At this year’s show, the Wheen Bee Foundation teamed up with the Victorian Schools Garden Program in the Show’s inaugural Bug and Bloom Garden.
Run by the Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria, the garden provided a place for students to explore the show through the eyes of a bee, with the interactive experience designed to foster a lifelong interest in nature and biodiversity.
Wheen Bee Foundation CEO Fiona Chambers said the show was the perfect opportunity to inform people, young and old, on the vital role bees and other pollinators play in food security, and improving ecosystem health.
“People are fascinated by bees and the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is a fabulous opportunity to take the time to help people understand bees, and what they can do to support them,” Ms Chambers said.
“We had thousands of students come through the site over the five days, along with thousands of adults all keen to know more about bees.”
This year the Wheen Bee Foundation launched a new native bee display where visitors could see the different habitats required by native bees including bee hotels, and assorted nesting options to cater for ground nesting and cavity nesting bees.
Wheen Bee Foundation Ambassadors Tony Wilsmore and Doug Heckathorn were on hand with the popular observation hive, where visitors could get up close with bees and see a real hive in action.
Bee Friendly Farming technical support officer Lea Hannah provided information on the importance of creating habitat for bees, whether it’s in an urban environment, in a garden or on a farm, and handed out hundreds of copies of the Powerful Pollinator Planting Guides.
The Wheen Bee Foundation was also joined by Bee Friendly Farming sponsors Flow, which had a Flow Hive on display and representative Michael Johnson on hand to give advice to budding beekeepers on the pros and cons of keeping bees.
The show also provided the Wheen Bee Foundation the opportunity to preview the new Centre for Bee Education, a new online learning hub delivered in partnership with Bee School by Beechworth Honey.
Beechworth Honey Bee School Lead Teachers Olivia Jacobs and Amelia Bourke were at the Bug and Bloom Garden to talk to school students and hand out free samples of the new Centre For Bee Education Learning Kits for teachers, designed to encourage kids to learn all about bees.
At times there were up to ten team members from the Wheen Bee Foundation and partner organisations on hand to talk to visitors.
“It was an amazing experience to see so many people interested in our programs,” Ms Chambers said.
“We couldn’t do it without our incredible team of volunteers who spend every day talking with people and sharing information, whether it was how to increase habitat for bees or how to become a beekeeper. It’s exhausting, but so inspiring to know we are reaching so many people.”