Understanding the role of super pollinators in our ecosystem Myall Coast Port Stephens Port Stephens News by News Of The Area - Modern Media - August 11, 2021 Butterflies and bees are super pollinators. Photo: Marian Sampson. BEES have been getting plenty of press lately and it’s mainly due to their critical role in pollinating plants we depend on for food, timber, textiles and more. While we generally think of the farmed honey bee, locally we have native bees that live in and around Port Stephens and pollinate our native plants. Advertise with News of The Area today. It’s worth it for your business. Message us. Phone us – (02) 4981 8882. Email us – [email protected] They are critical in maintaining our natural habitat. EcoPollinators is EcoNetwork’s very first special interest group. EcoPollinators is a community-based sustainability program to conserve and expand habitat for native pollinators, like the delightful Blue Banded Bee, one of the many native bees living in our area. Unfortunately, this bee – like many native species – is losing its habitat with urban and industrial development or the replacement of flowering trees and shrubs with grass and concrete. The EcoPollinators program aims to; enhance community awareness about the importance of pollinators to our food and forest ecosystems; draw attention to the risks of habitat fragmentation and the benefits of biodiversity conservation; and partner with local groups and organisations to provide localised resources that participants can use to create pollinator habitat in yards, balconies, bush reserves and public spaces. Betsy Hussin, from EcoPollinators, EcoNetwork PS, told News Of The Area, “We’ll be launching the program at EcoNetwork’s upcoming Sustainability Futures Festival Port Stephens. “We’re in the process of rehabilitating and planting two pollinator habitat reference sites on the Bridle Path with support from Port Stephens Council and the Nelson Bay West Landcare group.” The aim is to prepare fact sheets on local plants, native pollinators, small birds and their habitat needs, including do it yourself shelters and bee hotels, using a framework from the Friends of Tomaree National Park. The exciting program aims to create planting guides that can be used for gardens, yards, balconies and community spaces. Pollinators come in many shapes and sizes, including hoverflies, bees, birds and butterflies. If you have an interest in native bees, pollinators and small bird habitat or local plant communities and would like to know more, please get in touch with Betsy Hussin and Sue Olsson at [email protected]. “There are a variety of ways to help and we’d welcome your involvement and support,” she said. By Marian SAMPSON A honeyeater feeds with pollen on its feathers which will be transferred to the next bloom it visits. Photo: Mat Spillard. A local bee over a water lily. Photo: Mat Spillard.