The bad news about nature is flying around you these days. But things are not all bad, says Niels Kimpel, Nature Monitoring Specialist at Dunea. “Thanks to the efforts of Dunea and a large team of volunteers, things are actually going quite well with Meijendel.” He tells us more about this beautiful part of The Hague, the rare Haagse Kronkel and how you can help yourself.

From a sunny Meijendel, the nature reserve around the corner from The Hague, Niels tells about his dream job. “I used to be a cook, but I retrained in the direction of Eco & Wildlife and came back to the area where I come from. I have a huge passion for nature conservation and small animals. For my work I spend a lot of time with data and together with ecologists and volunteers I research how things are going in the dunes. Fortunately, that also means being outside a lot in this beautiful, diverse area!”

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Niels in zijn natuurlijke habitat | Foto via Dunea

Niels in his natural habitat | Photo via Dunea

Biodiversity is essential

Concerning how many bees are flying around or which grasses are there or not growing sounds nice, but it is also very useful, says Niels. “This data collection is a kind of thermometer. In this way we can monitor the quality of the dune area and adjust it where necessary. The more species of plants and animals we can accommodate here, the greater the biodiversity.” And that in turn is essential for clean drinking water, a healthy soil and climate and our entire existence. Not the least job, so!

Haagse Kronkel

The fact that these ‘interventions’ do have an impact in nature is something Niels notices from the many rare species he sees in Meijendel. “Take the Haagse Kronkel: a special millipede. You can recognize it by its double ‘tail’: one on the back and one on the belly. This soil creature comes from Italy, but lives in large numbers in the area around The Hague and almost nowhere else. We also see more and more animal and plant species coming back. The counter is currently at 7.800, something to be proud of!”

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Let yourself be inspired by Meijendel

Don’t you ever get in the dune area? “I would say: come by,” says Niels with a laugh. “It is very beautiful and inspiring here, it really makes me happy. Enjoy it and be kind to nature.” If you want to make a contribution yourself, Niels recommends local working groups or, for example, national PGOs such as the butterfly foundation. “Or start with your own garden by, for example, hanging a bat box or removing some tiles.” Here you will find more useful tips for a climate-friendly garden. *) Are you inspired by Niels’ story? Here you can read many more cool dune stories , for example about the special sheep of shepherdess Judith. And do come to Meijendel for a nice walk or to follow a nice excursion!

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