Allentown officials make commitment to protect pollinators

ALLENTOWN – Borough officials have passed a resolution designating the borough as a Bee City USA affiliate and making the protection of pollinators a priority in Allentown.

Council members took the action during a meeting on May 14.

The mission of the Bee City USA program “is to galvanize communities to sustain pollinators, responsible for the reproduction of almost 90% of the world’s flowering plant species, by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free to nearly free of pesticides,” according to the resolution.

Because of more than 3,600 species of native bees in the United States, along with introduced honey bees, “we have very diverse dietary choices rich in fruits, nuts and

vegetables,” however, “bees and other pollinators have experienced population declines due to a combination of habitat loss, poor nutrition, pesticides, parasites, diseases, and climate change.”

According to the resolution, an ideal pollinator-friendly habitat:

• Provides diverse and abundant nectar and pollen from plants blooming in succession

throughout the growing season;

• Provides undisturbed spaces (leaf and brush piles, unmown fields or field margins, fallen

trees and other dead wood) for nesting and overwintering for wild pollinators;

• Provides water for drinking, nest-building, and butterfly puddling;

• Is free to nearly free of pesticides, as many pesticides can harm pollinators and/or their

habitat;

• Is comprised of mostly native wildflowers, grasses, vines, shrubs and trees, since many

wild pollinators prefer or depend on the native plants with which they co-adapted;

• Provides connectivity between habitat areas to support pollinator movement and

resilience.

Borough officials said supporting pollinators “fosters broad-based community engagement in environmental awareness and sustainability” and that Allentown should be certified as a  Bee City USA community because it values its agrarian heritage and is committed to the preservation of its natural state; it understands the importance of the role bees play in sustaining an agricultural environment and in the health of a community’s natural resources; and it recognizes that bees are important contributors to the beauty of the community.

Public Works Superintendent Nicholas Pellichero has been designated as the borough’s Bee City USA liaison and facilitation of the Bee City USA program has been assigned to the

Environmental Commission.

Among other tasks to be performed, the Environmental Commission will host at least one educational event or pollinator habitat planting or restoration each year to showcase Allentown’s commitment to raising awareness of pollinator conservation and expanding pollinator health and habitat, and the commission will develop and implement a program to create or expand pollinator-friendly habitat on public and private land, according to the resolution.

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