Ostalb district awarded for promoting biodiversity with golden bee
During his visit to the blooming roundabout in Unterriffingen, Minister of Transport Winfried Hermann awarded the Ostalb district the „Golden Wild Bee“ for its outstanding commitment to promoting biodiversity.
Creating natural spaces where insects can find a home and at the same time educating citizens about their responsibility for our ecosystem – the Ostalb district has succeeded exceptionally well in achieving both of these goals. As the winner of the fifth round of the competition „Blooming Traffic Islands“ organized by the Ministry of Transport, the district attracted Minister Winfried Hermann’s attention, who visited the redesigned roundabout in Bopfingen-Unterriffingen and presented the winner’s sign, the „Golden Wild Bee“, to District Administrator Dr. Joachim Bläse.
„Just as roads connect places, roadside greenery can also connect habitats and support ecological connectivity. With its outstanding commitment, the Ostalb district shows us how we can counteract the decline of insects and take responsibility for our ecosystem,“ explained the minister.
Ostalb district – Roundabout as a habitat for wild bees
The Ostalb district has recently built and redesigned the roundabout in Unterriffingen, located at the intersection of L1070/L1080/K3316 between the Bopfingen districts of Unterriffingen and Dorfen, to be insect-friendly. With an area of approximately 5,500 square meters, it is the largest flowered area among all participating municipalities in the competition. The roundabout is excellently suitable as an insect habitat due to its diverse composition of plant species. The employees of the responsible Bopfingen road maintenance depot sowed a mixture of local herbs and grasses. Additionally, the district has created several habitats for wild bees. Nesting sites (sandy areas in sunny locations), food supplies (flower meadows), and building materials (deadwood piles) create an optimal living space for wild bees.
Raising awareness among citizens about insect protection
Due to its size – the deadwood pile consists, for example, of numerous robust tree trunks – the Ostalb district’s measure fulfills an important task in terms of public perception. The project demonstrates in a practical way that even in road maintenance services, responsibility for the ecosystem can be taken. Minister Hermann praised: „The Ostalb district is a prime example of how citizens can be made aware of the problem and the consequences of the decline in insects. Measures such as greening roundabout areas clearly demonstrate that each individual can establish native plants in very limited areas in a relatively simple way.“
A total of 36 municipalities applied for this year’s competition with insect-friendly redesigned rest areas, roundabouts, and other areas along roads. The other winners of the „Golden Wild Bee“ are the Rhein-Neckar district, the cities of Hemsbach, Fellbach, and Rauenberg, the municipalities of Grünkraut, Igersheim, Rickenbach, and Walzbachtal, as well as the Waldshut district.
„Blooming Traffic Islands“ for strengthening biodiversity
The competition „Blooming Traffic Islands“ is one of the activities of the Ministry of Transport within the framework of the „Special Program for Strengthening Biodiversity“. All cities and districts, as well as municipalities in Baden-Württemberg that redesign roadside areas with native wild plants to be insect-friendly, can participate in the competition.
The primary goal of the competition is to set a public example for the preservation of biodiversity and to showcase the potential of roadside areas for insect protection. Through accompanying public relations work, citizens are to be informed about the dramatic decline of insects and measures for effective promotion of insects.
A professional jury consisting of representatives from the State Nature Conservation Association Baden-Württemberg, the Federal Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) Baden-Württemberg, the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) Baden-Württemberg, the University of Economics and Environment Nürtingen-Geislingen, and the Ministry of Transport selects the ten winning municipalities. They receive the award „Golden Wild Bee“ in the form of a golden sign and an information board that is placed on or near the area. Besides the actual area, the applicants‘ overall commitment to insect protection is also taken into account in the evaluation. In addition, the Ministry of Transport provides the winning municipalities with materials for their public relations work.