The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will host the 6th Annual Pollinator Festival which will be held outdoors next to the agency's Jamie L. Whitten Building in Washington, D.C. on June 19 in celebration of the National Pollinator Week from June 15 to 21.

Visitors to the festival may discuss with pollinator experts, learn what they can do in their backyard to help pollinators such as bees, birds and other insects, as well as watch live bees and bats.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack pointed out the importance of pollinators saying that these cretures are crucial in the production of food. They are also important partners of farmers and ranchers.

Vilsack cited that over three-fourths of the flowering plants worldwide depend on pollinators to reproduce, which means that one in every three bites of food eaten in the U.S. are produced with the help of pollinators.

Findings of a new study that looked at the economic impact of bees, one of the key pollinators, show just how important it is do something about the declining population of these creatures. The small creatures may be more known to help in the pollination of plants and in the production of honey but they appear to have significant role on the economy of nations as well.

In the study conducted by researchers from the University of Reading, which was published in the journal Nature Communications on June 16, the researchers have found that 45 percent of strawberry crops and 85 percent of the apple crops in the U.K rely on bees to grow. These two crops alone have brought £200 million to Britain in 2012.

Vilsack said that the pollinator festival provides the public with the chance to interact with experts to learn more about the importance of pollinators and ways that could help support these creatures' declining population.

With many pollinators in a decline, there are simple things that can help encourage their diversity and boost their population and this include planting a pollinator garden, providing these creatures with nesting habitat and limiting the use of pesticides.

"It's so easy to help pollinators, and we need to act now," said Anne Alonzo, administrator of USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). "Even a small garden, like a window box filled with native plants that bloom during the spring, summer, and fall, will make a difference for bees and other pollinators."

Photo: Bob Peterson | Flickr 

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