Last year we re-launched our Gardens for Wildlife program with a guided walk and series of talks at the Barung Seed Forest at the Maleny Community Precinct!
Since the launch in October we have welcomed many new Gardens for Wildlife members, which is now offered for free as part of a Barung Landcare membership.
New members to the program can choose to renew each year and reap the rewards of being a Barung Landcare member, or simply head on off into the sunset continuing to create their own Garden for Wildlife and displaying their sign to inspire others to take up the call to create a wildlife-friendly garden in their neighbourhood.
What we learnt
Attendees at the October launch learnt about garden design principles with Nurseries Manager Cam Burton, built insect hotels with Barung Landcare staff Tigerlily and Sarah, admired beautiful native flower creations presented by Joan Dillon, and soaked up the sights of the emerging forest as Eric Anderson shared his birding knowledge and highlighted some of the things to consider when creating bird-friendly backyards. The Barung Seed Forest has since become a hub for Gardens for Wildlife learning and community gatherings.
In October we hosted a week-long morning bird survey as part of the Aussie Backyard Bird Count to capture baseline data about what bird species are starting to use the Barung Seed Forest as habitat. While the variety of birds we saw was limited to mostly common species such as Noisy miners and Rainbow Lorikeets, we did see an Eastern whipbird, Laughing Kookaburras, Grey Butcherbirds, Cattle Egrets, Australian Magpies, Pale-headed Rosellas and Pied Butcherbirds. Not a bad start for a budding forest that was less than 12 months old at the time.
We also spent the month of November learning about pollinators with a particular focus on native bees. Tim Heard led a fascinating workshop for those interested in starting their own native bee keeping and we learnt about bee nesting, bee foraging, the diversity of wild bees, importance of bees in natural systems, stingless beekeeping, using stingless bees for pollination of gardens and farms, sugarbag honey and its properties, rescuing bees threatened in the wild, and more.
Former Chief of CSIRO Entomology Dr Max Whitten delivered an informative talk about the role that all properties can play in native bee and insect conservation, and the critical role that insects play in the environment. He shared about the science behind native pollinators, the survival and threats to native bees, as well as the current state of beekeeping in Australia and its implications for biodiversity as well as a growing pollinator industry.
You can learn more about Tim’s work here or order the popular book “The Australian Native Bee Book” online or by popping into the Coral St Office to purchase a copy.
You can follow the work of the Wheen Bee Foundation, the most recent work that Dr Max Whitten presented on here.
Where to next?
This year we will be inviting Gardens for Wildlife members to share their gardening journeys online and in person, with regular feature stories in our newsletter and online blog along with open garden days to showcase the variety of possibilities for native garden designs.
We will also host regular workshops and informative talks on a range of topics relevant to creating and maintaining wildlife-friendly gardens, so keep an eye on our calendar of events to stay up to date and book into those that interest you.
We will also be hosting regular volunteer working bees at the Barung Seed Forest so the broader community can come together and continue to learn new skills in garden design, native plant and wildlife identification, as well as contribute to citizen science activities at the site.
To find out more about Gardens for Wildlife and how to join click here.