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


Thanks to Western SARE, registration is free for the first 30 people. Additional seats are available for $30.

Hurry registration closes after 50 people!

Canceled registrations can be refunded until June 13, 2011.

Lunch will not be provided. Please plan on bringing a sack lunch, a refrigerator and microwave will be available.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011, from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM MDT

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USDA-NRCS Aberdeen Plant Materials Center 
1691 A South 2700 West
Aberdeen, ID 83210-0296

Driving Directions 


This Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course is made possible with the support of the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) program and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Additional support for this training is provided by the following: Aveda Earth Fund, CS Fund, Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, Dudley Foundation, Turner Foundation, Whole Systems Foundation, and Xerces Society members.

Photo Credit

Matthew Shepherd, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.



Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course

Aberdeen, Idaho
June 22, 2011
9:30 am - 4:00 pm

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. This day-long Short Course will equip conservationists, land managers, farm educators, and agricultural professionals with the latest science-based approaches to increasing crop security and reversing the trend of pollinator decline, especially in heavily managed agricultural landscapes.

Introductory topics include the principles of pollinator biology, the economics of insect pollination, basic field identification of bees, 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, training modules are illustrated by case studies of pollinator conservation efforts across the country. 

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 Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) program, registration is free for the first 30 people. Additional seats are $30. Canceled registrations can be refunded until June 13, 2011. Lunch will not be provided. Please plan on bringing a sack lunch to the course, a refrigerator and microwave will be available.


  • Awareness of federal programs and funding available for pollinator conservation on private lands
  • 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 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 Basic Bee Biology

  • Bee identification
  • Identifying pollinator nest sites

 Module 3 Bee-Friendly Farming

  • The role of farm habitat
  • Mitigating pesticide damage
  • Protecting ground-nesting bees in cultivated fields

Module 4 Habitat Restoration

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

Module 5 Current Farm Bill Provisions

  • Using NRCS practices for pollinator conservation in Idaho
  • Conservation case studies

Module 6 Open Laboratory

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

Module 7  Additional Resources

Module 8 Wrap Up

  • Questions
  • Evaluations
  • Raffle


Jennifer Hopwood is the Xerces Society's Midwest Pollinator Outreach Coordinator. In this role she works to provide resources and training for pollinator habitat management, creation, and restoration to agricultural professionals and land managers. Jennifer holds a Master’s in Entomology from the University of Kansas, where her research focused on bee communities in roadside prairie plantings and prairie remnants. She has presented short courses in over eight states. Contact:


Karen Fullen holds the NRCS State Biologist position in Idaho. Her career with NRCS began through the student employment programs. After obtaining an A.S. degree in Forest/Park Technology and a B.S. in Biology with an Ecology emphasis, Karen started her first permanent full-time position as a Soil Conservationist in the Fresno Field Office in 1997. From 1999 to 2004, she was the Wetland Team Biologist in the Elk Grove Field Office, leading a team of specialists to complete wetland delineations and provide Wetland Reserve Program assistance to 21 field offices across 3 administrative areas. Karen served as the State Biologist in the Salt Lake City, Utah State Office for 6 years, before transferring to the same position in the Boise, Idaho State Office in 2010.  

Derek Tilley has been an Agronomist/Plant Scientist at the NRCS Plant Materials Center in Aberdeen, Idaho since 2004. His work involves developing plants and plant science technologies for the successful conservation of natural resources in upland and wetland environments in the Intermountain West. Derek received his Master's degree in plant taxonomy from BYU in 2001. He has also worked for the University of Idaho Extension and the National Park Service.


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