Be(e) Responsible: Meet the Carniolian Bees in Draga

What makes Slovenia, for a long time now, the cradle of beekeeping are lush mixed forests, colourful meadows of flowers, a clean environment, hard-working people and, of course, bees. As ICCA Association Meetings Programme 2018 in Ljubljana, 9-11 July, is fast-approaching, we are happy to reveal the details of an exciting CSR programme taking place on Monday morning, July 9, at CUDV Care Centre in Draga.

Draga is set in beautiful natural surroundings at 12 km from the capital and at the edge of the Ljubljana Marsh Nature Park – a wetland area protected under the EU Natura 2000 Programme. Around 1,500 animals are estimated to live in the area, including wolves, a bear with two cubs, jackals, wild cats and, specifically, many deer, birds and frogs, which reside in nearby ponds.

IMEX Challenge 2012 and the Legacy of the First Meetings Industry CSR Project in Slovenia

In July 2012, Ljubljana hosted the 2nd edition of the IMEX Challenge, a charity initiative giving volunteers – meeting industry professionals, the chance to work side by side in a physical challenge benefiting the host community. Fourteen international colleagues joined forces with about the same number of Slovenian partners to enrich the lives of mentally and physically disabled children and adults living at the CUDV Training, Occupation and Care Centre in Draga. Thus, a new bee house was built to raise eight bee colonies with up to 60,000 bees, alongside a garden with honey-bearing plants and an educational path. The care centre’s protégés are engaged still today in assisting the beekeeper in charge, and the last harvest was 70 litres of honey.

Help planting the ICCA Honey Garden

During IMEX Challenge 2012, a garden with honey-bearing plants and an educational path were created. Volunteers attending the ICCA AMP are invited to join our CSR programme, which will present in short the results of the IMEX Challenge and engage in planting a small plot of land at the care centre, close to the bee house, to expand the existing one. It will be named the »ICCA Honey Garden«.

Alternatively, some other activities will be proposed to interact with the protégés (working with wax, baking, etc.).

The duration of the active part of the programme is two hours. Refreshments will be provided, too.

  • Departure from the Grand Hotel Union: at 8:00
  • Return to the Grand Hotel Union: at 12:00

Casual / comfy attire and closed shoes are recommended


Enter the World of Bees

Slovenia, a country rich in natural resources, takes pride in its above-average biodiversity. Slovenians are a genuine beekeeping nation, since as many as 90.000 out of 2,000,000 are engaged in this agricultural activity.

Beekeeping in Slovenia has gained international recognition due to its particularities, such as the unique painted beehive panels and the special traditional architecture of its beehives. Dating back to the middle of the 18th century, the smooth wooden panels painted on the front of beehives turned simple hives into veritable open-air galleries of folk art. Moreover they help bees in their orientation and make it easier for the beekeeper to remember individual hives.

Today Slovenia is benefiting from the long-standing beekeeping tradition also by developing apicultural tourism.

Our Very Own Bee – Apis Mellifera Carnica

Also known as the Carniolan honey bee, Apis mellifera carnica is an indigenous Slovenian subspecies of bee famed for its docility, hard work, humility and excellent sense of orientation. It is also distinguished by its good utilization of forest pastures, low winter mortality and exceptionally intensive spring development. It is much prized for its ability to defend itself successfully against insect pests and gentle behaviour toward beekeepers.

A symbol of hard work and practical wisdom, this breed of bee is regarded as the second most widespread in the world and is protected as an indigenous subspecies of bee in Slovenia.

“To Bee or Not To Bee”- the First World Bee Day on 20 May 2018

Bees, as pollinators, play an important role for humankind in terms of providing food, food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity, climate change mitigation, and a healthy environment.

Unfortunately, in recent years bees have been facing increasing threats; raising public awareness of the importance of bees can and must contribute to boosting collective actions to protect them and their habitats. In this context, the Slovenian Beekepers’ Association, supported by the Republic of Slovenia and backed by Apimondia – the world beekeepers’ umbrella association, launched in 2014 the initiative to celebrate 20 May as the World Bee Day, which was adopted by the United Nations in autumn 2017.

Draw a smile on children’s faces – all ICCA AMP participants can contribute!

  • The CUDV Care Centre in Draga has a unit housing children with disabilities aged 2 to 15 years. They will hugely appreciate if participants of ICCA AMP 2018 bring over toys or school supplies (notebooks, crayons, etc.) – a collection point will be set up at the Grand Hotel Union. We would hand them over to the director of the Centre at the close of the AMP.
  • You can also contribute by having a meal at the Druga Violina restaurant in Ljubljana’s Old Town, which CUDV Draga opened in summer 2012. It’s a social entrepreneurship project which aims at the inclusion of their adult protégés into the working process and society in a wider sense. They mostly assist in serving guests under mentorship.
  • If you stay over one more night after the AMP and are a fan of salsa al fresco, with a live band performing next to Druga Violina, that’s the right place to go on Wednesday evening.

Ljubljana Tourism Convention Bureau together with all partners are eagerly looking forward to meeting you all, dear ICCA AMP 2018 participants, and creating a fruitful, dynamic and inspiring event experience in our lively capital city and its surroundings!