(URBurlington, Vermont — Zoe Hecht is no average 12-year-old schoolgirl. With an unmatched passion, and the diligence of people three times her age, she is helping to save Vermont’s declining bee populations by introducing legislation to ban neonicotinoids.

Though Hecht attends just the sixth grade in one of Vermont’s public schools, she didn’t let her age hold her back from making some serious strides to save bees suffering from pesticide exposure.

Neonicotinoid pesticide residues are found in pollen and nectar consumed by pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The residues can reach lethal concentration or contribute to bee disorientation when foraging. Neonics, as they’re commonly called, also make bees more susceptible to pathogens and parasites. Without our bees, hundreds of foods which are pollinated by them are also in danger.

In short, the risks of the continued use of this class of pesticides has been well documented, and Hecht decided that she wanted to do something about it.

Hecht researched neonics extensively, saying she was ‘obsessed’ and eventually came up with a plan to create a law which would ban the use of neonics. She presented this idea to Burlington, Vermont, Representative Chris Pearson.

With Zoe’s help, Pearson introduced House Bill 2-3-6, which could bring an end to neonicotinoids in Vermont.

Hecht says, “It would basically ban the pesticide. The application and use of the pesticide and sales of it in the state of Vermont.”

When asked about pitfalls that come with being just twelve, with the charm and gumption of someone much older and wiser, Hecht urges, “I would recommend keep working at whatever your cause is, and don’t give up.”

Vermont, Zoe Hecht’s home state, is the vary same national leader which upheld the right for residents to choose the mandatory labeling of genetically-modified foods. The law, which the Big Ag industry fought tooth and nail, goes into effect this July. With Hecht’s hopefully successful ban on neonics, Vermont is looking like the place to be.

You can help support the passage of HB 2-3-6 by contacting your local representatives:

Rep. Christopher Pearson, Rep. Linda J. Martin, Rep. James McCullough


This article (Meet the 12-Year-Old Girl Who Just Might Save Vermont’s Bees) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Christina Sarich and UndergroundReporter.org. If you spot a typo, please email the error and the name of the article to undergroundreporter2016@gmail.com. Image credit: Flickr/Orangeaurochs