Bee-friendly garden unveiled in Wollondilly

Bees welcome: The community gathered to celebrate the opening of a new bee-friendly garden, the brainchild of 15-year-old Monique McGuire. Picture: Chris Lane
Bees welcome: The community gathered to celebrate the opening of a new bee-friendly garden, the brainchild of 15-year-old Monique McGuire. Picture: Chris Lane

A buzzy new attraction has just been unveiled in the shire - and we've got a high school student to thank for it.

Wollondilly Council opened a new bee-friendly garden at Barrallier Park in The Oaks on Saturday.

The garden is the brainchild of Wollondilly Anglican College student Monique McGuire, who has taken a passionate interest in our local environment.

The 15-year-old was one of the participants in this year's Max Potential program (which pairs ambitious high school students from across Macarthur with business mentors to help them create a community service project) and wanted to design something that would address the dramatic decline in global bee populations.

"When I started Max Potential I had listened to a TED Talk on the decreased bee populations and I was shocked by what I heard," Monique said.

"I learned that bees pollinate one in every three bites of food we eat. So I decided to choose a project that would revolve around bees."

With help from her mentor and the council, Monique developed the bee-friendly garden. The garden features native Australian plants and flowers that have been specifically chosen because they attract bees.

These include native rosemary, native fuchsia, narrow-leaved paperbark and more. There are also two native bee homes.

"It is so amazing that this has actually come to fruition," the year 10 student said.

"I never could have expected that, at 15, I'd have the support of Max Potential and Wollondilly Council to create something like this. But it just goes to show if you work hard and put your mind to something you can do it."

Monique, of The Oaks, said her parents both expressed their pride and admiration at her work. She hopes the installation of the garden will help raise awareness of the importance of bees.

"I want to tell people about three simple things they can do to help our bees," Monique said. "They can plant bee-friendly plants and flowers, use non-toxic pesticides and support our rural honey makers - local honey tastes better too!"