“Pollinator Week” bill introduced

Staff Writer

A bill that would designate the last full week of June in Ohio as “Pollinator Week” has had its first committee hearing in the Ohio legislature.
The intent behind House Bill 649 is to bring attention to the issue of declining pollinator populations such as bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles, moths, and wasps.
The House Agriculture and Conservation Committee heard sponsor testimony earlier this month from Rep. Michael Skindell and Rep. Mary Lightbody on the bill.
Citing figures from the National Park Service, Rep. Skindell told the committee that pollinators are responsible for bringing humans one out of every three bites of food. Also, 75 percent of flowering plants on earth are pollinated by insects and animals, amounting to more than 1,200 food crops and 180,000 different varieties of plants.
“Our agriculture sector could be drastically at risk if we do not start taking the necessary measures now to protect our pollinators,” Skindell told the committee. “Without healthy pollinators, we risk damaging our environment and our ecosystem. Recognizing this important week brings us one step closer to protecting our pollinators by spreading awareness of their vital functions and duties.”
According to the U.S. Forest Service, more than 150 food crops in the country depend on pollinators, including almost all fruit and grain crops.
Rep. Lightbody cited research being done by The Ohio State University that follows factors influencing the populations of several pollinator species, including mine reclamation, crop management practices, and invasive species. Researchers are also mapping the distribution and habitats of the bumble bee.
The next National Pollinator Week is scheduled for June 19-25, 2023.


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