In the mission to turn Auckland into the safest city in the world for bees and become an Organic City, For the Love of Bees has initiated a collaboration to transform Highwic into the very first Organic Park in the inner city. This is a transformation you can be a part of!
The full list of collaborators on this very special project are Highwic, Newmarket Primary School, Auckland Council, Enviroschools, Parnell Rotary Club, The Compost Collective, Tree Croppers Association, Beezthingz, Sustainable Schools, Wecompost, Hot Grass and Heritage New Zealand. Initial funding has been provided by the Waitemata Local Board and Parnell Rotary.
New infrastructures include teaching hives looked after by Walter Dendl and a community composting teaching hub, run by The Compost Collective.
The project focuses on two objectives that will help build robust and resilient biological systems:
- The development of a Biological Bee Sanctuary. This involves the elimination of synthetic herbicides and pesticides, and the development of billions of flowers to provide foraging habitat all year round for pollinators.
- The transformation of all passive green space into carbon sinks*. This involves the elimination of synthetic fertilisers and herbicides, an adjustment in lawn cutting practise, and the introduction of plants with deep living roots systems into all parts of the park that we can fit them.
*What's the relation between bees and carbon you might ask. Well, there is no creature that climate change does not touch. In the case of bees, excess carbon dioxide in the air alters the food sources of pollinators in a way that threatens their vitality and immunity. Studies have found that increased CO2 speeds up photosynthesis, enabling the plant’s starchier parts to grow faster and bigger. Plants consequently pack in more carbohydrates like glucose, at the expense of important nutrients and protein. This diminishing nutritional quality is happening to our food too!
This means it is crucial that we supply more food for pollinators in our parks to ensure they can consume adequate amounts of protein. It also serves as yet another another reason to pursue new carbon sequestration methods. You can read more here.
Highwic is the starting point within a wider For the Love of Bees project called ‘Organic Parks - Living Playgrounds.’ This project will enable a transformation of the bulk of our inner city green spaces into safe havens for bees.
As part of this project, Highwic is becoming a space to test various sustainable vegetation management strategies that put biology first. In doing so, it will refine a programme that For the Love of Bees have developed, which may be scaled up to more parks throughout the city.
Some of the methods in that programme include Weedtechnics and Hot Grass, which is the distributor for Australasia of the RootWave Pro electrothermal weeder - due for commercial release in 2018. This groundbreaking technology uses electricity to control weeds with power from a generator or mains that uses a fraction of the fuel required for other thermal weed control methods.
The prototype demonstration model of the RootWave Pro has been tested at Highwic already with excellent results, and was able to clear a large area of weeds in lawn completely without any chemical residues.