Mid North Coast Branch – December 2023

Report of branch meeting November 2023
We’ve had a wonderful end of year with two special events that also incorporated our branch meetings. This is something we initiated at the beginning of 2023 – roving meetings – and has proved very popular with members and interested people wanting to join in and learn more.

October Meeting
To add curiosity about nature and reach a new audience, we invited Trevor Smith to join our October meeting which was held in Hollisdale Hall in the wide-open spaces west of Port Macquarie. Most in our local community are aware of Trevor’s important work; his hand-crafted natural timber habitat boxes, for a range of native wildlife, are much admired and sought after.

His presentation was absolutely wonderful and he explained the requirements of some of our native animals, where they like to nest, and how and where to position boxes. He also demonstrated his building techniques to create ‘homes’ that suit a wide range of species – including birds, microbats and possums. Many different types of hardwood boxes were displayed along with a large number of glorious photographs showing happy inhabit-ants in their new lodgings. It was an inspirational presentation and one we hope to emulate next year.

After lunch, the focus returned to native bees. Another local is also well known, particularly for his knowledge and expertise about solitary bees and other pollinators. Jim Marchment presented a large display of ‘bee hotels’, showed how to construct them, what materials to use and where to correctly position them in the garden. Our display boards were full of information, beautiful photographs and a PowerPoint presentation, complete with videos of solitary bees busy in and around their new homes, was fascinating.
A lot of interest was generated for the ANBA and it was a fantastic and rewarding day enjoyed by everyone. Our sincere thanks to these two knowledgeable and engaging presenters.

November Meeting
We decided to have an early get together before Christ-mas and Bartlett Reserve, overlooking the rolling sea at Bonny Hills, was perfect.

A quick end of year meeting was held before lunch and we welcomed new member Charlene. We also elected a new treasurer Kay who, along with her husband Greg, is a seasoned native bee keeper. Jim, an original branch member, agreed to take on the roll of vice president as well as events co-organiser alongside Diane. Thank you to Kay and Jim.

Lunch then fun!
After a picnic lunch – sharing loads of delicious food – we all got busy with bee-hotel building. Jim again excelled and over the two weeks leading up to this day, he constructed empty hotel-structures from repurposed timber, pipe and containers, for the workshop. Everyone was guided how to fashion their own bee hotel which could be taken home or given to family or friends for a wonderfully unique and purposeful Christmas gift. After we cleaned our hands, an informative talk invited everyone to learn more.

This was a most successful and fun day with over 50 people attending – all ages! An enormous thank you to Jim, our branch members and the friends who rallied to help cart the equipment (including buckets and buckets of heavy clay) on the day as well as those who contributed timber off-cuts, bamboo and other material that was recycled and used. Everyone made hotels and the feedback has been enthusiastic and exciting.

We hope you enjoy our lovely photos!
From Diane Norris

2024 PLANS
We have discussed incorporating our branch meetings with workshops or special events to spread the word about native bees and, of course, promote the importance of our ANBA. It has been hugely successful during the year – interesting and rewarding for our group and encourages community engagement when we setup in various venues. People can obtain wonderful information, leaflets, books etc. and we can easily add to our branch’s data base. We also plan to host joint events with our adjoining Hunter branch – meet half-way on the coast – a terrific suggestion from their chairperson, Ben.

Our next meeting and event will be in February and a replica of our Bonny Hills ‘bee-hotel picnic’. Thanks to Greg’s organisation, this time we’ll be a little further south in Nabiac hoping to draw participants from the lower mid coast region.
A great 2024 ahead!

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