Intended Audience

The content of this course is tailored to the needs of NRCS conservation planners, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Cooperative Extension, state agencies, crop consultants,  farmers, land managers, and master gardeners.

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Ashley Minnerath
The Xerces Society
(855) 232 6639


Registration is free for the first 30 people, but there will be a $15 fee for lunch. Additional seats are available for $45 (includes lunch).

Hurry, registration closes at 100 people!

Canceled registrations can be refunded until June 7, 2011.


Tuesday June 21, 2011 from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM EDT

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USDA-NRCS Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center
BARC-East, Beaver Dam Road
Building 509
Beltsville, MD 20705

Directions to National Plant Materials Center:

From Baltimore Washington Parkway

  • Exit at Powder Mill Road
  • Head East on Powder Mill Road
  • South on Soil Conservation Road
  • West on Beaver Dam Rd
  • Arrive at Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center (BARC-East Beaver Dam Road, Building 509, Beltsville, MD 20705)

Using Google Maps:
Plug this address into Google Maps for directions. This address is nonexistent, but Google Maps is able to give accurate directions to the National PMC using this address.

8820 Beaver Dam Road
Beltsville, MD 20705


This Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course is made possible with the support of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NESARE) program, and  by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Additional support for this training is provided by the following: Aveda Earth Fund, CS Fund, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, Ernst Conservation Seed, Sarah K. de Coizart Article TENTH Perpetual Charitable Trust, Turner Foundation, and Xerces Society members.

Photo Credit

Long-horned bee (Melissodes) on sunflower, by Mace Vaughan, Xerces Society.



Maryland Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course

June 21, 2011

Pollinators are essential to our environment. The ecological service they provide is necessary for the reproduction of nearly 75 percent of the world’s flowering plants and is fundamental to agriculture and natural ecosystems. More than two-thirds of the world’s crop species are dependent on pollination, with an annual estimated value of $18 to $27 billion in the United States alone. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems, pollinating the seeds and fruits that feed everything from songbirds to black bears. Conservation of pollinating insects is critically important to preserving both wider biodiversity as well as agriculture. 

In many places, however, this essential service is at risk. In 2006, the National Academy of Sciences released the report Status of Pollinators in North America, which called attention to the decline of pollinators. The report urged agencies and organizations to increase awareness and protect pollinator habitat.

The Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course was developed to address this need. Introductory topics include the basic principles of pollinator biology, the economics of insect pollination, basic bee field identification, and evaluating pollinator habitat.

Advanced modules will cover land management practices for pollinator protection, pollinator habitat restoration, incorporating pollinator conservation into Federal conservation programs, selection of plants for pollinator enhancement sites, management of natural landscapes, and financial and technical resources to support these efforts.

Throughout the workshop these training modules are illustrated by real case studies of pollinator conservation efforts across the country. A field session includes a tour of pollinator habitat developed at the USDA NRCS National Plant Materials Center, and equipment used to create flower-rich habitat.

Registrants will receive the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Toolkit that includes Xerces’ latest book, Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies, as well as habitat management guidelines and relevant USDA-NRCS and Extension publications.

Thanks to support from the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, registration is free for the first 30 people, but there will be a $15 fee for lunch. Additional seats are $45 (includes lunch). Canceled registrations can be refunded until June 7, 2011.

4th Annual National Pollinator Week: This short course will take place during National Pollinator Week and will provide a unique opportunity to get up to speed on pollinator conservation.


  • Ability to identify ways of increasing and enhancing pollinator diversity on the land
  • Knowledge of the current best management practices that minimize land-use impacts on pollinators
  • Ability to identify bees and distinguish them from other insects
  • Knowledge of the economics of insect-pollinated crops, and the effects of pollinator decline      
  • Knowledge of the current Farm Bill pollinator conservation provisions and how to implement those provisions through USDA programs
  • Ability to assess pollinator habitat and to identify habitat deficiencies
  • Ability to make recommendations to farmers and land managers that conserve pollinators (including subjects such as roadside management, tillage, pesticide use, burning, grazing, and cover cropping)
  • Ability to design and implement habitat improvements, such as native plant restoration and nest site enhancements
  • Ability to incorporate pollinators into land-management or policy decisions


Module 1 (8:30 am – 9:15 am) Introduction

  • Pollination economics and the role of native bees in commercial crop production
  • Pollination biology
  • Colony Collapse Disorder and honey bee industry trends

 Module 2 (9:15 am – 10:00 am) Basic Bee Biology

  • Bee identification
  • Identifying pollinator nest sites

 Module 3 (10:00 am – 10:45 am) Bee-Friendly Farming

  • The value of natural habitat
  • Mitigating pesticide damage
  • Protecting nesting sites

 Break (10:45 am – 11:00 am)

 Module 4 (11:00 am – 12:30 pm) Habitat Restoration

  • Habitat design considerations
  • Plant selection and seed sources
  • Site preparation and planting techniques for native wildflowers
  • Long-term habitat management
  • Artificial nest sites

Lunch (12:30 pm  – 1:15 pm)

Module 5 (1:15 pm – 3:15 pm) Open Laboratory (Led by Xerces Society and PMC/PMP staff)

  • Native plant propagation and research at the National Plant Materials Center (by Jeremy West, Plant Materials Center Manager)
  • Field observation, native plant selection, and land-use discussion (outdoors)
  • Introduction to equipment used in habitat creation
  • Examination of pinned specimens, artificial nests, and display materials

Module 6 (3:15 pm – 3:45 pm) Current Farm Bill Provisions (Xerces and Steve Strano, MD NRCS State Biologist)

  • Using USDA programs and practices for pollinator conservation
  • Conservation case studies
  • Maryland NRCS technical notes and job sheets for pollinators

Module 7 (3:45 pm – 4:15 pm) Additional Resources

Module 8 (4:15 pm - 4:30 pm) Wrap Up

  • Questions
  • Evaluations
  • Raffle


Mace Vaughan is the Xerces Society's Pollinator Program Director and Joint Pollinator Conservation Specialist with the NRCS West National Technology Support Center. Mace provides technical support to the NRCS, conservation organizations, and landowners. He also supervises a national team of specialists who conduct outreach and research on habitat restoration for crop pollinating native bees, and collaborate extensively with scientists studying the role and habitat needs of these insects. He has written numerous articles on the conservation of bees, butterflies, aquatic invertebrates, and insects. He is co-author of the Pollinator Conservation Handbook, lead author of Farming for Bees: Guidelines for Providing Native Bee Habitat on Farms, and co-author of the newly released Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide to Conserving North American Bees and Butterflies and Their Habitat. Mace was a lecturer on honey bee biology and beekeeping at Cornell University, from which he holds Masters Degrees in Entomology and Teaching. He also has wrangled insects and rapped about honey bees for PBS Nature.

Eric Mader is the Xerces Society’s Assistant Pollinator Program Director.  Eric works to raise awareness of native pollinator conservation techniques among growers and government agencies. His previous work includes commercial beekeeping and crop consulting for the native seed industry where he provided weekly insect and disease scouting on hundreds of plant species grown for prairie restoration efforts. He is an Assistant Extension Professor at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Entomology, and has authored several books and government management plans for native pollinators. He most recently co-authored a new SARE Handbook Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers and Conservationists and Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide to Conserving North American Bees and Butterflies and Their Habitat.


The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international non-profit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Launched in 1996, the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Program works with leading native pollinator ecologists to translate the latest research findings into on-the-ground conservation. More information about the Xerces Society is available at