Splitting a native bee hive at Michael Mobbs’ Sustainable House in Chippendale today.  Directing the show was Peter Clarke, WildThings coordinator, also there was Randwick Councillor Murray Matson.

  The stingless native Trigona is an important pollinator of native plants.  Pictured left is the feral honey bee together with the many times smaller Trigona.  The feral bee drills a hole in the Epacris longiflora flower to get to the pollen while the native Trigona is small enough to fit into the floral tube.   More information – Link to ABC story about Native Bees in Sydney Botanic Gardens (you can watch the Gardening Australia segment hosted by Clarence Slockee) and more on Trigona at the Aussie Bee site –  Link

The Wild Things Program according to Peter Clarke at Ku-ring-gai has engaged residents who might not be interested in programs such as Bushcare.  Under the scheme residents can be assisted to convert all or part of their back and/or front yards (and swimming pools) into native habitat  for frogs, bluetongue lizards,native bees.  Peter recognises that not every resident has the time and/or interest in weeding/bushcare programs but is still interested in doing something positive to enhance the local environment. 

 Not all residents with pools wish to maintain them.  Some see the loss of water through evaporation as wasteful but are reluctant to take on the expense of outright removal, particularly if they are considering relocation at a future date.  The ‘Pool to Pond Program’ has been presented as a solution to this dilemna and the upside is the expansion of habitat, particularly for frogs.  

The Wild Things program also has the potential to enhance wildlife corridors and build on the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife Backyard Buddies Program http://www.backyardbuddies.net.au/ Part of the thrust of the program is to increase an awareness of native animals and to enhance their value as ‘backyard buddies’. The Backyard Buddies program supports a ‘guardianship’ approach to native animals ranging across suburban backyards.

This is a community capacity building program which aims at increasing native habitat, changing perceptions of the value of native flora and fauna, and assisting individual households  and  groups of households in neighbourhoods, medium and high density settings, and those involved in community gardens to achieve better biodiveristy outcomes across the municipality.  There are also opportunities for sponsorship along the lines of the Ku-ring-gai Program.

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