I first became interested in saving the bees when I was 15 – my best friend at the time loaned me a book called A World Without Bees by Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum. As I went through it, it blew my mind to know just how much we would lose without these little fuzzy dudes doing their job. That was my introduction to the decline of bee populations; from then on, I went looking for more information about conservation efforts or things I could do in my day to day life to help, as well as learning more about bees in general.

My name is Sabah Khan, and I’m a recent graduate of Computer Science from Trinity College in Dublin. I’m a born-and-bred Dublin girl – I love the city. Currently, I’m on the lookout for any tech opportunities that can help me hone my skills and learn more about the industry. In the meantime, I’ve been keeping busy with my own code projects.

I first wanted to get into the tech industry so that I could make video games. Video games have been a constant companion throughout my life, and I love the way you can use them to tell a story and really connect with an audience. Once I got into Computer Science in college, I started taking an interest in all sorts of different departments, like telecommunications and computer vision. If there’s one thing I really love about the industry, it’s how it’s constantly evolving and changing; there’s never monotony!

Outside of my job, I love blogging and saving the bees. I first became interested in blogging when I was in my teens – I’ve always loved writing and telling stories, although I was really nervous about sharing any of my work. I started to use Tumblr as a pseudo-blogging platform back then, and I’m now trying to work on my own WordPress site to post some short works.

What I love about blogging is that it is an outlet for a different kind of creativity than the one present in my field of work. The tech industry definitely requires some out-of-the-box thinking, but to me, it feels like you’re constrained a lot more by external factors, like deadlines or technologies. Blogging is freeing; it’s just words on a page. I could write pretty much anything and throw it out into the great expanse of the internet: https://sarbacanedottxt.wordpress.com/.

My blogging style is mostly personal – I like to write about my life and share the things that go on. I also enjoy writing fiction from time to time. I think blogging is important because everyone needs a way to express themselves; many people are bound by fear and never take the leap of faith you need to put yourself out there.

Looking at my other activity, I am also passionate about saving the bees. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic and being unemployed, I’m really limited in what I can do to help. Here in Ireland, we have a special kind of ecosystem called the Machair – that’s only found here and in parts of Scotland; nowhere else on the globe! It’s home to a bunch of endangered flora and fauna, including rare bee species like the greater yellow bumblebee and the red-shanked carder bee. I would really love to set up a conservation group or charity to help with the protection of this area and encourage the habitat to grow.

One of the best projects you can do to help the bees is planting wildflowers! One of the biggest threats to bees is the loss of habitat – because so much of our land goes into farming or urbanisation, there’s not much room left for fields of wildflowers. But, if we were to plant them in our gardens, then we could encourage bees to visit. Bees really like purple and yellow flowers; my personal recommendation would be lavender, since it also smells lovely. Aside from that, bee hotels can be good for solitary bee species to rest in. And if you happen to see a bee crawling along, then it’s most likely tired, so give them some sugar water and honey to help them along!

My favourite experience with saving the bees was part of a birthday gift my friends gave me last year – we drove out to the West of Ireland and took a tour of Leahy beekeeping. It was so nice getting to see all sorts of different aspects of beekeeping and being among nature (the free honey was good too!). Aside from that, I remember one day while getting lunch in college, I spotted a little honeybee crawling on the ground. Most people are afraid of getting stung, some of my friends included, so it was amazing to them when I scooped the little thing up and let it down on a little patch of flowers. They told me afterwards that it was incredible to see, and I’d like to think that experience might stick with them and encourage them to help any bees they see in the same situation.

My future goal is to do more to preserve the machair environment here in Ireland, and I’d like to do more to promote the planting of wildflowers and encouragement of bee-friendly areas around Dublin. Hopefully, if I can gain some traction from blogging, I’ll be able to use it to bring attention to these efforts. Aside from that, I’d love to become an author and write books, so I hope that by blogging, I can improve my skills and get some feedback on my writing.

I don’t see many similarities between my hobbies and my career – I like to think that they’re all separate, but still connected. I can use my tech skills to write a blog; in turn, I can use that blog to write about bee conservation efforts. They allow me to explore different aspects of myself, which I think is really important for anyone – it’s important to have more dimensions to your person.

My advice to anyone interested in blogging or bee conservation is to start small and keep learning. It can be overwhelming to look at a new interest and see a successful blogger or a pioneer in bee conservation, but they could be you one day. Starting is always the hardest step; I know that I’ve definitely been paralyzed before starting big tasks, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the tech industry, it’s to start with something that works and keep building up.

There is always more than tech. My best friends are people I met in college – they all do jobs in the IT industry, yet they’re some of the most diverse and downright incredible people I’ve ever met. Every person really is different; there’s always more to the girl who writes code or the guy who deploys software.

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