Short Course Partner

Intended Audience

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


Registration is free, but space is limited.

Participants have the option of purchasing Attracting Native Pollinators as a textbook for the course during registration.

Note: participants can purchase a catered lunch on-site for $12.00.


Thursday August 27, 2015 from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM EDT
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Big Flats Plant Materials Center
3266A State Route 352
Corning, NY 14830-0360

Driving Directions


Jillian Vento
The Xerces Society 

Reasonable Accomodations

The Xerces Society provides reasonable accommodations for special events with adequate notice.  To request accommodation for events, please contact by Thursday, August 13th, 2015. 

The USDA and the Xerces Society are equal-opportunity providers and employers.


This Pollinator Conservation 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: The Ceres Trust, CS Fund, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, Endangered Species Chocolate, Sarah K. de Coizart Article TENTH Perpetual Charitable Trust, Turner Foundation, Inc., Whole Foods Market and its vendors, and Xerces Society members.

Special thanks to the Big Flats Plant Materials Center and staff for their support of this course.

Photo credits

Header: common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) visiting apple blossom, photograph by Nancy Lee Adamson, The Xerces Society. Sidebar: pollinator habitat adjacent to an apple orchard, photograph by Kelly Gill, The Xerces Society.

 Pollinator Conservation Short Course

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Big Flats Plant Materials Center

Corning, New York
Thursday, August 27, 2015
9:00 am - 3:30 pm EST

Learn how to attract native pollinators to fields, farms, and orchards!

Pollinators – which include bees, butterflies, and other insects – provide an essential ecological service for the environment.  They support the reproduction of over 85% of the world's flowering plants and more than two-thirds of the world's crop species, valued at $18–$27 billion annually in the United States alone. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems, necessary to produce seeds and fruits that feed everything from songbirds to black bears. Conservation of pollinating insects is critically important to preserving both wider biodiversity and healthy agricultural systems.

In many places, however, pollinators are 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.  In response, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation developed the Pollinator Conservation Short Course to educate producers of bee-pollinated crops, agriculture employees, natural resource specialists, land managers, and conservation organization staff.

*Continuing Education Credits Available*
Certified Crop Adviser (5 CEUs)
NYSDEC Pesticide Credits (4 CEUs)
Certified Nursery Landscape Professional

International Society of Arboriculture (4 CEUs)

Short Course Training Skills & Objectives

This workshop will cover:

  • The economics of insect-pollinated crops, and the effects of pollinator decline
  • Identification of bees and how to distinguish them from other insects
  • Current best management practices that minimize land-use impacts on pollinators
  • Assessment of pollinator habitat and to identify habitat deficiencies
  • Increasing and enhancing pollinator diversity on the land
  • Methods to design and implement habitat improvements, such as native plant restoration and nest site enhancements
  • Incorporating pollinators into land-management or policy decisions
  • Understanding the current Farm Bill pollinator conservation provisions and how to implement those provisions through USDA programs such as EQIP, CSP, and CRP
  • Skills to make pollinator conservation recommendations to farmers and land managers
Course Agenda

Module 1 Introduction and the Importance of Pollinator Conservation

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

Module 2 Basic Bee & Butterfly Biology

  • Bee identification
  • Identifying pollinator nest sites

Module 3 Habitat Restoration

  • Habitat design considerations
  • Plant selection and sources
  • Site preparation and planting techniques for woody and herbaceous plants
  • Long-term habitat management
  • Invasive species control
  • Protecting nesting sites

Module 4 Meadow Management

  • What to expect after seeding a meadow
  • Techniques for managing meadows 
  • Controlling common weeds
  • Maintaining flower diversity

Module 5 Open Laboratory (weather permitting)

  • Field observation of pollinators and plants, native plant selection, and land-use discussion
  • Using the Pollinator Habitat Assessment Form and Guide

Module 6 Bee-Friendly Farming

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

Module 7 Current Farm Bill Provisions

  •  USDA programs and practices for pollinator conservation

Module 8 Seedling identification demonstration

  • Evaluations and Raffle

Kelly Gill – Pollinator Conservation Specialist - Northeast / Mid-Atlantic Region
Kelly is the Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions for the Xerces Society and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. A Pennsylvania native, Kelly recently completed her Master’s Degree in Entomology at Iowa State University. There, she conducted small plot and farm scale research, collaborating with organic and conventional farmers, on the development of best practices for conserving beneficial insects in agricultural landscapes.


Kim Farrell – State Biologist, New York Natural Resources Conservation Service
Kim Farrell is the State Biologist on the New York Resources Conservation Team, in addition to being the Wildlife Advisor on the New York State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). Her experience includes watershed management and riparian habitat restoration through the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), with a focus on waterfowl.  

Shawnna Clark – Natural Resources Specialist, Big Flats Plant Materials Center
Shawnna has been a Natural Resources Specialist at the Big Flats Plant Materials Center since 2007, where she researches Northeastern native wildflowers and cover crops. She has published numerous popular articles and guides, including A Comprehensive Guide of Cover Crop Species Used in the Northeast United States. She received a Masters Degree in Geography from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2010.

Mark Fiely – Horticulturist, Ernst Seed
Mark Fiely has been the horticulturist at Ernst Conservation Seeds for nearly 20 years. He has performed extensive research on methods for breaking dormancy in native seeds. Mark regularly prospects for native plants across a range of 15 states and designs most of the Company’s seed mixes. He frequently advises customers on native meadow establishment, represents the Company at trade shows and conferences, leads tours of Ernst’s production facilities, and speaks to landscape, wildlife habitat, horticultural and ecological organizations. Mark earned his BS degree in horticulture from Penn State University in 1988 and his MS degree in horticulture from the University of Arkansas - Fayetteville in 1991, with continuing studies there in the years since. He has been married to Patty for 17 years. The couple has five children, Hope, Luke, Isaac, Samuel and Benjamin.

About The Xerces Society

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