Today we held the first INSIGNIA-EU “National Coordinators café”. This was attended by most of the National Coordinators who will be organising the sampling programme in all 27 EU countries in 2023. It was an opportunity for them to meet each other informally, and to discuss practical questions about the programme with members of the core INSIGNIA-EU team. Selection of participating citizen scientist beekeepers for 2023 is currently underway, and many volunteers have come forward. The selection process is important to ensure that large countries like Spain and Germany have an even geographical distribution of beekeepers, whilst also taking account of different land uses such as cities, agricultural and semi natural areas, to provide contrasts in the likely levels of the various types of pollution experienced. Matters discussed include the practicalities of sampling in northern parts of Finland and Sweden where hives may be covered in snow for long periods, and how to arrange a sampling programme to take account of the vacation plans of the citizen scientists. All agreed that it was a useful meeting and that there will be regular follow up meetings in the future.
For the full study in 2023, the sampling will be expanded to all 27 European Union countries. To sucessfully activate the widespread beekeeping community in Europe, the INSIGNIA-EU consortium will also be expanded by subcontracting a total of 19 institutions. Thus, we are able to cover all European Union member states and all 23 European languages.
It has been a while, since the INSIGNIA-EU consortium held an online event to meet the subcontractors on July 6. Nevertheless, we want to inform our readers about this important meet and greet.