Here’s the World Bee Day Buzz at Stony Point Elementary School: Save the Bees!
Dozens of delighted Stony Point Elementary School first graders swarmed to greet a visiting new environmental superhero Wednesday.
The superhero, “Mr. Bee”, clad in a bee-utiful yellow and black bumble-bee costume complete with antenna and silvery goggles, was O&R Senior Ecologist Casey Tompkins.
He greeted the students by buzzing around school as the students got off the morning bus.
Tompkins joined the students to mark “World Bee Day,” which is celebrated on May 20. As part of Tompkins’ O&R work, he develops, builds and supports biodiversity projects that strengthen O&R’s properties’ positive contributions to the local environment. So, knowing a lot about flora, fauna and bees is part of his job
“Who likes chocolate? “Mr. Bee” called out to the students after they settled in the school auditorium.
Dozens of hands shot up. “Well, without bees pollinating the cocoa plants,” he said, “There’s no chocolate.”
That got everyone’s attention.
“Mr. Bee” said that about 90% of native plants and 75% of leading global crops depend on animal pollination. That means one out of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on a pollinator, such as bees. And, he added, bees and other insects are a critical part of the food web that supports birds, small mammals, and more.
But, he said, the wild bee population is in decline. The decline is due to habitat degradation, stress from parasites and disease, the use of pesticides and a general decrease in the number of suitable native wildflowers. And, he added, when people do not appreciate and understand how important animals like bees are, society won’t be able to make the changes it needs to make to turn things around.
“Mr. Bee” urged the students to recognize, support and appreciate the busy bees’ work. He distributed a native flowering shrub stem to each student so they could play an active role in planting vegetation that provides a nectar and pollen source for native bees.
About Orange & Rockland
Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies. O&R is a regulated utility that provides electric service to approximately 300,000 customers in southeastern New York State (where its franchise name is Orange & Rockland) and northern New Jersey (where it’s Rockland Electric Company), and natural gas service to approximately 130,000 customers in New York.