The bees and other pollinators that fuel Georgia agriculture are crucial to the state’s economy, but no one really knows how many there are.In honor of National Honey Day, August 18, UGA Cooperative Extension is announcing an ambitious plan to gauge the size and effect of the state’s pollinator population.In 2019, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension will undertake a first-of-its-kind statewide pollinator count — the Great Georgia Pollinator Census — to gauge the number of wild and domestic pollinators in the state, population distributions and health.The count will be held Aug. 23-24, 2019, in backyards, school gardens, city planters and forests across the state. After recruiting a team of volunteer citizen-scientists from across the state, UGA Extension will provide training on basic pollinator identification to prepare Georgians to count.”We are encouraging every Georgia citizen to get involved with this project. Counting criteria and training will be available through the website, and there will be events centered on the project across the state,” said Becky Griffin, UGA Extension school garden and pollinator census coordinator. “We are using this as an opportunity to educate Georgians about the importance of pollinators and pollinator habitats while generating useful data about the types of pollinators in our state.”Those interested in counting should visit GGaPC.org to sign up to participate and to find nearby events.“We will be one of the first states that counts all of its pollinators,” Griffin said. “This will be big.”Griffin modeled the program on the Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen-science program run by Cornell University that asks people to count the birds they see in their backyard on a given winter day.The Great Georgia Pollinator Census will work similarly, but citizens will count bumblebees, carpenter bees, small bees, flies, wasps, butterflies and other insects.For a 15-minute period of time over the Aug. 23-24 time period, census takers will focus their attention on a plant in their yard or garden that is known to attract pollinators. They’ll submit their findings using a simple online form.Researchers will then use the aggregated data to learn about pollinator populations across the state.Griffin currently runs a smaller-scale pollinator census project at 50 school and community gardens across the state. In its second year, the pilot scale study has already helped Griffin identify some important differences between pollinators in urban and rural landscapes.“We saw some statistically significant differences in the distributions of carpenter bees and honeybees,” Griffin said. “There were differences between rural and urban areas for them, but we didn’t see any difference in the distribution of smaller bees and butterflies.”The school garden pollinator census project will ramp up its second year of counting now.The success of this pilot census project gave Griffin confidence that she could teach people across the state how to identify pollinators and enlist them for the statewide census project.To register to be a census taker, visit GGaPC.org. The Great Georgia Pollinator Census will also serve as the hub for learning about events and pollinator identification workshops across the state. Lesson plans and ideas for educators will be included on the website.UGA Extension will work with Great Georgia Pollinator Census partners to host events statewide. To date, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, the Daughters of the American Revolution and Monarchs Across Georgia are excited to partner with UGA for this project. Other partners will schedule events that will be posted on the website.For more information about how to support Georgia pollinators, visit ugaurbanag.com/pollinators/.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Suffolk County police are looking for the gunman who fired at least one shot during a confrontation in East Islip on Saturday night, authorities said.Residents of a house on Woodland Drive noticed two men armed with handguns standing in their yard before the confrontation and one of the gunmen opened fire at 9:45 p.m., police said.There were no reported injuries. The suspects fled the scene on foot.Third Squad detectives are asking anyone with information to call them at 631-854-8352 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.
Six months after the rights issue, in October 2008, the bank – by then on the brink of collapse – was bailed out by the UK government, which still owns a majority share.The claimants asserted that the bankruptcy had been caused by the bank’s aggressive expansion into structured credit markets, an inability to manage its capital requirements, and its “reckless and highly damaging” acquisition of Dutch bank ABN AMRO the previous year.All this had made RBS exceptionally vulnerable to the liquidity crisis which by then was engulfing global financial markets.The claimants maintain that had the truth about RBS’s financial position, and about the insufficiency of its proposed capital raising, been disclosed in the prospectus, the rights issue would not have gone ahead, or at least, not on the terms it took place.As it was, by January 2009, the price of RBS shares sold via the rights issue had fallen to 11.6p each.Three of the five groups have now settled with RBS.The remaining two – led by Signature Litigation and the RBS Shareholder Action Group, and representing individual shareholders – are still pursuing legal action, with proceedings set to start in March 2017.Were these parties to settle as well, the £800m would be shared between all five groups. The overall claim for all groups is £4bn.Michael Vos, APG spokesman, told IPE: “APG decided to join the lawsuit because we were seeking redress regarding the 2008 rights issue. We are pleased that an agreement has now been reached.”The claim for the group that included APG and over 300 other institutions was brought by litigation-only law firm Stewarts Law.Clive Zietman, partner and head of commercial litigation, Stewarts Law, said: “Pension funds in the UK are understandably cautious and conservative when it comes to litigating. That said, they have a duty to act in the best interests of their policyholders and many consider that they have a duty to at least consider potential law suits, bearing in mind other factors such as costs and reputation.”He concluded: “I do expect to see more cases of this kind in the UK and Europe.”The Stewarts Law action was backed financially by US lawyers Grant & Eisenhofer and included after the event (ATE) insurance against adverse costs.Zietman said: “Funding and ATE insurance help create a risk-free litigation environment which institutions such as pension funds naturally find much more palatable than the alternative.” Dutch pension fund manager APG, Denmark’s Sampension KP Livsforsikring, and Sweden’s AP1 are among hundreds of institutions worldwide who have agreed a settlement potentially worth £800m (€939m) with The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), over losses incurred after they invested in a £12bn rights issue shortly before the bank went bust.The shareholders who have chosen to settle also include BP Pension Fund, Railpen, and the Transport for London (TfL) Pension Fund, plus UK local government pension funds for authorities such as Greater Manchester, Strathclyde, South Yorkshire, Kent and Lancashire.Retirement funds for teachers, fire service and local government employees across the USA are also among the claimants, while asset managers include BlackRock and State Street.Five separate shareholder groups had sued RBS in the Chancery Division of the UK’s High Court, claiming that shares sold for £2 each in the bank’s April 2008 rights issue were in fact either worthless, or worth at most a fraction of the price they had paid.