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The Xerces Society


Thursday September 23, 2010

The 2008 Farm Bill makes pollinators and their habitat a conservation priority for every USDA land manager and conservationist. This training session provides an overview of pollinator-specific language within the Farm Bill, and how to translate that language into on-the-ground conservation.

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 basic principles of pollinator biology, the economics of insect pollination, recognizing native bee species, and assessment of pollinator habitat.

Advance modules will cover farm management practices for pollinator protection, the development of pollinator habitat enhancements, incorporating pollinator conservation into NRCS programs, selection of plants for pollinator enhancement sites, management of natural and urban landscapes, and the additional funding sources and technical support available to land managers.

Throughout the workshop these training modules are illustrated by real case studies of pollinator conservation efforts across the country.

The Short Course is free to the first 30 registrants. Additional seats are available for $25. Participants will receive the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Toolkit that includes published farm and habitat management guidelines, fact sheets and nest construction plans, relevant Extension and NRCS publications.

Location: USDA NRCS Big Flats Plant Materials Center, 3266-A State Route 352, Corning, NY 14830-0360

Cost: Free for the first 30 registrants. Additional seats are available for $25. Lunch is not provided.

Registration: Please send an email to with your name, affiliation, mailing address, phone number, or call 607-562-8404


  • Awareness of various federal programs and funding available for pollinator conservation
  • Identify approaches to increase and enhance 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
  • Understand the economics of insect-pollinated crops, and the effects of pollinator decline           
  • Knowledge of the 2008 Farm Bill pollinator conservation provisions and how to implement those provisions in programs such as WHIP, EQIP, and CSP
  • 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 tillage, pesticide use, irrigation, burning, grazing, and cover cropping)
  • Ability to design and implement habitat improvements, such as native plant restoration and nest site enhancements

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. Open Laboratory

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

Module 5. Habitat restoration

  • Habitat design considerations
  • Plant selection and seed sources
  • Planting techniques for native wildflowers
  • Long-term habitat management
  • Artificial nest sites
  • Native seed germination and establishment research at the Big Flats PMC (by Paul Salon, Big Flats Plant Materials Specialist)

Module 6. 2008 Farm Bill provisions

  • Using NRCS programs and practices for pollinator conservation
  • Conservation case studies

Module 7. Additional resources


These Pollinator Conservation Short Courses are supported by the supported by the New York Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Since 1988, SARE has helped advance farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program. The SARE program is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), U.S. Department of Agriculture. More information about SARE is available at

The content of this course is tailored to the needs of NRCS, SWCS, 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.

Eric Mader is the Xerces Society’s Assistant Pollinator Program Director. In this role he works to raise awareness of native pollinator conservation techniques among farmers and government agencies. His previous work includes commercial beekeeping and crop consulting for the native seed industry. Eric is an Assistant Professor of Extension at the University of Minnesota Department of Entomology and is the co-author of the new SARE book, Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers, and Conservationists.

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international non-profit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Launched in 1996, the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Program 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

Sunflower bee (Svastra sp.) by Sarah Greenleaf, California State University, Sacramento

The Xerces Society 4828 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, Oregon 97215 USA tel 503.232.6639

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