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Xerces Events

To request staff participation at an event or to be a speaker, please fill out our speaker request form here. For questions regarding the speaker request form contact Rachel Dunham at [email protected].


The list of events on this page will be updated regularly. To view past webinars, please visit our YouTube channel. We also announce events on social media and via our e-newsletter. If you have questions, please email [email protected].

Jun 17
1 PM – 2 PM PT / 2 PM - 3 PM MT / 3 PM - 4 PM CT / 4 PM - 5 PM ET

Join Bug Banter co-hosts Matthew Shepherd and Rachel Dunham as they welcome back podcast guests Kass Urban-Mead and Rich Hatfield with special guest Mace Vaughan, Pollinator Program and Agricultural Biodiversity Director for a Q & A session on all things bees. Bring your questions about bees and your enthusiasm.

This webinar will be recorded and available on our YouTube channel and all major podcast platforms. Closed Captioning will be available during this webinar.

Learn more and register today!

Mace Vaughan - Pollinator and Agricultural Biodiversity Co-Director - Xerces Society
Mace Vaughan serves as the Xerces Society’s Pollinator and Ag Biodiversity Conservation Program Co-Director, and as a Conservation Entomologist and Partner Biologist to the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) West National Technology Support Center in Portland, Oregon. In his tenure at the Xerces Society, the pollinator program has grown from a small pilot project on California farms to a national program implementing pollinator conservation projects across the U.S. Mace co-leads a team of 25 pollinator conservation specialists and several consultants across the U.S., and now helps to supervise the world’s largest pollinator conservation team. His work with other staff at the Xerces Society and the USDA-NRCS has led to the implementation of hundreds of thousands of acres of pollinator and beneficial insect habitat on farms throughout the U.S.

Kass Urban-Mead - Pollinator Conservation Specialist and NRCS Partner Biologist Mid-Atlantic - Xerces Society
Kass Urban-Mead provides technical assistance on pollinator conservation in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region. As part of this work, she assists with planning, designing, installing, and managing habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects. Kass also works with staff and research partners to develop technical guidelines and provide training on pollinator conservation practices. Her graduate work in the Cornell Entomology Department characterized the wild bees active in early spring forests and forest canopies, and how the movement of bees between forests and orchards can support orchard pollination. Kass grew up raising 4-H dairy goats in the Hudson Valley. She completed a masters at Yale Forestry, worked for a summer at the Arnold Arboretum, and did ecological research in southern France.

Rachel Dunham - Community Engagement and Volunteer Coordinator - Xerces Society
As the Xerces Society’s first Community Engagement and Volunteer Coordinator, Rachel has built their Ambassador Program from the ground up and is finding new ways for Xerces to connect to communities through X Kids and the Bug Banter podcast. She has always loved wildlife and being outdoors. Rachel pursued her passion for nature graduating with a bachelor's in ecology, and earning a master's of wildlife conservation. She spent years traveling between Alaska and Hawaii, working as a naturalist for the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Princess Cruise Lines. Rachel also worked as a research associate in Panama and northern British Columbia. Before Xerces, Rachel worked at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, managing their public programs. She now lives in Montana with her husband and adventure pup.

Matthew Shepherd - Director of Outreach and Education - Xerces Society
Matthew has worked for the Xerces Society for more than two decades, initially at the vanguard of a new movement to protect pollinators, but then on endangered species and a range of other issues, as well as several years leading Xerces' communications work. Throughout this time, he maintained a direct involvement in pollinator conservation in towns and cities, and in his current role has returned to outreach and community engagement. Much of this focuses on supporting neighborhood-level efforts such as pollinator gardens and small habitat projects in parks, as well as leading the Bring Back the Pollinators campaign and promoting the No Mow May and Leave the Leaves initiatives.

Rich Hatfield - Senior Endangered Species Conservation Biologist; Bumble Bee Conservation Lead - Xerces Society
Rich manages all aspects of the Xerces Society’s work on bumble bees. Rich has a master’s degree in conservation biology from San Francisco State University, and he joined the Xerces Society in 2012. While earning his degree, his thesis focused on local- and landscape-level factors that contribute to bumble bee species richness and abundance. He has also investigated native bee pollination in agricultural systems in the Central Valley of California and researched endangered butterflies in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, as well as throughout the Pacific Northwest. In addition to his skills as a research biologist, Rich also has extensive classroom teaching experience with a focus on conservation biology, ecology, and sustainability.

Jun 27
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PT / 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM MT / 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CT / 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET

Many of us know the butterfly life cycle– egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, adult. But how does this life cycle work in the hot Mojave or Sonoran deserts? What are butterflies in isolated springs across the West eating as caterpillars? How do they survive the winter in the Cascade Mountains? And how are these butterflies responding to habitat loss, pesticide exposure, and the changing climate we all find ourselves in?

