28 OCTOBER 2021: Australian Pollinator Week launches next month and according to founder and native bee specialist Dr Megan Halcroft, it’s perfect timing.
“For so many people, they’ve been at home with nothing else to do but be out in their backyards gardening,” Dr Halcroft says. “They’ve been adding more plants to their gardens and, often without knowing it, they’ve been creating important habitat for our pollinators.”
With restrictions easing across Australia, Dr Halcroft says she hopes more people will be able to celebrate Australian Pollinator Week and encourage others in their community to understand the important role pollinators play in food production and ecosystem health.
“Most people think of the honey bee as the most important pollinator for our food, but the true story is so much bigger than that,” Dr Halcroft says. “There are thousands of pollinators in Australia, and the honey bee is just one of them. There are native bees, beetles, flies, butterflies and moths that all visit flowers to collect nectar and, in doing so, contribute to the propagation of plant species.
“The more diverse the pollinators, the better the propagation, the better the crops and fruit and nuts. So, it’s in our best interest to make sure these pollinators have the environment they need to thrive.”
Now in its seventh year, Australian Pollinator Week is dedicated to raising awareness of the role of pollinators and encouraging people to contribute to habitats that foster pollinator populations, whether it’s on a farm, in a community garden, in the backyard or on a balcony garden.
“We want to get people to open their eyes and see the beauty of these insects and the service they provide to our food security, and the whole natural landscape,” Dr Halcroft says. “They drive biodiversity, which drives ecosystem balance, which, put simply, allows us to live.”
Australian Pollinator Week starts on Saturday 13 November and runs until Sunday 21 November, with two weekends plus a week, providing plenty of time for everyone to take part in pollinator-related activities. Highlight events include:
Powerful Pollinators: Join Dr Anna Carrucan and Dr Megan Halcroft to discuss the role of pollinators and the many ways you can encourage pollinators, whether it’s on a farm or in a garden. The free webinar will run on Wednesday November 17 at 12.30pm and Thursday November 18 at 7.30pm.
Integrated Pest Management for Farm and Garden: A discussion on managing pests holistically on farms and in gardens, with entomologist Dr Paul Horne. The free webinar will run on Monday November 15 at 12pm.
Wild Pollinator Count: This year will see the 15th running of the Wild Pollinator Count. Learn how to identify insects and hold your own pollinator count to contribute to the growing data on Australia’s native pollinator populations.
Bee Friendly Gardening Across Australia: Dr Julian Brown, Research Fellow in Urban Ecology at the University of Melbourne, Robbie Ashhurst, teacher at James Ruse Agricultural High School and entomologist and ecologist Yolanda Hanusch will discuss pollinator friendly gardens, and how you can create essential pollinator habitat. The free webinar will run on Saturday November 13 at 4.30pm
Pollinator Picnic: Grab some friends and a picnic basket filled with food that’s been pollinated by insects, and celebrate the role pollinators play in food production, increasing biodiversity and protecting ecosystem health. Anytime, anywhere.
Bop to the new tune: Australian Pollinator Week has a new theme song, written by Amelie Ecology to inspire all who are passionate about pollinators. Listen to it here: www.australianpollinatorweek.org.au
Australian Pollinator Week is part of the Wheen Bee Foundation family of supported projects, and CEO Fiona Chambers says there’s still lots of time for organisations to register their event on the website.
“There are events being held in every state and online,” Ms Chambers says. “It means people everywhere can engage in a way that suits them and their communities, whether it’s a webinar with a leading entomologist or a guided walk through a local botanic gardens.”
To list an event or to register for an event, visit www.australianpollinatorweek.org.au