Bee Friendly Hall – The First Bee Friendly Village in Australia
As an example of what can be done with the will and commitment of the local community to protect and encourage pollinators, look no further than our local Hall Village.
What started in 2018 as a small group of Hall Village beekeepers naturally expanded to become a larger group of people – the Hall Honeys – a group of local beekeepers, environmentalists and concerned citizens who appreciated the important role played by pollinators. A discussion about improving the gardens in main street of the Village sparked the idea of establishing Hall as Australia’s first “Bee Friendly Village”. The group resolved to develop and implement a “Bee Friendly Community Charter” with the aim of promoting the health of Bees and other pollinators in the area as well as setting an example that might be emulated by other communities. The Charter
was developed with assistance from ACT for Bees.
The next step was to engage the residents of Hall to gain their support. The Rotary Club of Hall agreed to sponsor an initiative to educate the community and establish a register of “Bee Friendly Gardens”.
Hall Village Men’s Shed members embraced the challenge of constructing 100 “bee hotels” to provide habitat for native bees and other pollinators. The effort started with a review of literature on what makes a good “hotel”: size, wood type, hole size, depth, and location are all important and ease of construction was also a factor. Men’s Shed and Rotary member Bill Pearson, who has a professional design background, experimented with several designs before perfecting the “Bee Block” – a unique design using recycled hardwood timbers. Bill’s artist wife Andie created a distinctive colour palette for the bee block roofs. Each block is numbered so that eventually the community can engage in “citizen science” monitoring of their use. Once the “hotels” were ready, Rotary hosted a ‘Bee Friendly Garden Sizzle’ with some great giveaways.
The response was astounding – nearly every household participated and signed up. If you walk the streets of Hall, you will see the garden signs proudly on display:
Since that event, the Honeys have undertaken a range of projects to improve habitat and food for pollinators in the Village. The plantings and signage educate visitors to Hall Village about pollinators and engage them in the mission and the Honeys are more than happy to share their knowledge with other communities.This is an edited version of an article by Hall Rotarian, Jonathan Palmer.