To The Point: Chat with Jess de Boer - Africa Point Blog
Today we are delighted to publish our chat with Jess de Boer, a sustainable livelihoods consultant, bee specialist and self confessed nature addict. She has several years' experience in conservation work and trainings, her consultancy has been sought by several organizations including the Elephant &
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To The Point: Chat with Jess de Boer


Published 18th November 2014 by Edgar Kimathi
Modified 8th June 2015
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Features, Culture & People, Kenya, To the Point Interview Series, Great Rift Valley, Aberdares, Mount Kenya

Today we are delighted to publish our chat with Jess de Boer, a sustainable livelihoods consultant, bee specialist and self confessed nature addict. She has several years' experience in conservation work and trainings, her consultancy has been sought by several organizations including the Elephant & Bee Project, The White Elephant trust, The South African Luxury Association and Soralo among others. Her knowledge of bees is only matched by her dedication towards their conservation. One of the fascinating facts I learned from Jess was that  bees use a dance language to communicate direction and distance to a food source! The role of the bee is often downplayed, Jess sheds some light on just how crucial they are to our survival as a species.

 

 

How did you get involved with bee conservation?

I was actually allergic to bees as a small girl and as a result spent some time researching them in an effort to find a cure. Then two years ago, unhappy in my job, I stumbled across an opportunity to take part in an intensive six week bee keeping training in South Africa. I decided to put myself on the line, quit my job and signed up! Luckily for me, I found my calling, returned back home to Kenya and never looked back.

 

What do you love most about your work in conservation?

Thanks to the bees I am able to travel to many wonderful places and meet such a diversity of people. My work with the bees exposes me to a huge variety of rural/ traditional communities and working together with their members I am often left humbled and in awe of their knowledge of the natural environment. This exchanging of knowledge, stories and methods to enhance their current livelihoods is an incredible gift, all thanks to this beautiful little creature. I have recently returned from Cambodia where I went deep into the forests and lived with a traditional honey hunter family. It was a truly magical experience.

 

What’s your favourite getaway place?

I love the mystery and freshness of the Aberdare Mountains and the silence and peace of the fresh water lakes up around Mount Kenya.

 

What do you think are the most pressing issues that need to be addressed in conservation?

Top of the list is education! Did you know that in some parts of China where they have destroyed the local bee populations, some communities have had to start HAND POLLINATING their crops using paint brushes? Did you know that one in every THREE mouthfuls of foods we eat as humans depends directly and indirectly on pollination by honeybees? It was Einstein who first recognized the incredible importance of bees in this quote "If the bee was to disappear from earth, humans would have just 4 years to live!", I believe he is right. We humans are just one small aspect of an incredibly complex system, as are the bees the birds and the butterflies! Each one of us in turn has a role to play in maintaining that system and a responsibility to those generations of the future who will one day stand in our place. The most pressing issue for me is therefore a universal one, we need to protect and support our natural environment and share our knowledge widely.

 

What needs to be done to address these issues?

Education, education, education! I believe that school children need to be taught where their food comes from and the importance of ALL creatures, both big and small. I believe that their teachers, parents and elders need to proactively take part in this education and in doing so become role models so that the children have footsteps to follow in. I believe that the government and those in positions of power need to put their people first by ensuring that the future is one that we can all prosper in and be proud of.

 

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

I am happy to answer any bee questions or queries that anyone may have about bees! Contact me on deboer.jess@gmail.com, thank you so much!


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About the Author:
Edgar Kimathi

Edgar Kimathi

Edgar enjoys bringing the web and people together to build powerful online marketing strategies. He derives particular pleasure in being part of a company that holds conservation very dear. When not website wrangling you might spot him hard at a nature trail.


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