries. In its application it noted its project to empower landmine victims in Bosnia-Herzegovina through beekeeping.

The Golden Bee was introduced by a special law adopted in March 2021 and is presented on World Bee Day. The previous winners are Argentina's researcher Lucas Alejandro Garibaldi, the head of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association Boštjan Noč, and Serbian researcher Slobodan Davidović.

In her address to the award ceremony, Pirc Musar described World Bee Day, the Golden Bee Award and other Slovenian initiatives that raise awareness about the importance of pollinators as success stories.


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