Arts out there: Esperance Wildflower Festival

Sculpture sting: Bee researcher Kit Prendergast with native bee sculptures created for the Esperance Wildflower Festival. Photo: Kim Maslin.
Sculpture sting: Bee researcher Kit Prendergast with native bee sculptures created for the Esperance Wildflower Festival. Photo: Kim Maslin.

In association with Esperance Wildflower Festival, Perth-based native bee researcher Kit Prendergast visited last weekend to speak about her work and promote awareness of the diversity of native bee species and the need for their conservation. This visit was linked to the Festival theme of "Bugs in the Bush".

When hearing of bees, most people immediately think of the introduced European Honey Bee. However there are around 2,000 species of native bee in Australia with 800 in W.A. They range in size from 24mm down to a tiny 2mm, and play a crucial role in the pollination and therefore the ongoing presence of many native plant species. They are also effective pollinators of many non-native species including tomatoes.

Kit also led a 'bee walk' at Helms Arboretum attended by an enthusiastic group of around 30 people, who were able to view several different species including a tiny bee that was abundant on the flowers of the Bell-fruited Mallee.

As a result of Kit's visit, attendees learnt a great deal about native bees and how to recognise them in the field. Much interest was generated - so searching for and photographing native bees is now likely to become part of future Wildflower Society outings.

Kit's visit was funded by Festivals Australia as part of the MegaFLORA Community Sculpture Project. Local community members are busy creating giant plants and insects, including several different native bee species, which will be on display during the Festival from 24th - 25th September, at the Anglican Parish Hall.

Entries for the Open Category of the Act-Belong-Commit Esperance Wildflower Festival Art Exhibition and Competition are also now on display around town. We are excited to have 35 artworks created by 26 local artists are on display at 19 venues around the Esperance CBD in the lead up to the Wildflower Festival. You can vote for your favourite entries in the Over 16 and Under 16 sub-categories as part of the People's Choice Awards. Voting slips and voting boxes will be available at Esperance Community Arts Space and in a number of the shops displaying the artworks. A map of the art trail listing all the artists and locations will also be available in the shops and on the Esperance Wildflower Festival website. Prizes for this part of the competition will be generously donated by Southern Ports Authority and Act-Belong-Commit.

Entries to the Schools Category of the Act-Belong-Commit Esperance Wildflower Festival Art Exhibition and Competition will be on display in the Anglican Church during the Festival. There will be a People's Choice Award for the best school display donated by Act-Belong-Commit.

Forty-five entries for the 100 Word 'Bugs in the Bush 'Competition are now also on display at Esperance Community Arts Space. Call in and place your vote for your favourite entry by Friday 27th September. We have had a wonderful response with 18 entries in the Over 16 category and 27 entries in the Under 16 category. The winners of these People's Choice Awards will receive prizes generously donated by Fishface Takeaway and Restaurant and the Recherche Writers group.

Awards for both competitions will be presented at the Wildflower Festival on the morning of Saturday 28th September, following the Festival parade.

For more information on upcoming events please contact Esperance Community Arts on 9072 1158, message us on Facebook, email us - admin@esperancecommunityarts.org.au or visit us at 67 Dempster street from 10am -2pm Tuesday - Friday. You can also visit our website (http://esperancecommunityarts.org.au/ ) and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.