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Pollinator Paradise Plate Gets Drivers Buzzing

CORVALLIS, OR -- A proposed “Pollinator Paradise” license plate appears well on its way to becoming reality, thanks to the efforts of Oregon State University.

Like all good ideas, the plate started on social media. OSU Assoc. Prof. of Horticulture Andony Melathopoulos says, "I think it was a person down in Talent, Oregon put on Facebook, ‘There’s a whale plate. Why don’t we have a bee plate?’ And that got us started." Melathopoulos is Oregon’s Pollinator Health Extension Specialist. He says sales of the plate benefit ongoing research, "Our department has two really large programs: The Pollinator Health Program and the Apiculture Program. We have a key position that makes the Oregon Bee Atlas run. We’ve got a specialist who goes through hundreds of thousands of wild bees that volunteers have collected from hither and tither. That program will be made sustainable through this plate." 

The design features two of Oregon’s most iconic bees: the managed honey bee and the wild yellow-faced bumble bee. They're positioned on either side of a field of red clover, which Melathopoulos says is quite intentional, "Not only is Oregon a leader in it, it’s bee pollinated, and it’s one of the few crops in the United States - I’d say the only one - where you’ll find such a diversity of bumblebees on the crop." He adds, "I’ve also been really excited by the reception of the artist. This is an Oregonian, 16-year-old, the biggest bee nerd in the state. Everybody loves that. And I think Marek Stanton is a remarkable individual." Stanton [pictured] is a high school student in Estacada. 

The DMV won’t offer the plate unless OSU sells 3,000 pre-order vouchers. In the first five days of the campaign, the school sold nearly 2,600. Melathopoulos tells KBND News he heard from the DMV that it may be the fastest pre-sale ever. Oregon DMV officials were unable to confirm that, but said it usually takes six months for the plates to be available, after the initial 3,000 vouchers are sold. 

 

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