Category Archives: Pollinators

Pollinator Proclamation comments to county board of supervisors

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Thank you, Chairman Byrd, for being attentive to this proposed Pollinator Proclamation.  (Addressing the board) I emailed him my letter concerning the opportunity on May 22, 2:36 pm. He responded at 4:42 pm that the Proclamation would be taken up at tonight’s meeting. And he responded on an iPad, no less. I’m grateful for the quick acknowledgement and swift action. Yet another reason I love living in Bath County. 

I’m speaking this evening for the pollinators. Although they live in your districts, they don’t vote… I confirmed that by checking with the county’s voter registrar Charles Garratt (who happened to be in attendance!). And although they contribute mightily to the economic viability of our county, they don’t pay taxes. So it’s difficult for the pollinators to access public government to have their concerns heard. 

They largely go unnoticed. Why? Because their numbers are declining. Need evidence? Take your vehicle’s windshield for example. Do you recall what your windshield looked like 20 years ago? 40 years ago? True, it’s not fun cleaning dead insects from your windshield, but the absence of insects on your windshield should concern you. With each trip in your vehicle you’re performing a simple qualitative survey and the results are not good. Your insect-free windshield illustrates an important point, insect populations are declining. 

And this includes insects that support pollination. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of pollinators to ensuring genetic diversity for world food production. Their loss would be an ecological Armageddon. 

Adopting a Pollinator Proclamation will, in my opinion, be the first step. Such a proclamation will increase awareness and provide momentum in our community. I think we can count on our garden clubs (our county being fortunate to have two garden clubs), birding groups, area master gardeners and master naturalists to step-up and continue to increase awareness with articles in the newspaper and public talks at the library. We can also seek advice from experts in the area, starting with the US Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Natural Heritage Program to name a few. 

Locally, we can do things to promote habitat for pollinators like mow less and decrease use of pesticides. 

As I said earlier, the pollinators don’t have a way to access county government, nor to write articles and give presentations. That duty falls to us. And it’s a duty we owe to future generations. 

All I am saying is ‘give bees a chance.’  

Good news! The proclamation was the first item on the agenda and it passed!

A plea for a pollinator proclamation

Joe Murray

Note: The following is a letter submitted to the Chairperson of the Bath County Board of Supervisors and our local newspaper, The Recorder.

May 22, 2019

Richard B. Byrd, Chair
Bath County Board of Supervisors
P.O. Box 381, 
Hot Springs, VA 24445 

An open letter to the Board of Supervisors and citizens of Bath County

Is it possible to find common ground on economic and environmental issues during these politically polarizing times? The answer is, “Yes!” Even those people firmly entrenched in their political party’s ideology recognize the importance of pollinators to their community’s (and the nation’s) economic and environmental well-being. 

Sadly, the pollinators are in trouble and in need of recognition and support. In addition to the often recognized bumble bee, the diverse cadre of animals performing pollination include birds, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles, and other insects. Homeowners may help pollinators by leaving a little “wildness” in their landscapes as habitat for not only pollinators but for other beneficial organisms, including predators to help control pests. Want more information to help pollinators? Visit www.pollinator.org/pollinator-week

Pollinators play an important role in agriculture (Virginia’s largest private industry) with an economic impact of $70 billion. One out of every three bites of food you eat results from pollinators. 

The beautiful vegetation of Bath County owes much to the work of pollinators. The role pollinators perform in agriculture, gardens and residential landscapes may be observed and understood with a modicum of effort. Pollinators also play critical roles in supporting forests, meadows, and wetlands. In short, the influence of pollinators reaches into all corners of our county and impacts hunting, fishing, and tourism.  

Politically, the adoption of a pollinator proclamation presents a win-win situation. Many other states and federal agencies have made pollinator proclamations an annual event to increase the public’s awareness of this important issue. I encourage the Board of Supervisors to seize this initiative and to formally recognize the contribution of pollinators with a Proclamation that June 17-23 (2019) be recognized as Bath County Pollinator Week. Enclosed you’ll find a copy of Virginia’s proclamation. 

Respectfully, 

Joseph Murray,
7 Acre Wood Farm
Burnsville, VA