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.


Registration is $45 per person and includes a copy of Attracting Native Pollinators. After Wednesday August 13, registration is $50 per person. 

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

Canceled registrations can be refunded until August 20, 2014.


Wednesday August 27, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM EDT
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University of Rhode Island East Farm
2182 Kingstown Road Bldg #75
Kingston, RI 02881

Driving Directions


Emily Krafft 
The Xerces Society 
503-232-6639 ext. 119 

Reasonable Accomodations

The Xerces Society provides reasonable accommodations for special events with adequate notice.  To request accommodation for events, please contact by Wednesday, August 13th, 2014. 

The USDA and the Xerces Society are equal-opportunity providers and employers.


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, the Sarah K. de Coizart Article TENTH Perpetual Charitable Trust, Turner Foundation, Whole Foods Market and its vendors, and Xerces Society members.

Special thanks to Heather Faubert and Dr. Steven Alm at the University of Rhode Island for hosting and supporting this course. 

Photo credit

Godena Farm, Rhode Island by Gary Casabona, Rhode Island NRCS.

 Pollinator Conservation Short Course

University of Rhode Island East Farm
Kingston, Rhode Island
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
9:00 am - 4:30 pm EDT

Learn how to attract native pollinators to fields, farms, and orchards!

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 Credits 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


Module 1 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

Module 2 Basic Bee and Butterfly Biology

  • Bee identification
  • Identifying pollinator nest sites

Module 3 Bee-Friendly Farming

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

Module 4 Habitat Restoration

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

Module 5 Open Laboratory (weather permitting)

  • Field observation of pollinators and plants, native plant selection, and land-use discussion
  • Using the Pollinator Habitat Assessment Form and Guide

Module 6 Current Farm Bill Provisions

Module 7 Additional Resources

Module 8 Wrap Up

  • Questions
  • Evaluations
  • Raffle


Kelly Gill – Pollinator Conservation Specialist - Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions
Kelly is the Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions for the Xerces Society and a partner biologist with the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service. Kelly’s position provides technical support for planning, installing, and managing pollinator habitat. 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.


Gary Casabona – State Biologist
Gary Casabona holds a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from Rutgers University, and a M.S. in Wildlife Biology from Virginia Tech.  He worked for USDA-NRCS in New Jersey for 14 years before moving to Rhode Island in 2011 as the statewide wildlife biologist for NRCS.  Gary’s current activities include habitat projects for New England cottontail, native pollinators, scrub/shrub birds, wetland restoration, fish passage, and oyster restoration.


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