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Australian Pollinator Week


This year's dates for Australian Pollinator Week are 11th to 18th of November 2018, Sunday to Sunday

Next Year's dates for Australian Pollinator Week are 10th to 17th of November 2019, Sunday to Sunday

Australian Pollinator Week has been recognised by the Australian Government Department of the Environment.
Australian Government Dept of the Environment Calendar of Events

About Australian Pollinator Week

As part of this year's Australian Pollinator Week (2018), I've developed a series of educational resources. It is hoped that these resources will help empower community leaders to rally support and enthusiasm from their friends and colleagues.

I'm fortunate to have the support to of Western Sydney University's Office of Sustainability and Digital Futures Team. They have enabled me to create a video which communicates the importance of our insect pollinators, for food production and for biodiversity. The video also introduces you to Australian Pollinator Week, an annual event, initiated to help enthuse and inspire community groups to take part in activities that support our insect pollinators.

Please take some time to watch this short (7min) video, which is an introduction to Australian Pollinator Week and start planning your Australian Pollinator Week event.


What is pollination?

Unlike animals, plants can’t move around in search of a mate, to reproduce. Therefore, plants need pollinators to transfer the male sex cells (pollen) to the female reproductive parts of flowers. This is called pollination, which leads to fertilisation. Good fertilisation helps plants develop seeds and fruit. The seeds and fruits that feed the countless animals in the world, including us.

Pollinators drive biodiversity, and over 75% of the world’s flowering plants rely on insect pollinators to reproduce. Pollinators provide these important ecosystem services in the natural landscapes as well as within agricultural/horticultural and urban environments.

The world is suffering from major pollinator declines, but through education and events such as Pollinator Week we can bring these usually-unnoticed insects to the forefront of peoples’ thoughts, with the goal of supporting and protecting their populations.

Why is Australian Pollinator Week important?

Communities in the northern hemisphere have been celebrating the importance of pollinators since June 2007, however, the seasonal differences in the south has restricted bilateral celebrations.

Australian Pollinator Week acknowledges our important and unique insect pollinators during our southern spring (November). 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.

Through group activities, community members can learn and laugh together as they help to support our pollinators. By engaging communities in schools, gardening clubs, community gardens, local council areas, Landcare groups and neighbourhoods we can increase awareness and act on our increased knowledge.

Meet Rita the Reed Bee;

Rita at the doorway

Australian Pollinator Week's mascot

Australian Pollinator Week, 2018, will see a new addition to the tea.. I was fortunate enough to have found a talented young artist, Ebony Salama, to create our new ‘mascot’ for #ozpollinatorweek.

Ebony and I worked together to create a cartoon character who will capture the hearts and minds of all lovers of insect pollinators, especially bees. Because, every great cause needs a mascot!

Rita the ‘reed bee’ is indigenous to Australia and could be any one of the 80 or so bee species within the genus Exoneura.

Rita is not a social bee, like honey bees and stingless bees. She is a semi-social (allodapine) bee who progressively feeds her young in a small, open brood chamber.

Rita doesn't make honey, but she is a very important pollinator. She carries dry pollen in special (scopal) hairs, on her back legs.

She only collects enough nectar and pollen to feed a few offspring at a time. Her babies are bee grubs.

Rita nests in the dead stems of both native and exotic plants. She can excavate the pithy centre of weedy plants such as Lantana, Blackberry and Raspberry, or simply nest in the hollows of reeds or rushes.

Rita and her daughters overwinter in their nest and, if the weather is warm enough, they may be seen foraging for nectar on warm winter days.

Rita has morphological characteristics that define her as a reed bee, but she also has a distinguished personality, befitting her role of mascot for Australian Pollinator Week.

The last three metasomal segments, of her red/brown abdomen, are flattened. She uses these to defend her nest against ants and spiders, by blocking off the entrance with her ‘bottom’.

She has distinctive yellow markings on her clypeaus (forehead), made more distinguished by her gorgeous pompadour.

Her black thorax is pinched at the ‘waist’ with an elegant belt and her gold choker highlights her neck.

Community Education Resources;

Upskilling community leaders.

Enabling leaders to inspire their communities to host an Australian Pollinator Week event.

Since its inception in 2015, Australian Pollinator Week has been celebrated by several communities. However, social media has been the only affordable medium through which we have been able to spread the word. Social media is limiting in many ways and not all communities have embraced this form of communication. Although social media is a good way to disseminate basic information, it lacks the impact of face to face educational techniques.

Bees Business has been communicating the importance of native bees and other insect pollinators, to a broad range of community groups, since 2012. Over this time, it has become clear that people are better engaged when presented with inspiring photos and tangible examples of how to participate in ecological activities, that will support insect pollinators and ecosystems.

To this end, a series of nine (9) digital presentations, along with a script, have been developed to help Upskill the movers and shakers within our communities. Each presentation has a “front end” which answer the following questions:

  • Why are insect pollinators important in our ecosystems?
  • What is pollination?
  • Why is pollination important for food security and biodiversity?
  • What is Australian Pollinator Week?
  • Why do we need to get involved?
  • What kinds of activities can we get involved in?
  • Who is Rita the Reed Bee?

Then each individual presentation has a “back end” which has its own genre of ideas. These include

  • Art activities
  • Craft and community activities
  • Science activities
  • Honey bee keepers club activities
  • Stingless bee keepers club activities
  • Planting floral resource activities
  • Classroom & educational activities
  • Build an insect hotel activities.
  • Wild Pollinator Count.

There are many links in the presentations to the Bees Business website, which hosts open free resource downloads.

Below are the presentations. Each is named according to the appropriate genre.

The presentations are in a PDF format, which is secured and can’t be changed. You will need adobe reader software to maximise their usability. There is a link at the bottom of this page to download the software.

Please feel free to download any or all of the presentations and share this information with anyone who may be interested.

Lets make this year’s Australian Pollinator Week the biggest one yet!

I welcome feedback.

Lisa Vella, a Masters student at Western Sydney University, kindly agreed to help support Australian Pollinator Week. Here, she delivers an example presentation of the Upskilling Community Leaders - Art Activities.

Art

Build an Insect Hotel

Classroom and Educational

Craft and Community

Honey Bee Keepers Club

Planting Floral Resources

Science

Stingless Bee Keepers Club

Wild Pollinator Count


Contact Pollinator Week Organiser.

To contact the organisers of Australian Pollinator Week please: Email.



Exhibition held at Eskbank House

The images here, were part of the 2016 Australian Pollinator Week photo competition. The competition was hosted by the Facebook group, Bee Aware of Your Native Bees, and winners donated their images to the Eskbank House Australian Pollinator Week art exhibition.

The images were printed onto foam core boards and hung in the exhibition hall of Eskbank House Museum, in Lithgow, for the month of November. Printing was generously funded by the Western Sydney University, Office of Sustainability.

The images have been put up on this page to help inspire people to become more aware of the beauty of our insect pollinators. To venture out with camera, pencil or paint brush. Or simply observe and learn.

All images are copyrighted to the acknowledged photographer.

We sincerely thank the photographers for their generosity and talents.



If you do not have a copy of adobe reader on your computer,
click here to download your free copy.
Click to download adobe reader (35mb)
(you will find it is a program which you will use a lot.)