Save the Bees and Butterflies

Taken from the Waterbury Republican-American on Tuesday January 26, 2016, By Susan Haigh Associated Press.

Lawmaker wants Connecticut to act on their behalf.

Connecticut could soon join the ranks of states seeking to boost the health of bees and butterflies.

The effort comes as federal officials work on a national strategy to restore honeybee colony health to sustainable levels by 2025, increase Eastern monarch butterfly populations by 2020 and eventually restore millions of acres of land for pollinators.

State Senator Ted Kennedy Jr., co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Environment Committee sees the issue as an economic one in Connecticut.

“There are so many different crops that we grow in Connecticut, including fruits and vegetables, which depend on bees. And so they’re really pivotal to maintaining our agricultural sector in our state.” said Kennedy, who may present legislation for the new session, which begins February 3.

At least 14 states have passed legislation to boost pollinator populations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Laws have focused on expanded research, beekeeper assistance, limitations on certain pesticides, protecting habitats and greater awareness.

John Campanelli, a graduate student at the University of Connecticut, is working such a concept.  Using funds from transportation departments in all six New England states, Campanelli is creating a manual to help the agencies grow native grasses and plants along highway medians, roadsides that don’t have to be mowed as often.

Kimberly Stoner, an associate Agricultural Experiment Station who researches bees, said there is interest in growing pollinator plantings on the old Hartford landfill.


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