Bumble bee on blackberry


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Intended Audience

The content of this course is tailored to the needs of NRCS, SWCD, Cooperative Extension, and state department of agriculture employees, as well as crop consultants, natural resource specialists, non-governmental conservation organization staff, and producers of bee-pollinated crops.

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Ashley Minnerath 
The Xerces Society 
(855) 232-6639 ext. 102


Thanks to support from Northeast SARE, we are able to offer 30 scholarships on a first-come first-served basis.

Registration $45 per person thereafter and discounted registration is available to NRCS personnel for $35 per person.

Lunch is not included. Please plan on bringing a sack lunch with you to the course.

Canceled registrations can be refunded until May 7, 2012.


Tuesday May 15, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM EDT

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Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Community Ground Education Center
294 Crosby Brook Road
Unity, ME 04988

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

Special thanks to Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association for generously hosting this course.

Photo Credit

Bumble bee foraging on blackberry. Photo by Eric Mader, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course

Unity, Maine
May 15, 2012
9:00 am - 4:00 pm EDT

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, since their activities are ultimately responsible for 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. The course will include both classroom and field training components.

Introductory topics include the 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 short course these training modules are illustrated by case studies of pollinator conservation efforts across the country.

Registrants will receive the Xerces Society's Pollinator Conservation Toolkit which 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.

The Xerces Society is offering similar Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Courses across the country. Visit our online events page to view up-to-date short course information. If you would like to receive announcements about upcoming short courses, please email shortcourses@xerces.org. Be sure to include the following information: name, affiliation, mailing address, phone number, and the state(s) for which you would like to receive announcements.


  • 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 such as WHIP, EQIP, CSP, and CRP
  • 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 (9:00 am - 10:00 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 (10:00 am - 10:45 am) Basic Bee and Butterfly Biology

  • Bee identification
  • Identifying pollinator nest sites

Break (10:45 am - 11:00 am)

Module 3 (11:00 am - 11:45 pm) Bee-Friendly Farming

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

Module 4 (11:45 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

Lunch (12:30 pm - 1:15 pm)

Module 5 (1:15 pm - 2:45 pm) Open Laboratory

  • Field observation, native plant selection, and land-use discussion (outdoors)
  • Examination of pinned specimens, artificial nests, and display materials

Module 6 (2:45 pm - 3:15 pm) Current Farm Bill Provisions

  • Using USDA programs and practices for pollinator conservation
  • Conservation Case Studies

Module 7 (3:15 pm - 3:30 pm) Additional Resources

Module 8 (3:30 pm - 4:00 pm) Wrap Up

  • Questions
  • Evaluations
  • Raffle


Eric Mader – 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 release Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers and Conservationists.


Dr. Frank Drummond, Professor of Insect Ecology and Insect Pest Management, School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine.


The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. The Society's Pollinator Conservation Program was launched in 1996, and 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 www.xerces.org.