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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, master gardeners, and producers of bee-pollinated crops.

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


Registration $45 per person. After April 4th, registration is $50 per person. Course registration includes a copy of Attracting Native Pollinators.

Discounted registration of $35 available for members of Stone Barns Center!

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

Canceled registrations can be refunded until April 7, 2014.


Wednesday April 16, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM EDT

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Stone Barns Center
630 Bedford Road
Pocantico Hills, NY 10591

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

Special thank you to Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture for hosting and supporting this course.

Photo Credit

Bumble bee on crimson clover, New Jersey NRCS.

Pollinator Conservation Short Course

Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
Pocantico Hills, New York

April 16, 2014
9:00 am - 4:30 pm EDT

Learn how to attract native pollinators to your orchard, farm, or garden!

Pollinators, which include bees, butterflies, and other insects 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 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 Short Course was developed to address this need.

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 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


Introduction and announcements (9:00 am - 9:15 am)

Module 1 (9:15 am - 9:45 am) Value and Importance of Pollinators

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

Module 2 (9:45 am - 10:15 am) Basic Bee Biology

  • Bee identification
  • Identifying pollinator nest sites

Module 3 (10:15 am - 10:45 am) Habitat Restoration

  • Best plants for bees in NY
  • Site preparation and planting techniques for native wildflowers
  • Long-term habitat management

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

Module 4  (11:00 am - 12:00 pm) Assessing Pollinator Habitat

  • Learning to use the Pollinator Habitat Assessment Form and Guide to help guide pollinator conservation planning

Lunch (12:00 pm - 1:00 pm) - on your own, if you didn't bring lunch, there is a cafe on-site

Field Tour (1:15 pm - 2:45 pm) Habitat types TBA

  • Look at insects visiting flowering plants in different habitat
  • Identify bees in the field and talk about the connection to habitat
  • Go through habitat assessment guide as a group
  • Q & A

Walk back to the classroom (2:45 pm - 3:00 pm)

Module 5 (3:00 pm - 3:45 pm) Bee-Friendly Farming

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

Module 6 (3:45 pm - 4:00 pm) Accessing Technical and Financial Support

  • USDA programs and practices for pollinator conservation

Module 7 (4:00 pm - 4:15 pm) Additional Resources

Module 8 (4:15 pm - 4:30 pm ) Wrap Up

  • Questions
  • Evaluations
  • 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.


Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture

The mission of Stone Barns Center is to create a healthy and sustainable food system that benefits us all.  Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a nonprofit institution that operates an 80-acre farm and works to:

Increase public awareness of healthy, seasonal and sustainable food.
Train farmers in resilient, restorative farming techniques.
Educate children about the sources of their food, and prepare them to steward the land that provides it.

Join us as we work with our natural environment to improve the way America eats and farms. Explore our fields. Stroll through our pastures. Walk our woodlands. Talk with our farmers. Support our cause.


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