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Meet Gavin Smith - Westfield Local Heroes 2021

Making a buzz about conservation

Urban Beekeepers of the Inner West
Tireless. Passionate. Dedicated

Gavin Smith is dedicating his retirement to saving the bees that are vital to food crops flourish.

The former teacher is a volunteer with Urban Beekeepers of the Inner West and works hard to restore populations of Australian native and European honeybees, which have been decimated by fires, droughts and loss of their natural habitats in urban areas.

Gavin has rescued hundreds of swarms and uses his teaching skills to educate the community that bees are not important only for honey; they are crucial for pollinating 70% of our food crops. He encourages people to plant urban gardens that support them.

Following the devastating 2019-20 bushfires, Gavin and Urban Beekeepers of the Inner West initiated Beemergency. They tirelessly raised money for materials to build new hives and worked at collecting bee swarms.

While the project stalled during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gavin is determined to get it on track to ensure bee colonies return to regions affected by the bushfires and, more recently, the floods.

One of Gavin’s best rewards is watching others catch his enthusiasm for beekeeping.

He is thrilled to be nominated as a Westfield Local Hero. “I hope this helps spread the word that the bush is under threat, and really simple community efforts can make a difference. Millions more bees are needed,” he says.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Urban Beekeepers Inner West will buy material for men’s sheds to build hives, run education programs in schools and fund community gardens.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here

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We acknowledge the Wangal people of the Eora Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land we gather on today and pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and their Elders past and present.

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