Target: Jason Weller, Chief of the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service
Goal: Applaud this new program working to boost dwindling populations of honeybees
Commercial beekeepers report losing a third of their colonies a year on average since 2006. Transported across the country to pollinate crops, the bees suffer from colony collapse disorder, the details of which are still being studied. Bees face the added threats of insecticides, parasites, infection, and most importantly, dwindling areas of the uncultivated field they need to carry out pollination. Honeybees across the U.S. are losing their habitat due to development of land for commercial purposes or for cultivation of single crops such as soybean or corn.
This dire situation, once bordering on an ecological and economic crisis, is seeing new hope in a recent federal government program. Putting $3 million into supporting bee communities, the program targets the five Midwestern states, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota that area home to up to fifty-six percent of the nation’s bee population. By encouraging practices like planting of cover crops like alfalfa, the program seeks to boost bees’ nutrition, helping them thrive in the face of changing climate and other threats to their survival. Fencing off grazed pastures, another recommended practice, aims to let the land replenish itself, giving bees more of the live plants they need to carry out pollination.
Even California viticulturists, whose grapes do not require pollination from bees, are doing their part to include drought-resistant, bee-friendly plants among vineyard rows to help reduce pesticide use and expand habitat for pollinators.
By signing the petition below, you can applaud this collaborative effort to save these crucial pollinators and support healthier ecosystems across the globe.
Dear Chief Weller,
I am writing to thank you for your efforts to revitalize honeybee communities in the U.S. By encouraging farmers to replenish unused land with bee-friendly crops, you are helping alleviate a serious economic and ecological crisis. Your program comes at a crucial time when prices for corn are on the decline, and farmers have greater incentive to take part in the revival of honeybee communities.
Furthermore, your leadership is already inspiring expanded efforts to protect these vulnerable pollinators. Incorporating drought-resistant bee-friendly plants in their vineyards to help reduce pesticide use, California viticulturists are also answering the call to conservation. I hope your efforts may serve as a model for more conservation efforts to come, and I wish you the best of luck moving forward with these initiatives.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: John Severs via Wikimedia Commons