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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!