- Researchers at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst seek volunteers to co-create a pollinator garden on Saturday 16 October to examine how communities can reverse the decline in pollinators which endangers biodiversity and food supply
Researchers at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst seek volunteers to assist a project they have initiated to help arrest the decline of pollinators across Australia which is endangering biodiversity, crop yields and the food supply.
A team in the Charles Sturt School of Business led by Senior Lecturer in marketing Dr Felicity Small secured a Sustainability at Charles Sturt grant to create a ‘pollinator garden’ ─ a ‘B&B’ (Bed and Breakfast) for birds, bees, butterflies and biodiversity ─ on the Bathurst campus.
The research team invites volunteers from community stakeholder groups and anyone interested to participate in the project to attend the ‘Pollinator Garden working bee’ on Saturday 16 October at Charles Sturt in Bathurst.
“There is a general decline of pollinators around the world and in Australia,” Dr Small said.
“It’s not just bees that are pollinators, it’s also birds, butterflies and other insect pollinators, so we need to act urgently to address the decline.”
“The proposed pollinator garden will provide much needed rest and revival for pollinators, which are experiencing alarming population declines.”
Dr Small, who is also a member of the Charles Sturt Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS), said birds, bees, and various types of beneficial insects play a vital role in pollinating the plants that provide our food and make up our ecosystem.
“Most people aren’t aware that pollinators are ‘connected’ to one-in-three bites of what people eat, and that they are extremely important for soil and water health, and are the basis of the ecosystem and biodiversity,” she said.
“The good news is that recent studies have shown that urban areas can be ‘hotspots’ for biodiversity, if plants are carefully selected and promoted, thus we are building a ‘Pollinator Garden’ on campus at Charles Sturt in Bathurst.”
Apart from the practical outcome of developing a pollinator garden, the project is also a research enquiry that will examine the ‘lived journey’ of what is involved in creating this community project.
Dr Small said the project team is also researching the effects on key stakeholders of building a native low-water garden for local pollinators. The stakeholders include Charles Sturt staff and students, as well as volunteers from the local community.
“Together with the creative act of building the garden, various artefacts are emerging from our project such as a video, radio interviews and podcasts, and memos,” she said.
“Using the method of a collaborative ethnography, these artefacts will form an ‘assemblage’ that enables us to answer our research question, ‘How do stakeholder groups co-create meaning around Charles Sturt’s Pollinator Garden?’”.
“As part of the project we also plan to develop educational material and signage to explain the importance of pollinators to people and the planet.”
The ‘Pollinator Garden working bee’, a COVID-safe event, is from 9.30am to 2.30pm on Saturday 16 October at Charles Sturt in Bathurst. Participants should bring their own hat, gloves, sturdy footwear, garden trowel, and mask. Morning tea and lunch will be provided.
Community members who would like to be involved with the pollinator garden, or research project can contact the researchers via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (02) 6338 4242 to speak to the project lead Dr Felicity Small.
To find out more listen to the ‘Pollinator Garden’ podcasts on radio 2MCE in Bathurst.