VANDALIA — The City of Vandalia has designated the week of June 26 as Pollinator Week to support the city’s efforts to encourage the planting of pollinator-friendly seeds. Vandalia is the first city in Ohio to be designated a Bee City USA.
“Pollinators, to include thousands of species of bees, are essential partners in producing much of our food supply,” said Mayor Arlene Setzer in a proclamation. “Pollinators provide significant environmental benefits necessary for maintaining healthy, biodiverse urban and suburban ecosystems.”
Al Tuttle, who is Vandalia’s Bee City USA Liaison, said providing habitat for bees and other pollinators is is important for the food chain.
“One out of every three bites of food is the result of insect pollination,” said Tuttle, who is a beekeeper. “With the declining bee population that puts some of our food in jeopardy. To increase the bee population we need to increase the habitats for them to thrive in.”
A 2015 United Nations Report found that bee populations are declining in 37% of bee species with up to 9% of butterfly and bee populations facing possible extinction. That report cited pesticide use and loss of habitat as the two main factors in the decline.
U.S. Congressman Mike Turner praised the city’s efforts to educate the public about the importance of bees and their habitat.
“Vandalia is certainly a leader in the region and they are doing this to educate the community as to how we can help,” said Turner. “This is not just about having a bee hive, it is about having a habitat in which bees can grow. The fact that Vandalia is the first Bee City USA in Ohio deserves recognition and I wanted to come out and find out what all the buzz was about.”
Turner received pollinator seed packets and honey to be presented to Second lady Karen Pence who recently had a beehive placed at the vice president’s residence.
“This is a very neat way for a connection between Vandalia and the Vice President who is, of course, a good Midwesterner from Indiana,” he said. “I look forward to presenting that on behalf of the City of Vandalia.”
Also on hand was Sandra Brasington who accepted pollinator packets on behalf of Governor John Kasich.
The presentations were made at the Historical Society of Vandalia-Butler. Tuttle said that the Society is selling pollinator seed packets at the Society’s open houses.
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.