Pollinating Event Partners: Native Bees & Avocados

How funded event partnerships help connect research to practice

Pollinating Event Partners: Native Bees & Avocados

How funded event partnerships help connect research to practice

Collaborations -

LP022-006

The issue

As project funding competition increases, alternative options for funding of action on-ground and in our community must be sought. To this end, RLI developed a professional service offering event delivery for partner organisations. With a connection facilitated by long-standing partner Lismore City Council, RLI was engaged to coordinate an event connecting Avocado growers in the Richmond Catchment directly to researchers exploring the role of Stingless Native Bees in pollination.

The solution

In early March avocado growers, Landcarers and native bee specialists came together for a free field day, exploring the role of native bees in Avocado pollination.  As part of the “Stingless bees as effective managed pollinators for Australian horticulture” Hort Innovation project, the event got growers up-close and personal with the insects in the orchard, with nets, jars and the inside of a native stingless bee hive. 

The field day was held at Miloudamat Farm near Alstonville, and included information sharing presentations, Q&A opportunities, a farm walk, insect hunts and demonstration of native stingless bee management.  Event hosts, Richmond Landcare Inc and Western Sydney University Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, limited capacity to a cosy 40 people to ensure good learning outcomes. 

Presenters included, local grower and stingless bee keeper, Mike Hogan of Miloudamat Avocados, who performed a live split of a stingless bee hive and explained how native bees have enhanced their organic enterprise. Tom Silver (Avocados Australia) discussed the Industry’s approach to pollination. Dr Megan Halcroft of Bees Business detailed the importance of pollination for crop quality and yield and biodiversity, our over-reliance on honey bees and the potential problems associated with a Varroa mite incursion.  A hive of researchers from Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment detailed the research completed to date on this ongoing project, with Dr Mark Hall, Claire Allison and Sunayana Sajith sharing their project findings.

The impact

Post event feedback showed that all attendees had substantially increased their level of knowledge of native bees, and most strongly agreed that they planned to change their property management strategies due to attending the workshop.  Growers came from many hours away to attend the event.

Communication via local networks including Avocados Australia, Lismore City Council Rural Landholder Initiative and the Landcare community helped deliver event information very effectively to the target group.  The event was significantly over-subscribed and had strong media take-up across print, online, social media, newsletters and both local and national radio.  RLI’s online engagement tally alone exceeded 5000 people.

Key facts

  • Native Bees: Benefits of Pollinators in Avocado Orchards Field Day held on-farm near Alstonville 5/3/2020
  • Limiting event numbers creates good learning outcomes
  • Targeted communication activities via industry groups and local networks gets information where it needs to go
  • 5000 people engaged online about the field day

Project Partners