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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.

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


Registration $35 per person. After May 9, registration is $40 per person. Course registration includes a copy of Attracting Native Pollinators.

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

Canceled registrations can be refunded until May 17, 2014.


Thursday May 22, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM EDT

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Cornell Cooperative Extension
Agroforestry Resource Center
6055 NYS Route 23
Acra, NY 12405

Audio Accomodations

If you should need a reasonable accommodation such as audio interpretation, please notify Elizabeth Marks by May 8, 2014 at (518) 828-4385(518) 828-4385 ext 105 or USDA's Target Center at (202) 720-2600(202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). Visit the Cornell Cooperative Extension website for more information.


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 Cornell Cooperative Extension Agroforestry Resource Center and Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station for hosting and supporting this course.

Photo Credit

Bumble bee visiting apply blossom by Nancy Lee Adamson, The Xerces Society


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

Pollinator Conservation Short Course

Cornell Cooperative Extension Agroforestry Resource Center
Acra, New York

May 22, 2014
9:00 am - 4:00 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.

*Continuing Education Credit Available*
Certified Crop Adviser (5 CEUs) 
Society of American Foresters (5 CFE credits)
The Wildlife Society (5.5 contact hours)


  • 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


Welcome from NY NRCS & NY Cooperative Extension Agroforestry Center

Module 1 (9:00 am to 10:00 am) Introduction - The Importance of Pollinator Conservation

  • Pollination economics and the role of native bees in crop production
  • Pollination biology

Module 2 (10:00 am to 10:30 am) Basic Bee and Butterfly Biology

  • Bee identification
  • Identifying pollinator nest sites

Break (10:30 am to 10:45 am)

Module 3 (10:45 am to 11:15 am) Common Bees on Alternative Flowering Plants on Vegetable Farms in the Northeast

  • Special guest speakers Kimberly Stoner and Tracy Zarrillo

Module 4 (11:15 am to 11:30 am) How Bees are Exposed to Pesticides and Possible Effects

  • Special guest speaker Kimberly Stoner

Module 5 (11:30 am to 12:15 pm) Bee-Friendly Farming

  • The value of natural habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects
  • Protecting nesting sites and mitigating pesticide damage

Lunch (12:15 am to 1:00 pm) On your own, please bring a sack lunch

Module 6 (1:00 pm to 2:00 pm) Open Laboratory (outdoors, weather permitting)

  • Examination of pinned specimens, artificial nests, and display materials
  • Field observation of pollinators and plants, native plant selection, and land-use discussion
  • Using the Pollinator Habitat Assessment Form and Guide

Module 7 (2:00 pm to 2:45 pm) Habitat Restoration

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

Break (2:45 pm to 3:00 pm)

Module 8 (3:00 pm to 3:30 pm) Farm Bill Provisions Supporting Pollinators and Other Wildlife

  • NY NRCS host Elizabeth Marks will highlight multiple benefits of pollinator conservation practices supported by USDA

Module 9 (3:30 pm to 3:45 pm) Additional Resources

Module 10 (3:45 pm to 4:00 pm) Wrap Up

  • Questions
  • Evaluations
  • Raffle


Nancy Lee Adamson, PhD – Pollinator Conservation Specialist - East Region
Nancy is the Pollinator Conservation Specialist - East Region for the Xerces Society and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service East National Technology Support Center (ENTSC). She supports pollinator conservation care of the ENTSC in Greensboro, North Carolina. She studied bees important for crop pollination (primarily native bees) and meadow restoration in the mid-Atlantic, ran the horticulture and Master Gardener programs for Frederick County, Maryland’s Cooperative Extension, and has long been involved in inventorying, collecting seed, and propagating native plants for habitat restoration. As Education Coordinator and Nursery Manager at Adkins Arboretum on the eastern shore of Maryland, she started a local ecotype propagation program following work with Bloomin’ Natives (now Chesapeake Natives). A former Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia, she also worked as an intern with Cultural Survival in PetÚn, Guatemala.

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.


Kimberly Stoner, PhD, Associate Scientist, Entomology Department, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Dr. Kimberly Stoner currently studies pollination of pumpkin and winter squash, relating bee counts in the field to pollination of the female flowers. As part of this project, she collects samples of pollen and nectar for measurement of pesticide residues, and samples of different species of bees for molecular analysis to track movement of RNA viruses and various microbes.  In her other bee projects, she is completing a project comparing numbers and diversity of bees on different plants grown on diversified vegetable farms – herbs, cut flowers, ornamental  plants, cover crops, wildflowers, and weeds.  She is also doing long-term monitoring of bee diversity in several sites around Connecticut.  Her background is in vegetable entomology, particularly plant breeding for resistance to insect pests, biological control of insect pests, and other alternatives to insecticides for managing vegetable insects.  She has worked with many organic farmers and organic landscapers.  She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association for 20 years, and she was the lead author on the first organic standards for landscaping in the world. 

Tracy Zarrillo, Agricultural Research Technician, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Tracy Zarrillo provides research assistance on a variety of projects at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, including insect pest management on organic farms and apple orchards in Connecticut. Recent projects focus on pumpkin/squash pollination and wild bee diversity on farms, and also surveying the state for exotic and invasive insect pests.  She has studied bee taxonomy, beneficial insects visiting ornamental flowers, and pollen transfer. She is pursuing a Master’s degree in biology at the Southern Connecticut State University and her thesis project is a two year faunal survey of the bee communities found at a coastal preserve in Guilford, Connecticut. 

Elizabeth Marks, Biologist, NY NRCS
Elizabeth Marks serves as a biologist for the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) in Eastern New York.  Prior to that she worked as the Hudson Mohawk RC&D Coordinator with NRCS.  She is a certified Holistic Management educator and mentors beginning women farmers.  Elizabeth received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Mount Holyoke College.  Her love for wildlife was fostered as a child growing up on Lake George in the Adirondacks.


Cornell Cooperative Extension Agroforestry Center


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