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  • Annabel Sides

Sport + Pollinators

Bee mindful or Bee dancing.


It’s Australian Pollinator Week 13-21 November.


Some in sport today can change a world view by changing their drink of choice. Brilliant.


Some can encourage every day appreciation of nature and encourage action to support nature by choreographing dance moves or mindfully counting pollinators. Also brilliant.


Now, option one is to BEE dancing.


This is a global opportunity. No matter what sport you play or where you are in the world, this could be you.


The Global Online Waggle Dance Challenge is a fun activity that promotes interest in honey bees. The dance mimics the extraordinary way honey bees communicate and celebrates bees’ crucial role in pollination and food security.


The Global Online Waggle Dance has been designed to allow people to unite from anywhere in the world from the safety of their own home so that they can become part of this global celebration.




Option two is to BEE mindful.


You need a sunny day, a flowering plant and 10 minutes. Is there a flowering plant out the front of your gym, pool, track? Somewhere you take a quick break if you are a race walker or distance runner? Yes, then hang ten and do a pollinator mindfulness activity.


Count some of the army that support the farming industry and the food that makes it to our table and fuels our bodies.


Check out the Wild Pollinator Count


Either way being mindful or dancing are good for your mental health, something we all need to look after following long periods of lock-down.


Why is protecting pollinators important?


Plants can’t move around so rely on pollinators to do the job of “pollinating”, transferring the male sex cells (pollen) to the female reproductive parts of flowers. This helps plants develop seeds and fruit that feed us and wildlife. 90% of wild plants and 75% of food crops rely on pollinators.


Pollinators, like so much of our natural world are under threat Hallmann et al (2017) documented a drastic reduction over 75% in insect biomass in a 27 year longitudinal study across 63 protected areas (nature reserves) in Germany.


So what’s the status in Australia? In Australia, we have a lack of pollinator research and need to monitor pollinator diversity and numbers over time, quickly. Getting involved in citizen science like the pollinator count and raising awareness by waggle dancing helps on two fronts. It increases knowledge for science and grows the communities connection to the pollinator teams. These teams are a critical link in the biodiversity puzzle.


There are many other things you can do as a sport to be part of nature based solutions and protecting wildlife. From rewilding your golf course to investigating nooks and crannies, car parks and stadium roofs as home for habitat boxes, bug hotels and pollinator plots.


The biggest impact you can have as an athlete or sport is to form collaborative purpose driven partnerships with those restoring ecosystems and protecting wildlife. Make sure these projects involve you not just planting trees or carbon offsetting, look at projects that are regenerative. Look at some examples around the world by One Tree Planted, or one of my favorite restoration groups, Gondwana Link , or the work of Rangelands Restoration Trust. All focus on working in a way so people and nature can thrive together.


Closer to home for me, Woodend Golf Club, my golf club, is doing amazing local work in partnership with Landcare, Macedon Ranges Shire Council and EnviroGolf Solutions.


Even closer, Newham Landcare is connecting community and nature as part of the Cowbaw biolink.


Big or small. It all counts.






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