Pollination Highway

In 2021 PlantingSeeds received a $5000 Waverley Environment Grant to create and link habitat for local birds, bees and butterflies.  Based in sound scientific methodologies, citizen science and hands on engagement, the Waverley Bed and Breakfast for Biodiversity sites join over 120 across Australia, providing much needed food and shelter for urban insects and animals.

Kate Fraser from Planting Seeds explains what has been achieved locally with Council’s Environmental grant funding.

Ladies infront of garden

The 'B' in 'B&B Highway' stands for Bed & Breakfasts & Biodiversity - for birds, bees and butterflies threatened by habitat loss. Planting Seeds established the Waverley B&B Highway at three education facilities - GoodStart Early Learning Bondi Junction, Bondi Public School and Castlefield Kindy Bondi.

Each Bed and Breakfast includes a selection of native pollinating plants to form natural habitat and a constructed habitat, such as a native stingless beehive, or an insect hotel. Each school or kindy received indoor and outdoor education sessions and accompanying resources. Citizen science, through data collection and pollinator and plant identifications, is a key part of the B&B Highway initiative and biodiversity assessments were carried out in each location.

Our B&B Highway project is always a collaboration between our team and the schools and centres we partner with. Initially, our team conducted studies at each location to determine which plants and pollinators were present and what plants we could add. This involved monitoring specific areas for a period of time to see what is observed. When combined with citizen science observations, a better understanding of pollinators in the area is formed.

Our team worked with 150 students across the three locations, to teach them about pollination, biodiversity and pollinators, as well as host practical hands-on workshops. During this time, students planted native plants, undertook biodiversity quests, gathered observations and helped install the beehives.

Students were shown how to become citizen scientist by using iNaturalist. Bondi Public School made 96 observations of flora and fauna, including native stingless bees, jumping spiders, lillipilly and coastal rosemary. These can be viewed by the global scientific community via the school B&B Bioblitz project on  iNaturalist.

At our final visit, our staff remeasured the pollinator observations and installed signage to help inform and educate the families.

Across the three locations, native vegetation was increased by 150 plants. Species included, coastal rosemary, native violets, sweet-scented boronia, callistemon and grevillea amongst others.

PlantignSeeds carried out pre and post biodiversity assessments of each site to see the difference in biodiversity in each location. The post biodiversity survey showed a slight increase in pollinator and plant diversity. With Bondi Public School seeing an increase in solitary bees, such as the Blue-banded bee.

This study will be repeated after another six months with numbers of pollinators expected to grow as the plants mature. Anecdotal evidence from Castlefield Kindergarten also shows an increase in pollinators seen by staff and students.

We have seen an increase in knowledge and confidence around biodiversity and pollination,

especially with the primary school children and their families. Castlefield Kindergarten staff report the young children have an increased knowledge and fascination of pollinators, with children at the centre falling in love with their new beehive and visiting it multiple times a day to watch the small bees coming and going.

As a result of our education sessions the children are now more actively involved in the garden. At Bondi Public School the garden program has increased and our project was helpful in re-establishing their gardens after a change of garden teacher. The PlantingSeeds team are in contact with each location and available for ongoing support as needed, with access to our resource package available for all students.

You can read more about the B&B Highway here.