By The ‘Natured Kids’ Junior Landcare Group
The ‘Natured Kids’ Junior Landcare Group run by free-lance teacher Narelle Debenham, meet each Tuesday at various venues around Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, to work on projects for nature.
Narelle gained inspiration for her latest environmental project, building ‘Beneficial Bug Hotels’ 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.
Back home, here in Australia, Narelle recruited the help of the local Mornington Men’s shed to construct the exterior frame for the bug hotels. Her ‘Natured Kids’ Junior Landcare group collected gumnuts, seed pods and other materials to fill the structures, creating a habitat and shelter for native bees, wasps, hoverflies, beetles, and the many other beneficial insects that are critically important as pollinators and pest controllers.
The three bug hotels created in partnership with the Junior Landcare group, the Men’s shed, and other community groups under Narelle’s guidance can be enjoyed by the general public. These bug hotels have been placed in the Balcombe Estuary public reserve in Mount Martha, the ‘Hands-on’ Vegetable patch at Mount Eliza Secondary College and in the ‘Joy of the Earth ‘Community garden in Frankston. “These structures will positively assist the natural ecosystem by providing a safe nesting place for these beneficial bugs to shelter and raise their young and can be complemented by the underplanting 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.
Outdoor environmental sessions are run by Narelle Debenham, local teacher & nature educator at various natural outdoor locations around Frankston and on the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne, over 8 consecutive Tuesdays starting from 30 January 2018. Families are supported to explore, connect with, meaningfully contribute to, and care for our natural environment.
For more information about Natured Kids, phone Narelle on 0431 791 379.