(Kenmore, N.Y.) — The Kenmore Village Improvement Society (KVIS) has launched a program to “save the bees,” which is intended to provide residents with seeds to plant “bee-friendly” flowers.
Bees are an important part of the Earth’s ecosystem, as most plants rely on bees and other pollinators to reproduce and grow.
Over the last decade, scientists have observed that bees have been disappearing and dying at an alarming rate, which could have dramatic effects on the world’s food supply.
For example, an annual survey of U.S. beekeepers found they lost 42 percent of their colonies from April 2014 to April 2015, 44 percent from 2015 to 2016 and 33 percent from 2016 to 2017.
In the United Kingdom, according to the British Beekeepers Association, beekeepers reported they lost nearly 17 percent of their colonies between 2015 and 2016.
Last month, the European Union announced it will permanently ban nearly all pesticides that are harmful to bees.
Melissa Foster, president of the KVIS, appeared on the Buffalo Review May 11 to discuss the group’s save the bees initiative.
She said the program came about after noticing the plight of bees in the gardens the group maintains.
“At our committee meetings we talk about these things and one of the things that has come up over and over again is the plight of bees,” said Foster.
The goal of the program, Foster said, is to raise awareness and knowledge about the issue.
“We hypothesize that there’s a lot of people that just didn’t understand or have good knowledge about the connection between the decline of bees and other pollinators and nasty things that we might even have in our homes like pesticides,” Foster said.
“We’re staying up late every night packing these seed packets and mailing them out to people all across western New York,” she said. “We’re so surprised at the response, hundreds and hundreds of people want these seeds.”
Foster said the KVIS gives out the seeds for free to anyone who intends to plant them.
“They don’t have to do anything special, they can find a good plot of Earth that they have that gets sun and that isn’t too wet and they can just sprinkle them on and cover them with a little bit of soil,” said Foster.
“My understanding is that this plant (that comes from the seeds) is kind of like a mixture of candy and crack to the bees and other pollinators,” she said, with a laugh.
Currently, the program is mostly focused on Kenmore, but Foster acknowledged “we don’t live in a bubble,” referring to the village.
“We know that we’re surrounded by the whole of western New York and what a wonderful place it is.”