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Partnering for Pollinators

By Justin Wheeler on 20. June 2016
Justin Wheeler

The Xerces Society works with many partners in pollinator conservation. These partners include local, state, and federal agencies; farmers; land managers; seed companies; other conservation groups; and volunteers. We’re thankful for the support of these partnerships which make large-scale pollinator conservation efforts possible. Below is a sampling of partnership projects from the past year.

Port of Portland

The Port of Portland (Oregon) is working with the Xerces Society to restore a 50-acre native wildflower meadow. This multi-year project includes pre- and post-restoration monitoring. Because the site is on an island in the Columbia River, all the equipment and materials had to be loaded onto a barge and floated out to the island. Other partners on this project include Pacific Northwest Natives and Tenbusch Farms.


government island
Site preparation on Government Island September 2015 (left), the same site in May 2016 (right). PHOTOS: (L) The Xerces Society/Jim Eckberg, (R) The Xerces Society/Rich Hatfield.


Natural Resources Conservation Service

The NRCS is one of Xerces’ most important partners in pollinator conservation. Over 12 years, we have trained 1000s of NRCS conservation planners, helped to develop 100s of conservation plans, implemented dozens of demonstration projects, and worked together closely to help implement the pollinator conservation provisions of the U.S. Farm Bill. We applaud the work of the NRCS and are excited about future collaborations.

Hop’n Blueberry Farm

Van Burnette is a North Carolina farmer who has made a long-term personal interest in butterflies into a cornerstone of his business. Tucked in an Appalachian mountain valley, Van’s Hop’n Blueberry Farm includes wildflower meadows, a flowering shrub hedgerow, garden strips of butterfly host plants, and an educational program on butterfly conservation that is integrated into farm tours and visits from local schools.


hopn blueberry farm
Van Burnette’s enthusiasm for pollinator conservation is evident in the many pollinator friendly features of Van’s Hop’n Blueberry Farm. PHOTO: The Xerces Society / Nancy Lee Adamson.


Federal Highway Administration, ICF International

Working with ICF International, Xerces Society scientists reviewed published research and interviewed roadside managers, and developed guidance notes and best management practices for roadside vegetation management to benefit pollinators. This work was done under contract with the Federal Highway Administration, and will inform roadside management across the United States.

Additional Information:

Project ICP, Dr. Kelly Garbach

Finding out what farmers are doing to help bees and understanding what information or support they need to be successful has been the focus of research done for Project ICP by a team led by Dr. Kelly Garbach of Point Blue. Hundreds of farmers in California, Florida, Michigan, and Oregon were interviewed. Xerces staff helped develop the survey and prepare the reports, which will guide future outreach to growers.

More information on the survey findings:

Minnesota Native Landscapes

The Xerces Society works with Minnesota Native Landscapes, a native seed company based in Otsego, MN, to increase the supply of flowers that are of high value as nectar sources for monarch butterflies, in particular, meadow blazingstar (Liatris ligulistylis) and native thistles (e.g., Cirsium altissimum). This partnership will boost the abundance of these flowers in the Upper Midwest to support pollinator habitat restoration.


Minnesota Native Landscapes have been an important partner in expanding the availability of highly beneficial native plants, such as meadow blazingstar (left) and native thistles (right) which are currently underrepresented in many conservation seed mixes. PHOTO: (L) Keith Frederick/Minnesota Native Landscapes, (R) The Xerces Society/Jennifer Hopwood.


Bee monitoring workshop

Xerces staff led a two-day workshop for Great River Greening and the Maplewood Nature Center to train volunteers and nature center staff how to design and implement a monitoring program for native bees. Participants will use the skills learned to conduct regular monitoring at a nearby natural area. Another partner on this project was the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.  


bee monitoring
Volunteers and staff learned how to create their own successful bee monitoring program.  PHOTO: The Xerces Society/Sarah Foltz Jordan


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