A group of children from across the Peninsula have been as busy as little bees, joining other kids from Frankston and the Melbourne metro region to create a ‘bug hotel’ for our beneficial insects. The youngsters are members of Natured Kids, a Junior Landcare group run by Frankston freelance teacher Narelle Debenham that meets each week to work on projects for nature.
Narelle got the idea for the latest project after a recent trip to Europe, during which she saw many bug hotels that had been built by young people and installed in parks, forests, kindergartens and schools. Narelle recruited the help of the Mornington Men's Shed to build a frame for the hotel and the young Natured Kids members collected gumnuts, seed pods and other material to fill the structure, creating a habitat and shelter for native bees and wasps, hover flies, beetles and the many other beneficial insects that are critically important as pollinators and pest controllers. It has been placed in the Balcombe Estuary public reserve between 7-9 Century Drive in Mount Martha.
“This structure will positively assist the natural ecosystem by providing a safe nesting place for these beneficial bugs to shelter and raise their young and is complemented by the under-planting of pollen-laden plants,” Narelle says.
As well as helping our beneficial insects, whose numbers are declining through pesticide use and habitat loss due to urbanisation, the bug hotel project and other Natured Kids initiatives instil a love and appreciation of nature in children, raise environmental awareness among the wider community and promote intergenerational learning by involving members of the Mornington Men’s Shed. “These young people show so much enthusiasm when working together on environmental projects, and such deep, meaningful and long-lasting experiences would not be possible without the participation of the Men's Shed.”
For more information about Natured Kids, phone Narelle on 0431 791 379.