Learning from the Bees | Berlin 2019

Logo, Design & Organisation

A conference and Zeidlerei workshop – Together with colleagues from Mellifera Berlin and The Ambeessadors, I organized, visually designed and equipped this event.

Documentation Videotrailer

Flickr photogallery

The Zeidlerei workshop was an intensive, hands-on workshop on the centuries-old tree-beekeeping tradition, mainly practiced in East Europe. Under the guidance of German and Polish Zeidlers, participants learned key aspects of the craft: its history, how to carve and install log hives, both traditional and modern tree-climbing techniques, safety precautions, tool maintenance, etc.

36 Students nearly completed 20 log hives. Some were taken home by participants, while others have been slated for use in the Citizen-Science Project. For that, 12–20 hives will be installed at partner institutions—
universities, bee research labs, forest preserves, and other suitable sites—where future bee colonies will be studied to see how they fare in these more natural homes.
The objective is to contribute scientific data on the health and habitats of wild bees, as followed by a protocol developed by bee scientist Prof. Thomas Seeley.

The conference featured an array of international scientists, beekeepers, foresters, conservationists, activists, artists, and more. Keynote presentations, panel discussions, and audience-participatory breakout sessions addressed politically sensitive issues, such as rewilding bees in trees, pesticide control, ecosystem regeneration, and activism. Speed BEE Talks briefly showcased several innovative projects, while an art exhibition and ancillary activities supplemented the program. 

Some stats: 212 conference attendees, 36 workshop attendees, from 26 different countries, 72 people contributed to the Citizen-Science Work Session, while 36 speakers, moderators, instructors, and performers shared their research, expertise, data, and stories. 10 Scholarships were awarded, 10 staff and 21 volunteers produced the event.

Learning from the Bees | Berlin 2019 was a bilingual event, with some programs in English and others in German, the majority of which were simultaneously translated.

To bridge differences in ideology and practice and come together, unified by bees, to brainstorm alternatives to failing systems and help shape the future of beekeeping and environmental stewardship. 

To convene specialists and enthusiasts from around the world to listen to the bees’ lessons — from a bee-centric perspective — and then spread and apply those learnings far and wide. As natural beekeeping gains momentum, it is critical that we practitioners share ideas, experiences, expertise, and data so that we can learn from one another and, together, shape an improved future.

– To train participants in the craft of Zeidlerei
– To convene diverse opinions and to bridge disciplines
— To provide hope and to inspire
— To offer moments for networking
— To encourage action and collaboration
— To collect citizen-science data on wild honey bees’ health

Philosophy and Genesis
Although suffering from myriad human-imposed stressors, indicators show that wild honey bees do succeed in nature. From these examples we can learn much about what the species as a whole needs to survive — and thrive — and subsequently what we can learn from them to improve our understanding of nature and how our current practices can be harmful. 

Speakers & Trainers
Jacek Adamczewski, Dr. Turgut Altug, Sabine Bergmann, Lavender Grace Cinnamon, Tomasz Dzierżanowski, Arne Eckert, Ziv Elyashiv, Jacqueline Freeman, Julia Gajewski, Nils Gerber, Antonio Gurliaccio, Dr. Sebastian Hausmann, Heidi Herrmann, Markus Imhoof, Indigo, Dr. Rosa María Licón Luna, Fiona MacDonald, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Randolf Menzel, Albert Muller, Dr. Przemysław Nawrocki, Andrzej Pazura, Johannes Pickhardt, Piotr Piłasiewicz, Norbert Poeplau, Jonathan Powell, Thomas Radetzki, Deborah Richmond, Heinz Risse, Torben Schiffer, Prof. Thomas D. Seeley, Geert Steelant, Laura Williams, Dr. Johannes Wirz, Tobias Wolf, Ingmar Zech

Milena Aguilar, Olaf Baldini, Joy Blanchard, Krzysztof Hejke, Ivan Kostolov, Silke Meyer

More information here (english & german): www.mellifera-berlin.de

More information and further conferences in the international network:


Learning from the Bees | Berlin 2019 was organized by members of Mellifera Regionalgruppe Berlin and The Ambeessadors, with support from Mellifera e.V.Natural Beekeeping TrustAurelia-StiftungGuerrilla FoundationStadtbienenZukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft and CrescoCapitalGroup.

Logo & Graphic – salzundhonig, Cam · Edit · Compositing – Patrick Lindhof, www.derachteozean.de

The panel discussion “Are We Ready to Swarm concluded the conference with an overview towards the future of natural beekeeping, featuring (left to right) Torben Schiffer, Sabine Bergmann, Antonio Gurliaccio, Heidi Hermmann (moderator), Dr. Johannes Wirz, Prof. Thomas D. Seeley, and Dr. Przemysław Nawrocki. Photo: Silke Meyer

During the Zeidlerei workshop, tree trunks were hollowed out into log hives. Photo: Silke Meyer

Climbing techniques in the traditional Zeidler style were shown and then practiced by everyone. Photo: Silke Meyer

During Cross-Talk Pollination, 13 speakers invited attendees into intimate conversations about their presentation topics. Photo: Patrick Lindhof

Olaf Baldini · Generative Scribing · Photo: Florian Amrhein