Flower power

The Wild Orchids stamps will celebrate the exotic beauty of the flowering plants and call attention to efforts to preserve them, Postal Service and horticultural community leaders said at the stamps’ dedication ceremony last week.

There are more than 30,000 species of wild orchids in the world. Many that are native to North America are endangered or threatened, making sightings in their natural environment increasingly rare.

“Orchids can be hard to find in a natural setting and today there is a conservation effort to preserve these beautiful flowers,” said Jacqueline Krage Strako, the Postal Service’s chief customer and marketing officer, who spoke at the ceremony. “Each of these stamps represents a masterpiece of nature that blossoms with color. They also continue the Postal Service tradition of showcasing the natural beauty of flowers on stamps.”

The Wild Orchids stamps, which feature images of several species, are available in booklets of 20 and coils of 3,000 and 10,000 at Post Offices and usps.com.

The dedication ceremony was held Feb. 21 at the American Orchid Society Library at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, FL.

Other speakers included Georgia Tasker, a horticulture writer and Pulitzer Prize finalist; Susan Wedegaertner, president of the American Orchid Society; James A. Fowler, the photographer whose images appear on the stamps; and Lawrence Zettler, director of the orchid recovery program at Illinois College.

The speakers discussed how orchids contribute to the ecosystem and why it’s vital for the unique plants to survive in an age of extinction.

Said Zettler: “I want every child here today — and those born tomorrow — to be able to see, to smell and appreciate the orchids that are part of our ecosystem and our nation.”

Staying vigilant

The Postal Service is continuing to share the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The virus, officially known as COVID-19, began late last year in Wuhan, China.

According to CDC, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus and to follow these recommendations to help prevent the spread of any respiratory viruses:

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Stay home when you’re sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if the hands are visibly dirty.

• Follow CDC’s recommendations for using face masks. CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and caregivers.

Additionally, CDC has reported there is very low risk that the coronavirus can be spread from products or packaging shipped from China, due to poor survivability of this type of virus on surfaces.

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets, CDC reports.

Also, according to CDC, there is no evidence to support transmission of the novel coronavirus associated with imported goods, and there have been no reported cases of the virus in the United States associated with imported goods.

The Postal Service is continuing to provide this information to employees through stand-up talks, employee news articles, messages on bulletin boards, and updates on Informed Facility and Postal Vision monitors inside USPS workplaces.

CDC’s website has additional information.

Feeling like a champ?

Smiling women hold seal

If you’re a Postal Service employee who is involved in your work, committed to your job and enthusiastic about the organization — and if you want to help your co-workers feel the same way about their role — then USPS wants to hear from you.

The organization is seeking employees to participate in the Engagement Champion Network, a new program that aims to foster positivity in postal workplaces.

Champions will work with their co-workers and local USPS leaders to promote the principles of engagement, which include making sure each employee knows what is expected of him or her and offering employees recognition and praise for good work.

Additionally, champions will help promote Next Level Connections, a program that encourages managers and supervisors to have one-on-one conversations with their employees to foster open communication, clear expectations and positive results.

Engaging, equipping and empowering employees is one of the Postal Service’s core strategies. Research shows that employees who feel engaged deliver better customer service, have better attendance rates and work safer.

For more information or to participate in the new program, send an email to Engagement@usps.gov and include “Engagement Champion” in the subject line.

Making news

The Postal Service wants managers, supervisors and others to tell craft employees about Link mobile, the Link site’s mobile-friendly version.

Link mobile offers the same content available on Link’s desktop version — including news reports, feature stories and informational videos — but in a format that’s easy to read on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

The site is helpful to employees who don’t have regular access to postal computers but want to stay in the know.

For example, Link mobile recently reported on the Postal Service’s response to the international coronavirus outbreak, Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett’s latest video update, and a Queens, NY, mail handler who helped win $1 million in new business for USPS.

Employees can access the site at www.usps.link, where they can also subscribe to weekly emails with the latest Link highlights.