Pollinator Week is both a celebration of role of pollinators in providing humans with food and sustaining life-giving plants ,and a warning about the dramatic (over 80%) decline of some pollinator populations.
Pollinators include bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats and numerous other species. The U.S. Senate estiblished the first National Pollinator Week in 2007 to address the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations.
After having unanimously approved S. Resolution 580 to "recognize the vital role of pollinators to ecosystem health and agriculture" the Senate sought to bring awareness and attention to the importance of efforts by businesses, governments, and individuals to protect pollinators, notably the efforts of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) .
Pollinator Week has evolved into an "international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles." as more organizations and government agencies join in the observance. National Pollinator Week 2014 will be recognized by the Secretary of the Department of Interior, Sally Jewell, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This year's Pollinator Week arrives amid reports that researchers at Harvard's Public Health Institute have recently replicated results proving the link between widely-used neonicotinoid pesiticdes and Colony Collapse DIsorder, thought to have destroyed between 30-90% of honeybee colonies since 2006. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) causes bees to abandon their hives over the winter and eventually die.
Meanwhile, the dramatic decline in monarch butterfly populations (which have declined by 82% since 1999) has recently been attributed to the loss of milkweeds in breeding areas due to abundant herbicide use, climate change, disappearing forests at overwintering sites, and occasional catastrophic weather events.
What You Can Do
- Find and participate in a Pollinator Week Event near you.
- Follow the lead of "Bee Friendly" localities like Eugene, OR and Takoma Park, MD, neither of which will be using neonicotinoid pesticides on their public spaces. Go here to find the Model Community Pollinator Resolution you can take to your local government.
- Check out the BEE Protective materials from the organization Beyond Pesticides and learn how you can help protect honeybees and other pollinators
- Here the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln discusses how to use conservation to aid pollinators while improving operations: