Why a good christian also lets nettles grow in the garden

Why a good christian also lets nettles grow in the garden

Beekeeping as a hip hobby for city dwellers? © dpa

Whit Monday is World Environment Day. The reason for a look at Eichstatt, the "green diocese of Germany": For a year now, there has been a nature trail there on the subject of bees. Many a gardener could learn some unpleasant things in the process.

She is the wrong one and yet the right one: A fat stone bumblebee visits flower after flower in a tumbling flight. With its black-red fur it is well to be recognized on the white daisies.

With a constant buzzing, the animal brings one blossom after the next into an inclined position. Because it is the size of a thumb – and therefore much stronger than the insect that Johann Bauch is actually looking for: the honey bee. "But a bumblebee like that is great, too," he says. "The fact that it finds food here is just as much evidence of an intact nature as a bee would be."

"Eichstatt hums"

Bauch knows what he is talking about. He is a beekeeper and lecturer in biology didactics at the Catholic University of Eichstatt-Ingolstadt (KU) – and now he has found what he was looking for: "There, a bee!" Belly points to a blue flax flower, one of the many sparks of color around it. All together they form the wildflower meadow of the Eichstatt seminary. It came about when the city got a new attraction about a year ago: the Bee Creation Trail.

This runs for 2.5 kilometers mainly along the Altmuhl river. It includes 29 information panels explaining the life of honeybees and their importance to nature, as well as tips on how to protect them, such as sowing wildflowers. The trail was initiated by the "Eichstattummt" initiative, an alliance of the KU, the city, the administration, schools, businesses, clubs and associations. And the church. Because: "Environmental protection is an original Christian concern," says Lisa Amon, sustainability officer of the Eichstatt diocese.

Everyone can help

For Christians in particular, responsibility for creation is not a marginal ie, she stresses, referring to Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato si," published in 2015. "In it he said that every creature, no matter how small, is a value in itself. Quite apart from the fact that we humans must not be indifferent to the environment, even for our own sake."The bees alone, for example, because of their pollination service in agriculture, are not.

So how can we help the animals threatened by flowerless monocultures and pesticides?? Johann Bauch sums up the tips of the Creation Path: "Garden and balcony owners should rely on native plants, and in such a way that they bloom throughout the year."Avoid filled flowers, which offer little pollen and nectar. Equally important: the renunciation of poison and soil sealing.

And if you want to save more than just bees, Lisa Amon advises: "Even if it may be unpleasant for some gardeners: Leave clutter and stinging nettles alone. On it eat tens of butterfly caterpillars." A good Christian could hardly help preserve creation in a simpler way.

St. Willibald and the bees

St. Willibald would certainly have liked this idea. Finally, the Eichstatt diocesan patron is himself compared to an insect, namely a bee, interjects Reinhard Kurzinger.

The director of the diocesan pilgrimage office of the diocese says: "In Willibald's biography it is written that he, like a prudent bee, acquired the best of what he saw on his travels."

Virtual bees

Acquiring new things is something people today often do with modern technology. That's why Helga Rolletschek wants to continue the bee creation path digitally. The co-founder of "Eichstatt hums" and head of the KU biology didactics is currently working on an app with project partners from all over Bavaria. "It's to give ten- to 14-year-olds knowledge about the bee," she explains. "For this, the user takes over the management of a virtual bee colony and must determine plants for this purpose, for example." In July, the app is to be launched.

In the same month, the first major official use of the Creation Path since its inauguration is scheduled: "On 9. In July, we will organize a pilgrimage to the grave of Willibald, which will lead along the path of creation to emphasize our appreciation for nature," announces cathedral vicar Kurzinger. A brass band will also perform, "it will hum really nicely". Probably louder than the bumblebee in the meadow of the seminary.

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