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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


Registration is $45 per person. Discounted registration of $35 is available for HOFA members. 

Lunch is not included. Please plan on bringing a sack lunch with you to the course or purchasing lunch at the astronomy center.

Canceled registrations can be refunded until January 31st, 2014.


Thursday February 6, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM HST

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'Imiloa Astronomy Center
Moana Hoku Room
600 'Imiloa Place
Hilo, HI 96720

Driving Directions 


This Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course is made possible with the support of the Western 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, Whole Foods Market and its vendors, and Xerces Society members.

Special thank you to Hawai'i Organic Farming Association and Hawai'i Community College's Sustainability Program for supporting this course.

Photo Credit

Native Hawaiian yellow-faced bee (Hylaeus difficilis), on Dubautia ciliolata ssp. glutinosa flower by Karl Magnacca, Oahu Army Natural Resource Program.

Pollinator Conservation Short Course

Hilo, Hawai'i
February 6, 2014
9:00 am - 4:00 pm HST

Pollinators are essential to our environment. The ecological service they provide is necessary for the reproduction of more than 85 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 wildlife. 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 Short Course was developed to address this need.

Introductory topics include the principles of pollinator biology, the economics of insect pollination, and evaluating pollinator habitat. Advanced modules will cover land management practices for pollinator protection, 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.

Registrants will receive the Xerces Society's Pollinator Conservation Toolkit which includes habitat management guidelines and relevant USDA-NRCS and extension publications.

The Xerces Society is offering similar Pollinator Conservation Short Courses across the country. Visit our online events page to view up-to-date short course information.


  • Ability to identify ways of increasing and enhancing pollinator diversity
  • 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 design and implement habitat improvements
  • Ability to incorporate pollinators into land-management or policy decisions


Welcome from Hawai'i Organic Farming Association (Zach Mermel) (9:00 am - 9:15 am)

Module 1 (9:15 am - 10:15 am) Introduction and 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
  • Basic indentification
  • Identifying pollinator nest sites

Break (10:15 am - 10:30 am)

Module 3 (10:30 am - 11:15 am) Conservation of Native Hawaiian Hylaeus Bees

  • Special guest speaker Karl Magnacca PhD, Entomologist, Oahu Army Natural Resources Program

Module 4 (11:15 am - 12:00 pm) Bee-Friendly Farming and Agroforestry

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

Lunch (12:00 pm - 1:00 pm)

Module 5 (1:00 pm - 1:45 pm) Nectar and Pollen Plants for Honeybees and Alternative Pollinators

  • Special guest speaker Ethel Villalobos, Researcher, Insect Ecology and Integrated Pest Management Lab, University of Hawai'i - Manoa

Module 6 (1:45 pm - 2:15 pm) Hawai'i Department of Agriculture Efforts to Protect Bees

  • Special guest Danielle Downey, Apiculture Specialist, Hawai'i Department of Agriculture

Break (2:15 pm - 2:30 pm)

Module 7 (2:30 pm - 3:00 pm) Field Notes on Alternative Pollinators in the Agricultural Landscape

  • Special guest Scott Nikaido, University of Hawaii Honeybee Project

Module 8 (3:00 pm - 3:30 pm) Case Study on Beekeeping and Bee Conservation in Hawai'i

  • Special guest Jenny Bach, Honeybee Education Program
Module 9 (3:30 pm - 4:00 pm) Additional Resources and Wrap Up
  • Questions
  • Evaluations
  • Raffle

Eric Lee-Mder – 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 is the lead author of Xerces' latest book Attracting Native Pollinators. Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies. He has also co-authored Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers and Conservationists.


Jenny Bach began beekeeping while completing her Bachelors of Science in Biology at the University of Hawaii.  Wild honeybee colonies were her first teachers as she removed and relocated colonies from unwanted places. The connection to wild honeybee colonies left to it's own rhythms, undisturbed or manipulated gave Jenny her foundation in keeping bees while honoring their natural life cycles.  She has been a beekeeper for 11 years in Hawai'i and is the founder and director for the Honeybee Education Program and Honeybees for Farmers Project. The Honeybee Education Program offers free outreach presentations to children and beekeeping courses to adults and that has been successfully funded by grants for the past 7 years. Over 4200 children have participated in the Honeybee Education program in the last 3 years. 

Danielle Downey has been working with honey bees and the pests that prey on them for over 20 years. She has done bee research, worked for commercial beekeepers, developed beekeeping courses, even wrangled bees for tv and film.  Her mentors during BS and MSc work include Dr. Marla Spivak, Dr. Mark Winston, and Dr. Yves LeConte. She was the Utah State Apiarist until 2010, when she accepted a newly created position with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. She is charged with building and managing the Hawaii Apiary Program, lives in Hilo, and is the Apiary Specialist for Hawaii Department of Agriculture. With the goal of protecting and preserving Hawaii’s beekeeping related industries from bee pests and disease, Danielle manages regulatory, education, and research programs.

Scott Nikaido is a graduate student at the UH Honeybee Lab in CTAHR, he obtained a B.A. in Psychology (2002) and a B.A. in Zoology (2006) from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. During his undergraduate career Scott was part of Dr. Couvillon's lab at the Bekesy Laboratory of Neurobiology where he assisted researchers in a variety of learning experiments on honeybees. Currently, Scott manages the UH apiary while at the same time conducting research on bee health for his thesis.

Karl Magnacca is an entomologist with the Oahu Army Natural Resources Program at Schofield Barracks.  He received his PhD in 2005 from Cornell University, studying the evolution and conservation of the native Hawaiian Hylaeus bees.  He has worked on the conservation of native Hawaiian insects for 20 years and has published 27 articles and one book on their systematics, taxonomy, evolution, and conservation.

Ethel Villalobos, is a researcher and instructor from the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences in CTAHR. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA, where she studied the ecology and mating behavior of solitary bees and wasps. She is in charge of the University of Hawaii Honeybee Project, and is working with beekeepers and farmers to promote bee health and pollinator friendly agricultural practices.


Zach Mermel, Hawaii Organic Farming Association


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