Australian Pollinators Week, usually held in November, is an important time in the calendar.
Pollinators – especially bees – are vital to plant life and the whole ecosystem. Hiving bees also give us a great example of the importance of social co-operation.
So, with true Golden Bee-style pollination, in 2017, during and after Australian Pollinators Week, five busy Bees – Bernadette Boscacci , Gemma Jane Gardner, Edwina Blush, Denise Weightman and Fairlie Sandilands spread the word about bees, both honey and Aussie, hive and solitary, in their respective communities.
Townsville, North Queensland
Bernadette held a bee motel and weaving workshop out of her back yard studio.
With a great turnout (23 participants), the event was a genuine example of a community / ecology connection combined with creativity. Bernadette was assisted by her Mum (Queen Bee Mary) and two ‘drones’: Peter Buosi who helped with workshop set up and pack down, and Chris Kahler who kindly cut and delivered bamboo for the bee motels.
Some of the comments from delighted participants include:
“It was such a beeutiful breezy afternoon, lots of fun” Christine B.
“Thank you so much everyone!” Jaymie O.
“Top pics Bernie and a massive thank you – such a lovely space, lovely people, lovely food and thanks for sharing your skills too. All up a lovely celebration of pollination.”
Reflecting on the event’s aims, Bernadette (also known to Golden Bees as Brigit B Bee ), extolled: ” let us go forth and pollinate!! ”
Woy Woy, New South Wales
Gemma Jane Gardner had a nation wide online fundraising event for Pollinators Week in 2017. Given that in Australia, November is in the spring/summer buzz of flowering and growth, post winter, Gemma so aptly wrote that ‘love is in the air!’. Gemma and other bees had been busy creating items for sale. Gemma wrote on the event page :
“I have some gorgeous Golden bee 🐝 merchandise available. Golden bee Project is a non profit art/ sustainability movement to raise awareness and support for our gorgeous striped friends. After costs, money will be donated to local landcare and pollination education projects. Gorgeous hand printed black linen tea towels, a variety of colours and sizes of bee shirts (yes some large mens sizes) and mead (the nectar of the gods)” … Gemma’s initiative also created a buzz of conversations about how important bees are to us all, and what they represent, in terms of social co-operation.
Launceston / Exeter, Tasmania
Edwina Blush was another busy bee, this time in Tasmania: Touring with the travelling exhibition of Golden Bee Collective artists through Sweden and the UK from March to May 2017 Edwina picked up new collective members adding exciting work from UK members Peter Rodulfo, Eloise O’Hare and Dugald Ferguson. Together with artists from across Australia these were displayed for the folks of Launceston Tasmania at the UpYork Gallery Cafe in a rotating exhibition lasting 4 weeks, opening during Pollinators week. Audience enthusiasm led to a last minute invitation to include Golden Bee in the inaugural Farm Gate Festival in Exeter. Inspired bee, Denise Weightman flew down all the way from Townsville to assist. Works were displayed around a massive soft sculpture flower installation created by Edwina, featuring acrobat Jack May in full bee suit somersaulting joyfully ,a big, big hit with the toddlers! Queen Bee Edwina glided around regally in her illuminated golden honeycomb crinoline and bustier, (up-cycled chickenwire, junk mail, acrylic, PVA, shellac, up cycled bubble wrap, canvas, second hand fake fur, led lights) bewitching children into the printing workshops. Denise and Edwina had gathered foliage from the adjacent bee garden newly planted by Tristan from Honey Tasmania.* Tristan’s garden features the unique native plants visited by Tasmania’s lucky bees from all around the clean island state. Participants in Denise’s workshop then learned to identify the foliage of their favourite local honey varieties and to experiment with fun printing techniques. Response was effusive with Gillian Miles of Tas Tourism commenting,
“We need to find a way to imbed you in all the agricultural shows, this is marvellous!”
*Honey Tasmania sells work by Golden Bee Collective artists in their Exeter shop.
Atherton Tablelands, North Queensland
Fairlie Sandilands created a six panel Pollinators Awareness display of information combined with her photos of different types of bees and other pollinators at the Malanda Library in far North Queensland. The display hung for two weeks in the town library.
For the panels, Fairlie used corflute which she spraypainted over chicken wire to give a honeycomb appearance. Miss Bee, a feature designed specifically for the children’s section, was made with a combination of new and old repurposed materials.
Malanda is in a rural location and Fairlie noted that in rural areas where there are lots of opportunities for bees and other pollinators to thrive, there are also high levels of pesticides used, so she felt it was important to encourage thought and discussion about the issues involved.
“Your pollinators display was well loved by our patrons and everyone was very impressed.
Need some ideas for Pollinators Week 2018 ? Why not try : http://www.beesbusiness.com.au/pollweekmain.html .
For those of you who are able to garden, have a look at “The Bee Friendly Garden” by Doug Purdie: bit.ly/bee-gardener.
And building a bee/pollinator hotel is an inexpensive and creative activity!