Australian Pollinator Week 2022
December 13, 2022
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Success with the ACT Government for Pollinators!

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The end of the year is almost upon us and we want to thank you for your support over the year and to wish you and all your loved ones, a happy festive season.
What a year it’s been with heartache and loss caused by widespread flooding in many parts of the country, a resurgence of COVID, and rising cost of living pressures.  However, there have also been small positive steps on environmental protection and climate change, more domestic travel allowing reunions with family and friends and indeed holidays(!)
At ACT for Bees and Other Pollinators we feel we’re ending the year on a high and we hope that you’re feeling the same. That’s not to underestimate the challenges ahead, nor the difficulties faced by many in our community. But with summer finally arriving after a magnificently floriferous spring, our hearts can sing!
Since October, we’ve had a stalls at the COGS Kambah Open Day, Woden’s 60th Birthday celebrations and at Bunnings Tuggeranong for Christmas celebrations; we held a range of activities throughout Wild Pollinator Week including talks at Floriade with the Canberra Environment Centre and the Tuggeranong Library; had an exciting morning filming for ANU students planting for pollinators in the ANU Thrive Kitchen Garden program. It was a wonderful collaboration with the Canberra Environment Centre and ANU Thrive Kitchen Garden and we’re very much looking forward to seeing the garden thrive! We’ll keep you posted about the video for the ACT Government’s Zero Emissions grant. Most recently, thanks to collaboration with Sally Holliday who runs the Landcare Wellbeing through Nature program.a successful Native Bee Hotel Workshop led by our local native bee expert, Peter Abbott,  Peter says that there are at least 170 different specifies of native bees in the ACT and NSW South Coast Region[1] and 120 species at the ANBG.[2]
We’ve continued our advocacy work to make the ACT a more pollinator friendly environment and are thrilled that the ACT Legislative Assembly recently passed a motion calling for a wide range of data about wild pollinators to inform policy and educate Canberrans on the actions they can take to support these important insects.  Further details are below.
Our last event of the year will be a workshop in conjunction with the Molongo Conservation Group, Habitat for Wildlife Event.

[1] Peter Abbott, Native Bees of the ACT and NSW South Coast:  A Spotter’s Guide p 18

[2] Peter Abbott writing in Fronds, the Magazine of the Friends of the Australian National Botanical Gardens, Number 102, December 2022, p. 6

EVENTS
Habitat for Wildlife Event and Propagation Workshop Friday 16th December 4:00-6pm

This Habitat for Wildlife event with the Molonglo Conservation Group and ACT for Bees is all about how we can help create a habitat network for pollinators.
For any green thumbs, we’ll be doing some propagating to increase the habitat network in Coombs and its surrounding suburbs. This will include a variety of herbs that you’ll be able to use as much as our bees!
Meet Friends of Molonglo Green Spaces and hear about opportunities in the area to volunteer, enjoy a BBQ in the cottage’s beautiful garden while the children take part in some pollinator themed activities and chat with other bee and garden lovers.
Book here for Habitat for Wildlife Workshop.

Recently spotted native bees in Callistemon and Wahlenbergia.

ACT Legislative Assembly motion
Suzanne Orr, the Member for Yerrabi tabled a Notice of Motion on 22 November calling on the ACT Government to report extensively on the ACT’s bee and pollinator populations, including on:

  • how public policy supports bee and other pollinator populations;
  • threats to pollinator populations, including biosecurity threats and Government responses to these threats; and
  • how Canberrans are educated on the importance and role of bees and other pollinators within our environment. 
  • The Government is to report back to the Legislative Assembly on the matters outlined in the motion by May 20, (World Bee Day 2023). 
    We are particularly pleased that during debate, all members in the Assembly indicated support for the motion.  You can read the full details of the Motion here on p6.

United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Meeting in Canada 7-12 December 2023
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the only legal framework globally addressing the protection, restoration, and use of nature. Almost 200 countries are currently meeting in Montreal, Canada, to finalise a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
Despite an increase in policies and actions internationally to support biodiversity, indicators show that biodiversity around the world further declined between 2011 and 2020.[1] The degradation of ecosystems and decline of biodiversity exacerbate climate change and threaten the natural processes which protect human health and provide clean air, water and food. For this reason, the issues papers prepared in the lead up to the meeting have called for a significant expansion of conservation measures, including a target of 30% of the earth’s land and sea to be designated protected areas by 2030.  Estimates vary about what proportion of the planet is functionally intact with one estimate as low as 3% of land and sea[2]. Restoring the web of life (functionality of ecosystems) and allowing healthy animal populations – rewilding – will therefore be required for our land, freshwater, and seas.  This is quite a complex issue, with significant implications for indigenous peoples and local communities and unsurprisingly, there is a diverse range of views on the quantum of the target itself and how it might work.  You can read more about it here and here.


[1] https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-brief/post-2020-global-biodiversity-framework

[2] https://rewilding.org/turn-the-tide-rewild-the-planet/

Australian Government Response to the Independent Review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The Federal Government announced on 8 December a range of important reforms to Commonwealth environmental law, including the establishment of a Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which will be empowered to impose legal binding standards across all environmental decisions. Draft legislation is expected to be available by the middle of 2023, with introduction into Parliament before the end of 2023. Further details are available here.

Constructing bee hotels at our workshop thanks to Sally @ Landcare Wellbeing through Nature Program: Build  a Bee Hotel Workshop. Thanks also to Peter Abbott for his expert overview of Bees of the ACT and Region

A couple of interesting websites and books to enjoy over summer
When you’re not out spotting native bees, you might find a shady spot, put your feet up and tune into Ian Fraser’s wonderful post on butterflies of the Canberra region or his ode to the beauty of the Grampians – not too far from Canberra

And some books we’ve recommended in the past but you may not have had the opportunity to read plus a couple of new ones.
The Mind of a Bee by Lars Chittka.  Building on 30 years of research, in The Mind of a Bee, you will read that bees feel emotions and pain, display metacognition (that is, they know what they know), and show individual differences in their ability to learn, with fast and slow learners. Bees are aware of their bodies and the outcomes of their actions, and they display intentionality through tool use – previously only recognised in humans, primates, and the corvidae family of birds.  This is a fascinating read and we have a link to a seminar Chittka gave to the Linnean Society in our web links below.
The Age of Seeds:  How Plants Hacked Time and Why our Future Depends on It, by Fiona McMillan-Webster.  Plants evolved seeds to hack time. Thanks to seeds they can cast their genes forward into the future, enabling species to endure across seasons, years, and occasionally millennia.  Yet many seeds, including those crucial to our everyday lives, don’t live very long at all. In The Age of Seeds Fiona McMillan-Webster tells the astonishing story of seed longevity, the crucial role they play in our everyday lives, and what that might mean for our future.
Beachcombing – A Guide to Seashores of the Southern Hemisphere by Ceridwen Fraser.  If you’ve ever walked along a beach or rocky shore and peered, poked or wondered at the things cast upon it by the waves, this book is for you. With wonderful photographs, the book has facts, information and stories about the amazing treasures that can be found along beaches.

Wishing you all a happy and safe festive season.’Thank you’ for your continued support during the past year and would like to wish you a blessed and most abundant harvest throughout the coming year.
Happy gardening and pollinator spotting!

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