Oregon Governor Proclaims August 15th Oregon Native Bee Conservation Awareness Day

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Lisa Arkin, Executive Director
Beyond Toxics
Phone: 541-465-8860
press@beyondtoxics.org | www.BeyondToxics.org

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For Interview: Lisa Arkin, Executive Director or John Jordan-Cascade, Communications Manager  (Beyond Toxics)

Oregon Native Bees Conservation Awareness Day proclaimed by Governor Brown
Governor responds to environmental concerns to protect native bees

[Eugene, OR ] – Oregon Governor Kate Brown has proclaimed August 15th, 2015 to be Oregon Native Bees Conservation Awareness Day. The Governor took action in response to a request by Beyond Toxics, an Oregon-based environmental health organization. Native species of bees are in jeopardy from environmental stresses including habitat loss, disease and pesticides.

According to the proclamation signed by Governor Brown, “Oregon’s native bees are essential pollinators in ecosystems that support the reproduction of flowering trees and plants, including the fruits and seeds that are a major part of the diet of approximately 25% of all birds and mammals.”

“Oregon has played a leading role in protecting bees,” stated Lisa Arkin, executive director of the Oregon environmental health non-profit. “I’m pleased that Oregon is the first state to formally acknowledge the importance of protecting wild and native bees.”

Beyond Toxics lauds the Governor for her proactive stance to encourage awareness and individual action to reverse the decline of native bee populations. Five North American species of wild bees are suffering severe population losses and two are on the brink of extinction. According to researchers at Oregon State University, the recent losses of European honeybees has focused attention on the role of native and wild bees as increasingly important agricultural pollinators.

More than 70% of America’s food sources depend on bees. A study published in the April 2006 issue of Bioscience reported that native insects pollinate $3 billion per year in crops in the United States. In Oregon alone, both native and honey bees provide pollination for over $600 million in crops grown by Oregon farmers each year. Native bumble bees are some of our most efficient pollinators and are particularly important to the production of Oregon premier crops such as cranberries, blueberries, marionberries, apples and cherries.

Mass bee kills recently seen in Oregon have dire consequences for native bee populations. Whereas honey bees live cooperatively in hives with many worker bees supporting a queen, most native bees are solitary mothers.

If the mother native bee does not return to her nest, all her offspring and future generations perish. This means that the survival of each native bee is essential to ecosystem biodiversity. In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, there are at least nineteen different species of native bees.

After as many as 100,000 bees dropped dead in poisoning incidents during 2013 and 2014 Beyond Toxics called upon the Oregon Department of Agriculture to ban neonicotinoids. In 2015, the agency made it illegal to use pesticide products containing four neonicotinoids on linden, basswood or other Tilia species trees.

“Conserving native bees through natural habitat preservation, enhancing pollinator gardens and reducing pesticides is something every Oregonian can do,” Arkin observed. “The future of food and ecosystem diversity depends on it.”

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This press release is being co-released by Beyond Toxics, Friends of The Earth and Participant Media.

NEWS stories

Governor proclaims Oregon bee day
by Steve Law, Portland Tribune/Sustainable Life

 

RESOURCES

  • Read the official proclamation document from the Governor’s office
  • The Humble Bumble Gets Its Own Day of Gratitude” a blog by Lisa Arkin, Beyond Toxics Exec. Director (Aug. 5, 2015)
  • TakePart Pledge Action Campaign: ask your state’s governor to declare Aug. 15th as Native Bees Conservation Awareness Day!

    Oregon has taken notice of the importance of native and wild bees. Governor Kate Brown has just signed the proclamation we requested of her. Now is the time to get other states to do the same: ask your governor to declare Aug. 15th as Native Bees Conservation Awareness Day!

B-roll VIDEO
“Bumblebees and other native bees” provided by Beyond Toxics member, Pat Reed:

PHOTO GALLERY

 

Beyond Toxics’ Mission
Beyond Toxics works to guarantee environmental protections and health for all communities and residents, regardless of their background, income or where their home is located. We expose root causes of toxic pollution and help communities find solutions that are appropriate to their needs.

For additional press materials, check out BeyondToxics.org.

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Lisa Arkin, Executive Director (photos)

 


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Get involved today to help save the honey bee from dangerous pesticides! (Photo by Roka Walsh)

Get involved today to help save Oregon’s bees from dangerous pesticides! (Photo by Roka Walsh)

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 Beyond Toxics is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all contributions are fully tax-deductible. Please consider giving a gift of a Beyond Toxics membership to a friend or family member!