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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Registration $45 per person.

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

Canceled registrations can be refunded until July 8th, 2016.


Sunday July 17, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM EDT

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Penn State University
University Park
Agricultural Sciences & Industries Building
Room 101
State College, PA 16803

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This Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course is made possible with the support of a USDA NIFA SCRI grant (Award 2012-51181-20105). Additional support for this training is provided by the following: Cascadian Farm, Ceres Trust, Cheerios, Clif Bar Family Foundation, CS Fund, Disney Conservation Fund, The Dudley Foundation, Endangered Species Chocolate LLC, General Mills, Häagen-Dazs, J.Crew, National Co+op Grocers, Nature Valley, Sarah K. de Coizart Article TENTH Perpetual Charitable Trust, Turner Foundation, Inc., The White Pine Fund, Whole Foods Market and its vendors, Whole Systems Foundation, and Xerces Society members.

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

Photo Credit

Bombus terricola by Leif Richardson.

Pollinator Conservation Short Course

Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building, Room 101
Penn State Campus
State College, Pennsylvania

July 17th, 2016
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Taking place during the 2016 International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health, and Policy

This full day workshop will focus on concepts around protecting and enhancing populations of pollinators, especially bees, in agricultural landscapes. The course will provide an overview of bee natural history and farm practices that support pollinators, such as protecting and creating habitat, modified horticultural practices, and advice on how to manage pests while protecting pollinators. In addition to receiving the latest cutting edge scientific findings from Penn State university scientists, course participants will conduct a field tour of the Penn State Arboretum pollinator plantings to practice identifying bees and their habitat.

Introductory topics include the principles of pollinator biology and integrated crop pollination, 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' book, Attracting Native Pollinators. 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 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

Continuing Education Credits offered:

  • PA Pesticide Recertification Training Credits 
  • Certified Crop Advisor Credits
  • Society of American Foresters Credits
  • The Wildlife Society Credits


Module 1 Introduction - The Importance of Pollinator Conservation

  • Pollination economics and the role of bees in commercial crop production; value of diversifying pollination strategies
  • Pollination biology
  • Colony Collapse Disorder and honey bee industry trends
  • Overview of Integrated Crop Pollination

Module 2 Basic Bee  Biology

  • Bee identification
  • Bee needs
  • Identifying pollinator nest sites

Module 3 Bee-Friendly Farming

  • The value of natural habitat & bee friendly plantings
  • Horticultural practices
  • Reducing pesticide exposure when managing pests


Case study: Farming for bees

Module 4 Assessing Pollinator Habitat

  • Habitat design considerations
  • Plant selection and sources
  • Site preparation and planting techniques for woody and herbaceous plants
  • Long-term habitat management

Lunch (Note: lunch is not provided)

Field Tour Identifying bees and other valuable flower visitors and assessing pollinator habitat

Module 5 Habitat Restoration

  • Habitat design considerations
  • Plant selection and sources
  • Site preparation and planting techniques for woody and herbaceous plants
  • Long-term habitat management

Module 6 Accessing Technical and Financial Support

  • USDA programs and practices for pollinator conservation

Module 7 Additional Resources

Module 8 Wrap Up

  • Questions
  • Evaluations
  • Raffle


Emily May, MS  Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Project ICP, The Xerces Society
As a Pollinator Conservation Specialist at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Emily works on outreach and communication for the Integrated Crop Pollination Project, a national USDA-funded research project evaluating pollination strategies for fruit and vegetable crops. She received a Master's degree in Entomology from Michigan State University, where she studied how wildflower plantings and pesticides can affect wild bee communities in highbush blueberry. 

Katharina Ullmann, PhD – National Crop Pollination Specialist, Project ICP, The Xerces Society
Katharina shares scientific research related to crop pollinators and pollinator conservation with agricultural stakeholders. She currently works with the Xerces Society and the Integrated Crop Pollination Project. She received her PhD from the University of California, Davis where she researched the impact of tilling and crop 
rotations on bees. She has 9 years of experience studying bees in agricultural landscapes.


David Biddinger, PhD – Tree Fruit Research Entomologist, Dept. of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Biddinger has 30 years of research/extension experience in tree & small vegetables and grew up on a 5th generation field crop farm. He studies pollination of Pennsylvania tree fruit crops by managed and wild bee species and developed reduced risk IPM programs for Eastern tree fruit. He specializes in conservation 
biological control with selective insecticides, sublethal pesticide effects, and pollination. 

Jim Gillis – State Biologist, Natural Resource Conservation Service, PA
Jim grew up on a small farm in southwestern Pennsylvania, and has worked all over the country in a variety of wildlife and forestry jobs.  He’s worked with PA NRCS for the last 15 years, and is now their State Biologist and pollinator specialist.

Harland Patch, PhD  Research Scientist, Center for Pollinator Research and Dept. of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Patch is a research scientist and lecturer at Penn State's Center for Pollinator Research and Department of Entomology.  His scientific research focuses on pollinator nutrition and how forge quantity and quality affects pollinator health.  As part of this research Dr. Patch is involved in pollinator landscape restoration and enhancement projects in the US and Africa.  He also teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on pollination science.

Erin TreanoreMS Candidate, Dept. of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University
Erin is a graduate student in the Department of Entomology at Pennsylvania University. Her research investigates how common cover crop species can function as floral resources to support pollinator populations, and how the nutrition of these species may matter for pollinators. She has had experience working with pollinators in agricultural landscapes both in the US and internationally. 

Anthony Vaudo  MS- PhD Candidate, Dept of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University
Anthony received his MS in entomology at the University of Florida and is finishing his PhD at Penn State. His research focusses on how pollen nutrition influences the foraging choices of bees to better understand their evolutionary relationships. He is also exploring how different landscapes influence the diversity and nutritional value of pollen collected by bumble bees and how it affects individual and colony health.