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Bee health a focus of Pollinator Week

Farmers and other landowners can make a big contribution in solving a major crisis in agriculture by participating in Pollinator Week, June 17-23, 2013. 

The global event was established in 2007, and has drawn support from governors, mayors, and other leaders across the U.S. This year's Pollinator Week proclamation was signed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell.

Pollinators, which include not only bees but also birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, and small mammals, are responsible for pollinating nearly one-third of every bite of food we eat, according to a media statement from the Pollinator Partnership. The global value of crops pollinated by bees is estimated to be nearly $217 billion, the group says.

"These invaluable creatures are facing troubling declines in the U.S. Some species have seen a 90% decline in their populations over the last decade," according to the organization.  "Pollinator Week efforts are working to reverse and prevent declines."  

Laurie Davies Adams, executive director of the Pollinator Partnership, said, “We applaud and support everyone participating in Pollinator Week 2013.  Their efforts, big and small, make positive changes happen for pollinators, the environment, our food supply, and our ecosystems.” 

“National Pollinator Week is a time to raise awareness about the importance of bees, birds, and other pollinator species to agriculture, forest and grassland environments, and other ecosystems,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I encourage all Americans to learn about the important work that is being done to conserve, protect, and restore their habitats, and more importantly, to join in and help take steps to support healthy pollinator populations – many that can be done in your own backyard.”  

Various groups will be participating in a pollinator festival on Friday, June 21, in conjunction with the USDA Farmer’s Market outside USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

"Pollinators on our nation's public and private lands play a key role in keeping our ecosystems diverse, which in turn provides for healthy habitats and economies," said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. "We appreciate the important public-private partnerships that are working together to encourage the long-term health of pollinating creatures."

Pollinator Week includes activities for farmers, landowners, businesses, schools, churches, community groups, and others.

More on the pollinator crisis in agriculture

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