This week is Pollinator Awareness Week (June 15-21) which means the public is asked to be aware and thankful to bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and bats for doing their job pollinating plants.
For those unaware of what these animals do, they are like tiny Cupids participating in the sexual reproduction of plants.
By ensuring cross-pollination, their work, carrying the male sex cells in plants (called pollen grains) to the female sex cells for fertilization, is essential for reproduction of some plant species, and is a major factor in ensuring genetic diversity for others.
Reportedly 60 to 80% of the world's flowering plant species are animal pollinated and 35% of crop production depend on animal pollinators.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a proclamation commemorating Pollinator Awareness Week and affirming that New York State is committed to the promotion of the health and recovery of the pollinator population which is in decline.
Last April, Cuomo announced the formation of a Pollinator Protection Taskforce to attempt to address the fact that animal pollinators population have dropped significantly over the past 50 years.
Losses are widely believed to be caused by a combination of factors such as poor nutrition, loss of foraging habitat, parasites, pesticides, pathogens, lack of genetic diversity and poor land management practices.
The NYS DEC and the Dept. of Agriculture and Markets, co-chaired by respective commissioners Joe Martens and Richard Ball, are leading the Pollinator Protection Taskforce to examine and develop short and long-term solutions to address pollinator losses in the state and develop a statewide Pollinator Action Plan.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pollinators provide $500 million worth of pollination services to New York and add $15 billion in value to crop production nationally each year. New York's ability to produce crops such as apples, grapes, cherries, onions, pumpkins and cauliflower relies heavily on the presence of pollinators.
And they don't charge the taxpayers a dime.