The western United States contains hundreds of butterfly species, found in habitats ranging from hot, arid deserts to the peaks of the High Sierras. While some of these butterflies are widespread and can (luckily) be found in gardens, parks and natural areas across the West, others are much more localized. All of these species have amazing strategies to survive and thrive in what can be some of the most hostile climates in the United States. And many of them are facing threats new and old to their populations and habitats. Join Kevin Burls, Endangered Species Conservation Biologist, as he starts with an overview of butterfly diversity in the West and then highlights some of the amazing strategies that have allowed them to colonize deserts, grasslands, and mountains. Kevin will also discuss the threats these butterflies face, and how we can all protect them and their habitats.

This webinar will be recorded and available on our YouTube channel. Closed Captioning will be available during this webinar.

Learn more and register today!

Kevin Burls - Endangered Species Conservation Biologist - Xerces Society
As a conservation biologist for the endangered species program, Kevin’s efforts with the Xerces Society focus on protecting the hundreds of butterfly species that inhabit deserts, forests, and grasslands across the western United States. Many of these species are currently in decline or are threatened by habitat loss, insecticides, and the effects of climate change. Kevin’s work includes collaborating with land managers and scientists to understand the conservation needs of butterfly species, then advocating for their protection by crafting conservation guidelines and legislation with agencies and policy makers at the regional, state, and federal levels.

Before working with the Xerces Society, Kevin was the integrated pest management educator for the University of Nevada, Reno Extension program, with a focus on native pollinators and beneficial insects. In addition, Kevin and his wife co-founded the invertebrate science education nonprofit Nevada Bugs & Butterflies in Reno, Nevada in 2012. As a part of this work Kevin has spent several seasons searching for some of Nevada’s endemic and at-risk butterfly species in the mountains and deserts of the Great Basin. He holds a Ph.D. in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology from the University of Nevada, Reno. In his free time, you can find him hiking with his wife, son, and two dogs, or fixing the drip irrigation at his home in Washoe Valley, Nevada.

Jul 25
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PT / 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM MT / 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CT / 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET

Join Ray Moranz and Steve Armstead, Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Specialists, to explore the world of butterflies east of the Rockies. This webinar continues to explore the life of butterflies that began in the west and now looks east over the Continental Divide running along the Rockies to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. This large extent of the country includes diverse landscapes ranging from alpine peaks, arid grasslands, fertile plains, forests, farms, and coastal wetlands. In all of these landscapes, butterflies can be found and have adapted strategies allowing them to find host plants and complete their life cycle. These butterflies may include those with narrower geographies and depend on more localized and specific habitat conditions, and others more common and widespread. Ray and Steve will provide an overview of the diversity of eastern butterflies, including some iconic species while highlighting some of the fascinating butterflies that have life strategies to survive in specific and challenging habitats. Learn about the threats butterflies must contend with including habitat loss, changing climate conditions and land management practices, and what we can all do to protect them and their habitats.

This webinar will be recorded and available on our YouTube channel. Closed Captioning will be available during this webinar.

Learn more and register today!

Ray Moranz - Pollinator Conservation Specialist, NRCS Partner Biologist, Central Region - Xerces Society
Ray works to conserve pollinators on rangelands in the central U.S., and he also serves as a Partner Biologist to the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Central National Technology Support Center in Fort Worth, TX. He is based at the NRCS Field Office in Stillwater, Oklahoma. One focus of his work is to assist in the planning and implementation of monarch butterfly conservation efforts in the south central U.S.. Ray began studying the effects of fire and grazing on prairie plant and butterfly communities in 2004, and earned his Ph.D. in natural resource ecology and management from Oklahoma State University in 2010. Prior to joining the Xerces Society, he worked for The Nature Conservancy in Florida, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in California, Iowa State University, and Oklahoma State University.

Steve Armstead - Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Nature-Based Climate Solutions, Colorado - Xerces Society
As the Colorado Front Range Pollinator Conservation and Nature-Based Climate Solutions Specialist, Steve partners on efforts to coordinate, manage and build high quality, connected, climate-resilient pollinator habitat in the Colorado Front Range covering the Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins areas. Steve will be working with the City of Boulder on their pollinator conservation and nature-based climate initiatives, while also exploring ways to expand and leverage support for pollinator conservation and climate solution efforts throughout the region.
Steve has extensive experience working in natural lands management, planning, and community engagement after a lengthy career with the City of Boulder’s Open Space program. Steve holds a Master’s Degree in Museum and Field Studies focusing on Entomology from the University of Colorado – Boulder, where he surveyed and established a system to monitored butterflies across local natural areas. He enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, and the many labors associated with taking care of a small horse farm and improving the extent of its pollinator habitat.