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The Xerces Society

Thursday July 29, 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 first 30 registrants 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. Additional Toolkits will be available for purchase ($20.00).

Where: Penn State University, Room 112 Forest Resources Building University Park, PA

When: Thursday July 29, 2010, 9:30 am to 4:00pm (lunch on your own)

Cost: Free for the first 30 registrants ($25 thereafter)

Registration: To register please send an email titled "Penn Short Course" to and be sure to include the following information: your name, affilliation, mailing address, email, and phone number. An email confirmation will be sent back to you to confirm your registration and explain the payment process if you are not one of the first 30 registrants. There is a maximum limit of 80 registrants.


  • 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

Module 6. 2008 Farm Bill provisions

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

Module 7. Additional resources

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.


Mace Vaughan is the Xerces Society's Pollinator Program Director and Joint Pollinator Conservation Specialist with the NRCS West National Tech Support Center. Mace supervises research and outreach on habitat restoration for crop pollinating native bees, and collaborates extensively with scientists researching the role and habitat needs of crop-pollinating native bees. He has written numerous articles on the conservation of bees, butterflies, aquatic invertebrates, and insects, and is co-author of the Pollinator Conservation Handbook and lead author of Farming for Bees: Guidelines for Providing Native Bee Habitat on Farms.


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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