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Happy National Pollinator Week!

June 17, 2015
While the biotech industry is up in Philadelphia at the BIO International Convention, people down here in D.C are celebrating birds, bats, bees, butterflies and many more pollinators because it is National Pollinator Week! The USDA is hosting the sixth annual Pollinator Festival outside of their headquarters on June 19th, so people can learn about their significance within the ecosystem. This festival is an enjoyable and great way to raise awareness of the declining populations.
They pollinate crops like apples, blueberries, strawberries, melon, peaches, potatoes, vanilla, almonds, coffee and chocolate. Without pollinators our diets would lack diversity, flavor and nutrition. An estimated $15 billion worth of crops, including more than 90 fruits and vegetables are pollinated by honey bees alone. –USDA

National Pollinator Week was created seven years ago when congress unanimously designated this week in June to address the urgent issue of the loss of pollinators, and has now grown to be an international celebration — and every year the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture signs this proclamation as a reminder to make progress.
Pollinating animals, including bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles and others, are vital to our delicate ecosystem, supporting terrestrial wildlife, providing healthy watershed, and more. Therefore, Pollinator Week is a week to get the importance of pollinators’ message out to as many people as possible. It's not too early to start thinking about an event at your school, garden, church, store, etc. Pollinators positively effect all our lives — let's SAVE them and CELEBRATE them! —Pollinator Partnership

A misconception that people often presume is that pesticides and genetically modified (GM) crops are to blame for the decline, but in my last post, Honeybees, Butterflies and Pesticides, I give you evidence to question the assumption that pesticides are responsible, and challenge readers to learn more about honeybee parasites and look deeper into how they measure the statistics. GMO Answers also does a spectacular job articulating scientific evidence to consider before jumping to conclusions which blame GM Crops for the decline of bee populations.

Regardless of your stance on this issue — a week dedicated to the education of science and environmental awareness is always beneficial, so I hope that this week is successful in achieving this goal to increase scientific literacy in an entertaining way.