RCE Greater Western Sydney-2016

1. Project Title: 
Bee Aware of Your Native Bees: Pollinator Week 2015
2. Thematic area/s addressed by the project
Select your options: 
3. Project partner contact information : 
Bees Business
Consultant - Partner
Main Contact: 
Dr Megan Halcroft
Ms Jen Dollin
Western Sydney University
Alternative project contact: 
Ms Brittany Hardiman
Western Sydney University
4. Project type
Select the relevant type for your project: 
5. Project description
Provide a short description of the project including strategies, regional challenges, aims and specific project activities.: 

The first Australian Pollinator Week was launched by the Bee Aware of Your Native Bees project team in Spring 2015 (southern spring - November) to  acknowledge the importance of insect pollinators. It is a designated week when community, business and organisations can come together to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and support their needs. In the northern hemisphere, “National Pollinator Week” has been celebrated every June since 2007. Because June is the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere, it is an ineffective time for Australians to celebrate the importance of pollinators.

Through national and statewide collaborations  (wildpollinatorcount.com) the project engaged people in citizen science by encouraging them to take part in the wild pollinator count . Activities were based around a ‘real site’, Eskbank House, Lithgow which previously participated in the Bee Aware of Your Native Bees project. This was held on the first day of “pollinator week” and activities were ‘recorded’ and shared with the social media community and they can participate in similar activities at the same time or on any of the other 6 days of Pollinator week.

The regional and statewide community were invited to take part in a variety of activities such as

·         Building a bee / insect hotel – using a collection of easily acquired nesting substrate such as hollow stems from garden prunings, pine cones, pre-drilled wooden blocks

·         Planting a pollinator garden – group activities planting flowering plants (native and exotic) to feed pollinators throughout the year.

·         Catching and identifying some pollinators – using insect nets, jars, magnifying glasses

·         Doing a ‘wild pollinator count’ activity – demonstrating how to observe and count insects and entering data onto website. Such information can be shared with friends and family as well as schools and interest groups.

Using the ‘real site’ as an example, in real time, activities were shared with the ‘virtual sites’.  Virtual sites will be set up by volunteer community groups, based from the Bee Aware of Your Native Bees Facebook group which now has membership of some 3,500 members. Educational resources, based around the site activities were developed to support the real and virtual sites in their activities. These will include

·         Instructions on what to collect to make a hotel

·         How to make a hotel

·         What to plant in a pollinator garden

·         What to include, other than plants, in a pollinator garden

·         Instructions on how to make an insect net, as well as where to buy equipment

·         A basic guide of what some insects look like. As well as safety tips for some our stinging insects

·         Instructions and links for the ‘wild pollinator count’ activities.

All resources will are freely be downloadable from the Bee Aware of Your Native Bees Facebook group site.

6. Project status
Pollinator Week was an incredibly successful addendum to the Bee Aware of your Native Bee program with a further 759 people attending 23 statewide place based events engaging with 35 groups. The week was supported by radio and print coverage including ABC local radio and generated strong social media support on Twitter and Facebook. The Bee Aware of Your Native Bees FB site extended its membership to an additional 512 people as a result of the promotions.

8. Tagging