From the south to the north of our country, through the beautiful Polish mountains, forests, hills and lakes, our racers have reached Koszalin on the 35th Polish Beekeeping Day. Although, they were all tired, the satisfaction came naturally as they reached their goal in a way that undeniably deserves admiration.
13 teams and 12 „Toddler” cars reached the finish line, beating 1680 km. The youngest participant in the rally was 13 months old, and the oldest – well, we will leave that question without an answer. In general, the Rally was a colorful event for the families. It was a very loud experience but in a positive way and the media coverage helped to publicize the outcome. The hosts of the crew stops were saying goodbyes using a phrase, "Bees will survive when the flowers are pollinating" so loudly that it would ring in the ears even after the departure.
Everything started on September 8th in Inwa³d, where “Toddler” cars from all over the country gathered in one place. The next morning we went to win over the City of the Polish Kings where the official beginning started on the Main Square. We were greeted by a bugle from the Mariacka tower, tourists’ cheers and a beautiful weather, which, as it turned out, accompanied us almost every day. We set the direction: Kamianna and Stró¿e.
The Rally’s “Commodore” – Piotr Mrówka - stated that the biggest number of issues and failures should occur during the first day and he was absolutely right. One green “Toddler” car without a team, had to stay in S¹decki Bartnik as all the rest proceeded further. The next stops were Biszcza, Kozaki, Pszczela Wola and Lublin. In a beekeeping Alma Mater, a secondary school in Pszczela Wola, we have rested after the longest one-day trip (around 350 km). We have started to recall our school years due to the fact that many of our riders graduated from the beekeeping school.
From Lublin, to the end of our route, we were more and more often accompanied by the media coverage. The “noise” around us was very effective. Everyone with smile on their faces, told the press about the goal of the rally, our ideas, bees in general and how everyone could help the pollinating insects. After the press conference in the voivodeship office in Lublin, which was more like a warm-up, we headed to conquer the capital city. On the way, we have visited two apiaries, Mellifera and Loc, where we were greeted very kindly by our friends beekeepers. We spent the night at Warsaw’s Agricultural University (SGGW). We had pleasure and honor to meet none other than a beekeeping legend, Prof. Jerzy Woyke. His stories about the beekeeping, the adventures and the visit to Nepal, took us for a couple of hours into another, much more exotic, world. While at Warsaw, we had planned to visit the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Parliament. We were a few days on the road and some of us have felt yearning to work with the bees again. At least that stop was a perfect opportunity to spend some time with the stars of our rally – the bees. In the ministerial apiary along with its carer, Mr. Janusz Kasztelewicz, we have fed and prepared a bee family for the winter. Another point on our route was the parliamentary apiary led by Dr. Jakub G¹bka, who was also our participant in the rally.
We have left Warsaw in the Police escort. They have accompanied us very often, helping to overcome difficult road sections and taking care of our safety.
On the route we planted about ninety-six trees and bushes. The monuments of the rally were placed at: Kamianna, Stró¿a, Biszcza, Kozaki, Pszczela Wola, ¯elków Kolonia, Olsztyn, Gryzlin, Dzierzgoñ, Elbl¹g, Karczowiska Górne, Pszczó³ki and Koszalin. We have distributed flowerbed seeds everywhere we could, promoting the ideas of colorful flowery cities, friendly to bees. Based on the "Pasieki Krakow" project, we encouraged the local authorities to take action on the honeycomb plantings. We also talked about the advantages of the urban beekeeping. During the raid we visited two rooftop apiaries: one in Cracow, at the top of Resident Service Center of the City of Cracow, and the other at the Meetings of Cultures Center in Lublin. On our way there we had some time for learning. We have visited two colleges: the already mentioned SGGW and the University of Warmia and Mazury (UWM). At the UWM in the Department of Beekeeping under the insight of our rider, and in this place the host, Prof. Jerzy Wilde, we planted additional green monuments.
One kilometer after another, our idea have reached more and more people. The aim was to make the public aware of why bees should be protected and what threatens them. Through our action, many people have learned that:
- Plant production products should be used according to the recommendations provided by the producer.
- Everyone can help bees by planting melliferous flowers in the gardens, on the terraces and balconies.
- It is wise to convert typical lawns into flowery grasslands.
- Bees in the cities are also needed.
While starting the rally we presented various beekeeping groups, organizations, companies and scientific centres. After a week of undertaken journey we have become a one, rally family-group. Hundreds of conversations and discussions conducted in the evenings will bring new opportunities in the Polish beekeeping. Our rally mechanics were extremely helpful. Without them, the 12 cars would not reach the destination. In all places we were accompanied by a brave service team (Jacek and Grzegorz from Lyson), who always had their hands on: rally flags, plates with city names, honey fudges and smiles on their faces. You shall read about the rally, its participants, organizers along with co-organizers, sponsors and their partners once again.
Crew no. 6 from the green “Toddler” car.
Monika Leleñ and Przemys³aw Szeliga