Federal agencies mark National Pollinator Week

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a proclamation designating the week of June 22 as National Pollinator Week. Administrator Wheeler is the first EPA administrator to sign such a proclamation – joining leadership from the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), the USDA, all 50 governors and hundreds of governments and organizations around the world.

“Pollinators like bees and hummingbirds sustain nearly 80 percent of the food in our diets,” Administrator Wheeler said. “I am proud to join Secretary Perdue, Secretary Bernhardt and our state and local partners in reaffirming our commitment to promoting pollinator health. By doing so, we are protecting human health, the environment and our nation’s food supply.”

Three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. Yet, pollinator populations are on the decline due to many stressors, including pests, poor nutrition due to loss of habitat, unnecessary pesticide exposure, pathogens and viruses.

EPA is leading several efforts to protect bees and other pollinators from pesticide exposure to ensure they can thrive in their habitats. In 2019, the agency updated its bee mortality data table to help farmers and beekeepers estimate how long a specific pesticide may remain toxic to bees and other insect pollinators following application to crops.

EPA is also focused on advancing public awareness of the importance of protecting pollinators. In March 2020, EPA launched a free webinar series highlighting ongoing work to promote pollinator health and habitat, which will continue through September 2020. This week the agency also renewed its memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit organization that facilitates actions that benefit pollinator habitats.

“The value of protecting our pollinators, including bees and butterflies, cannot be overstated, and the American Soybean Association and soy industry are devoted to this important mission during National Pollinator Week and year-round,” says American Soybean Association (ASA) Director Wayne Fredericks, who serves on ASA Conservation Committee. “We appreciate being able to work with EPA, our industry partners, and as an organization on measures to protect pollinators and promote how managing habitat and other conservation efforts matter.”

To learn more about what EPA is doing to protect pollinators and what you can do help protect them, visit www.epa.gov/pollinator-protection. More information is also available about how DOI and USDA are celebrating the week.

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