Cassowary Coast branch – May 2023

The Cassowary Coast branch has had a busy couple of months with a short workshop, our regular meeting and a childcare visit for World Bee Day.

MB Wellness Weekend
MB Wellness Weekend is held 3 times a year with the first one held in early May this year. The weekend is an opportunity for Mission Beach businesses and organisations to showcase them-selves. The Cassowary Coast branch conduct-ed a short work-shop: An introduction to native bees and gardens for bees. The session was well attended by community members and generated lots of interest and questions.

May Branch Meeting
Our branch’s geographical region ranges from around Babinda in the north to Cardwell in the south. A lot of our recent meetings have been held in Mission Beach so in May, we chose to meet in Innisfail at Innisfail State College.

Jane hosted our meeting and ran a very informative session on avenues to be involved in Citizen Science projects. First topic was the use of the iNaturalist app and website. Interesting aspects of iNaturalist are the usefulness for ID of bees, as well as other insects and plants. A photo is uploaded and then it is viewed and an ID suggested. Experts such as biologists, entomologists etc, from around the world may weigh in on the ID. Justification comments are included in the ID which Jane says have been an immense help to her ID skills.
Second topic was Pollinator Week which happens in November in Australia. Participants are taken through an ID learning program and then conduct and upload a count of pollinators in their selected location.

Lastly, Jane ran us through UQ’s Native Bee Citizen Science project which involves beekeepers counting bees entering and leaving hives in order to collect data about parent hives setting up daughter hives. The College has several wild hives throughout the school and Jane’s students at Innisfail College are counting bees as part of the project. We investigated the wild hives throughout the school and looked at the beginnings of the school’s native food gardens which will eventually provide food for bees and other pollinators.
Our meeting ended with a robust discussion and sharing time where members had an opportunity to discuss any questions about their own bees and hives. We also dis-cussed our upcoming AGM. (See end of article for details).

Childcare Visit
The CC branch was approached by Goodstart childcare in Innisfail to help celebrate World Bee Day. Sue and I presented a short session to 26 under 5 children (what were we thinking? ), where we discussed native bees, looked inside a display hive and attempted to make play dough bees. By the end of the session, the kids were buzzing with excitement!

Future Projects
The CC branch has been approached by 2 local schools looking for assistance with units of work involving native bees. We’re hoping to be able to help by providing advice and a sharing session with students and teachers.
From: Liz Lang, Chair Cassowary Coast Branch

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