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WHEREAS, bats provide important ecological services that contribute substantially to the economy of the Commonwealth and the United States by protecting American forests and agriculture from crop-damaging insect pests and by providing the fundamental benefit of pollination; and
WHEREAS, sixteen of the forty-five species of bats found in the United States are found in the state of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, recent bat population decreases due to White-nose Syndrome and other factors require attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect environmental health; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is providing a statewide response to the spread of white-nose syndrome by focusing on bat conservation and monitoring as part of a science-based strategy to reduce the disease’s impact on bat populations; and
WHEREAS, it is critically important to continue state-wide efforts to promote the health of bat populations; increase the quality and quantity of bat roosting and foraging habitat; and help restore bat populations to healthy levels; and
WHEREAS, every citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia can play a role in recognizing the positive benefits of bats to a healthy planet;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 24-31, 2019, as VIRGINIA BAT WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.