Sam Mac Cuig, a Venturer Scout Leader from Victoria and avid bee keeper, is helping to save bees from extinction, and has been recognised by Landcare Australia for her efforts!
Sam Mac Cuig (Venturer Leader at 1st Berwick Venturer Unit) is now one of Victoria’s Landcare Award Winners for 2019.
Sams’ award was presented at Victoria’s Government House on 30 August. The award is in recognition for her dedication and commitment to help the survival of bees, as well as the contribution she has made to educating Scouts, schools and community groups about environmental issues (with particular emphasis on the plight of bees and their importance to the sustainability of our food chain).
The Bee Experience program that Sam initiated through Scouting at GWS Anderson Scout Park (at Officer in Victoria) is now well established. There are now other youth groups and schools who are requesting the opportunity to take part in the Bee Experience.
There are currently eight hives at GWS Anderson Scout Park. With the assistance of the committee and a Pick My Project Grant from the Victorian Government, the establishment of a new apiary and improved educational facilities at the Scout Park is well underway. It is anticipated that an additional six – eight hives can be established at the Scout Park this year. This will allow an increase in the ability for Bee Experience participants to enjoy an ‘open hive inspection’ of a working bee colony of approximately 60 000 bees. Sam has worked tirelessly to establish the Scout Park as a major activity centre.
Sam recently travelled to Renmark in South Australia for a seminar and field day to learn about the pollination of almonds. Almonds are 100% reliant on honeybees for pollination – without bees there would be no almonds. There are approximately 200 000 hives transported from all over Australia to pollinate almonds in South Australia. Within the next couple of years, there will not be enough bees to carry out this vital pollination process. Her interaction with commercial beekeepers was invaluable in increasing her knowledge about bees and their contribution to the environment and humanity.
The excessive use of pesticides (both domestic and commercial), broadacre farming, climate change (causing a reduction in foraging plants), urban sprawl, and diseases are all aspects of modern life that are having a significant and irreversible impact on the life cycle of bees. Bees are in significant decline worldwide, with a loss of approximately 40% of all colonies in the USA per year alone. Last year thousands of colonies perished throughout Australia due to pesticide poisoning and starvation.
Sam has established herself as a serious hobby beekeeper and intends to continue to develop the Bee Experience for all sections of Scouting. The Bee Experience for Joey Scouts and Cub Scouts is a one-hour information session. Scouts, Venturer Scouts and Rover Scouts can enjoy the Bee Experience Badge work sessions over a weekend of instruction and hands on learning about bees and beehive management.
Her messages to everyone in Scouting is “Help Save the Bees.” Learn what you can and become proactive in helping improve the environment and saving the bees from their current plight. All scouting members are welcome to join the Bee Experience at GWS Anderson Scout Park.
This project is an example of Scouting working towards the Sustainable Development Goal #15 – Life on Land. We encourage all Scouts to do their bit as part of #Scouts4SDGs.