Rotarians for Bees is a group of Rotarians from a variety of Rotary Clubs who are very worried about the dangerous decline in bee (& other pollinator) populations worldwide & are taking action to help reverse this trend.
Without bees and other pollinators much of the world’s food supply would end so it’s literally a matter of life and death that these essential tiny links in our global food chain are supported and with Rotary’s global reach we can do something to help!
Rotary Canterbury is one of the founding Clubs and is proud to auspice this project.
Rotarians for Bees mission is to:-
- build awareness of the need to protect & support bees amongst our 1.2 million members worldwide
- encourage action to support pollinators and their role in agriculture & horticulture around the world, thus ensuring food security.
Established under the auspices of the Rotary Club of Canterbury (Australia). Rotarians for Bees comprises a growing group of Rotarians & friends from over 40 countries, lead by a committee in Australia.
Chairman: John McCaskill (Rotary Canterbury) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary: Rosemary Waghorne (Rotary Canterbury)
Bee populations are dwindling in alarming numbers globally due to:
- Climate change
- Pesticides and industrial agriculture
- Loss of habitat & flowering plants
- Varroa mite & diseases
- Commercial viability of Beekeeping
What can Rotarians do to support bees & other pollinators?
Honey Bees live in hives with a queen, protect their territory (& sting!), but setting up a hive of your own can support the bee population, improve vegetable garden yields and produce delicious honey.
A number of Rotarians are apiarists why not invite one to speak to your club about how to get started?
Check the Rotary Districts’ Speakers Banks or to find out about setting up a managed hive contact Henry Fried and Mary Trumble at Backyard Honey www.backyardhoney.com.au
For more information about Honeybees contact the Victoria Apiarists Association (VAA) at www.vicbeekeepers.com.au
To find out about bees & bee friendly plants visit www.rooftophoney.com.au or www.amazingbees.com.au
Of the 1,500 or so types of native bees in Australia, roughly 10% are stingless & live in hives with a queen. The others are more solitary, but all are valuable pollinators and can be housed in ‘bee motels’ of hollow bamboo or in tree trunks.
Ask your local Men’s Shed to make you a bee motel, set it near your flowering bushes in the sun, away from people & pets & welcome native bees into your vegetable gardens to help magnify your crops!
Time for ACTION!
To support bees & pollinators all Rotarians can help:
- Join our Facebook page to learn more, share ideas and make global connections for pollinator projects! https://www.facebook.com/groups/395777217740428/
- Plant bee friendly plants with lots of pollen & nectar in gardens & pots, eg:
Lilacs & Lavenders, Flowering Gum, Fruit Trees & Berry Bushes, Herbs, Tea Tree, Grevillia, Wattle, Hakea, Happy Wanderer & more!
- Talk to your local council about establishing bee friendly gardens on nature strips & public land like they are doing in Paris & elsewhere.
- Never use pesticides outdoors & encourage farmers you know to adopt biological alternatives to chemical pesticides.
- Establish a bee hive (for honey bees) or bee motel (for native bees) at home.
- Support research into disease & varroa resistant bees through not-for-profit organisations like the Wheen Foundation www.wheenbeefoundation.org.au
- Invite an apiarist to speak at your Club & spread the word!
- If you see a bee swarm, call an apiarist to have it safely removed & rehoused.
Interested in joining Rotarians for Bees?
Contact John McCaskill (Rotary Club of Canterbury) email@example.com or Faye Kirkwood (Rotary Club of Caulfield) firstname.lastname@example.org
Useful references include:
Our Potential impact
1. Rotary’s Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group (ESRAG) aims to integrate environment and sustainability into everything we do. It is building membership through regional chapters, including one Australia, which will focus on 2 key issues: bees and plastics. Hence, Rotarians for Bees is a perfect fit with ESRAG.
2. ESRAG has a partnership with the UN and is setting up project teams, e.g. climate change, pollinators; investigating the possibility of an Enviro club award; and developing a Database on environmental projects in Rotary. Rotarian for Bees members have agreed to join ESRAG.
3. While Rotarians raise funds for a multitude of projects, Rotary is not a bank with unlimited funds. Its key strength is in networking, lobbying/influencing, and mobilizing its members.
4. Rotary cannot (nor should it try to) solve all of the issues relating to pollinator decline. Many of them are the responsibility of the industry and/or government.