Year 5 and 6 at Northcross Christian School, North Ryde wrapped up their unit on the Human Impact on the Environment with a visit from The Super Pollinators. We were happy to tailor this incursion to support their unit.

If you don’t know there is a problem how can you solve it? So we explored the ramifications on bees of habitat loss, monocultures and the use of pesticides including controversial neonicitinoids. We discussed pests and diseases and the importance of strong quarantine procedures to keep the nasty little varroa destructor mite out of Australia. And we also considered the impact that introduced honey bees have had on Australian species as they compete for hollows and foraging sites.

Of course, man’s negative impact on pollinators will have a ripple effect on greater biodiversity and we looked at our Sydney ecosystem to see what that meant in a local context including the impact on free ecosystem services.

While this all seems like scary stuff, here at Kids Connecting Nature we are proactive!

All of these issues point to a strong case for a PLAN BEE!: Provide a healthy environment with habitat and diversity and of course encourage our native bees to boost pollination services.

The students at Northcross Christian School loved checking out our amazing native bee species and learning about how bee diversity is so vital. These bright kids had some fantastic solutions to helping our bees such as crop diversity instead of monocultures and providing remnant habitat within agricultural areas.

In our own backyard, it is easy peasy to pleasy beesy by planting lots of flowering species for year round foraging and providing habitat like a bit of bare earth for the 70% of dirt loving bees! We also need to BEE AWARE and avoid deadly pesticides, instead encouraging beneficial invertebrate species like solitary wasps, lady bugs and preying mantis to help reduce garden pests.

We wrapped up the session working in small groups to build bee hotels that will be decorated and placed out in the world ready for guests.

I am pretty confident that the students at Northcross are going to be awesome environmental champions judging by the answer to my final question – ‘Who loves bees?’ I am excited to say it was a full show of hands. Nice work Northcross!