USPS to release Protect Pollinators Forever stamps

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Updated Aug 4, 2017
Photo: Bonnie Sue RauchPhoto: Bonnie Sue Rauch

To help pay tribute to the importance and beauty of pollinators, the United States Postal Service will showcase stamps depicting the monarch butterfly and the western honeybee tomorrow. Each pollinator will be shown industriously pollinating a variety of plants native to North America.

Photo: Karen MayfordPhoto: Karen Mayford

The dedication for the Protect Pollinators Forever stamps will take place at noon on Thursday, Aug. 3 at the American Philatelic Society National Summer Convention StampShow in Richmond, Virginia.

“Bees, butterflies and other pollinators sustain our ecosystem and are a vital natural resource,” said Gary Shapiro, U.S. Postal Service judicial officer, who will dedicate the stamps. “They are being threatened and we must protect them.”

The USPS stresses the point that while people may see butterflies as beautiful creatures and bees as dangerous, both pollinators are vital to the ecological service of pollination; both are simply going about their business.

As they go about their daily routines of collecting nectar, they are not the only things rewarded for this task. As the pollinators travel from flower to flower, the plants are rewarded as well, and they are then able to produce the seeds that bring up the next generation.

Humans are also able to benefit from the work of the pollinators. About a third of the food we enjoy, particularly fruits and vegetables, are byproducts of pollinators.

The monarch butterfly and the western honeybee are two of the most iconic pollinators in North America, and both travel far and wide. The western honeybees are one of the most vital pollinators since they service peach, almond, apple and cherry tree blossoms, as well as blossoms of melons, berries, pumpkins, onions and cucumbers to name a few. And we can’t forget the honey they produce as well.

Photo: George LeppPhoto: George Lepp

“In this modern world, these pollinators need mindful human intervention in order to thrive,” USPS said in a press release. “The hives of western honeybees have lately been raided by parasitic mites and plagued by Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious condition which disorients bees and causes them to abandon their hives. While monarch butterflies, utterly dependent on milkweed plants throughout their range and specific mountain forests in Mexico, face collapsing populations as these habitats disappear to accommodate farming, urban development and illegal logging.”

The Protect Pollinators stamps will be issued as Forever stamps, which are equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce price.

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