Judith Kraak: Passion for bees and nature

August 10, 09:15

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CAPELLE • Capellenaar Judith Kraak has a passion for nature. She wants to emphasize the importance of bees – and other insects – and share her knowledge.

Judith Kraak knew early on what she wanted: to work with nature. As soon as she could, she moved from her room in Utrecht to the desert to become a guide. Years later, she lives in Capelle on the seventh floor. Now she has taken nature with her: Many bees and bumble bees are attracted to the flowers on her balcony. “When I started researching bees, a whole new world opened up for me. I am now committed to the bees in Capelle because we need them.”

Judith Kraak explains where her passion for nature comes from. “It has been in me since childhood. As a child I spent a lot of time in the woods looking for flowers to dry in books. I wanted to know everything about plants and animals. That curiosity has always been there. I have kept many animals in my life and wanted to take it up again when I moved to Capelle. That’s how I ended up with the bees. And I enjoy it! The more I learn about bees, the more impressed I am.”

At the moment, the bees in the Netherlands are not doing well, concludes Judith Kraak. “Not so good. Honey bees, for example, suffer from a mite from the Far East. This is a problem, because bees are important for the pollination of crops and thus for our agriculture. This applies not only to honey bees, but also to about 350 species of wild bees and many more species of hoverflies. All these species are important in the Netherlands for pollinating food.”

Share knowledge
Judith Kraak tries to educate people about the importance of bees in various ways. “I like to share my knowledge about nature, for example by giving lectures. I hope that the importance of nature gets more attention from people, especially from governments and companies. I also like to be practical. Last year, the chairman of the Dutch beekeepers’ association made a call: If you want to do something for the bees, take a rock from your garden and put a plant in return. So simple. I started working on it.”

To plant flowers
Also in her house in Capelle, on the seventh floor, Judith can help the bees. “My balcony is already full of flowers. But after that lecture, I looked down and saw a lot of greenery nearby. I thought: can’t we plant flowers there too? The district manager thought it was a good plan. A crowdfunding was started together with Welzijn Capelle and Maak Capelle. We traveled enough to be able to plant 700 square meters this year. It was partly done with machines, partly by local residents and schools.”

Fewer tiles, more plants
Judith notes that the crowdfunding campaign has sparked something in Capelle. “Planting the flowers has started a lot. When you work with such a group of local residents, it raises awareness. People asked what we were up to and also became interested in bees. I hope many people make their own gardens more friendly to bees and other insects. Little is needed here: fewer tiles, more plants and no pruning before flowering. And I hope that more districts will fill the green belts with flowers.”

Capelle aan den IJssel is participating in NK Tegelwippen this year and will compete with Krimpen aan den IJssel and more than 100 other municipalities throughout the Netherlands. Until 31 October 2022, the municipality challenges you to exchange as many tiles as possible from your own garden for green. Front gardens also count. Enter the number of tiles removed and a proof picture of your removed (facade) garden via www.NK-tegelwippen.nl and they will be added to the tile counter in Capelle.

For a bee-friendly garden, it is good to buy native Dutch and organic plants or bulbs. In gardens with a pond, it is recommended that the drainage pipe ends in the pond, so that the bees can drink and the water is not lost.

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