Resources for educators

Teacher from The Noun Project

Whether it is a natural area in which plants tangle and flowers scramble or a more formally designed landscape, a school garden can provide both a source of inspiration and a learning resource that can be integrated through the school. A garden offers a direct way for students to learn about the environment and somewhere they can find a quiet place. Many gardens become a focal point for community engagement, a project that brings families and local businesses together.

Pollinators are easy to incorporate into a school garden. All that is needed is careful choice of plants and provision of nesting or egg-laying sites. Pollinators can be the subject of many lessons. The resources listed on this page will help you plan and design a garden, introduce you to the diversity of insect pollinators, and provide lesson plans and other teaching materials.


Online Curricula
Xerces Society Resources
Citizen Monitoring
Other Pollinator Resources (including websites, books, etc.)

Online Curricula

Smithsonian Institution
Plants and Animals: Partners in Pollination
This resource includes a basic explanation of pollination, flower parts, pollinators, and several lesson plan ideas

National Gardening Association
Kids Gardening Curriculum Connections: Perusing Pollination Partners
This site contains curriculum for the classroom and plant ideas

PBS American Field Guide
Co-evolution of Plants and Pollinators
The lesson plans on this website are for grades 9-12

The Power of Pollinators
Materials and resources to teach gardeners and naturalists about pollination, pollinators and every gardener’s role in pollinator conservation. Each module contains slides, notes and resources to help educators spread the word about pollinators.

University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Bumble Boosters

University of Wisconsin – Madison Arboretum
Earth Partnership for Schools

Pollinator Paradise
This resource will help teachers and students determine if they are looking at bees, flies, or other insects

Montana Pollinator Education Project
The Montana Pollinator Education Project provides lesson plans for grades K-8, pollinator identification and information cards, and Montana pollinator and wildflower illustrations.

Xerces Society Resources

Pollinator Friendly Parks
How to enhance Parks, Gardens and other Greenspaces for Native Pollinator Insects

Fact Sheets
Nests for Native Bees
Tunnel Nest Construction and Management

Pollinator Resources
For regional plant lists, fact sheets, and more visit our Pollinator Conservation Resource Center

Bumble Bee Conservation
Please visit our Bumble Bee Conservation Page for associated resources

Monarch Conservation 
Please visit our Monarch Conservation page for associated resources

Citizen Monitoring

If you have an existing garden at your school, these Citizen Science projects may help you use your garden to teach about pollination and participate in a larger study

Bumble Bee Watch
Bumble Bee Watch is a collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. This citizen science project allows for individuals to upload photos, have identifications verified by experts, learn about bumble bees, and connect with other citizen scientists. This information helps researchers determine the status and conservation needs of bumble bees and locate rare or endangered populations of bumble bees. Sign up today!

Streamlined Bee Monitoring Protocol
Developed the University of California, Davis, Rutgers University, Michigan State University, and The Xerces Society, this guide provides instructions for assessing pollinator habitat quality and diversity by monitoring native bees. It was developed for conservationists, farmers, land managers, and restoration professionals to document how native bee communities change through time in pollinator habitats. It includes an introduction to bee identification, a detailed monitoring protocol, and data sheets for different habitat types.

The Great Sunflower Project
This project involves growing sunflowers and monitoring the bees that visit them. The website includes detailed information on native bee identification.

Pollination Canada
This resource provides a citizen science “pollinator observer” kit and handbook.

Texas Bee Watchers
This resource is for monitoring bees in Texas.

Journey North
This website provides information on tagging and monitoring monarch butterflies as they migrate in the eastern U.S.

The Vanessa migration project
This website allows for citizens to help monitor the migration of Painted lady butterflies.

BeeSpotter collects information from citizen monitors on honey bees and bumble bees in the state of Illinois.

California Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Guide
An instructional handbook for native bee survey efforts, used in the Xerces Society’s California Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Course. The handbook assists users in identifying native bees to broad morphological categories for assessing general pollinator abundance and diversity.

California Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Pocket Guide
A pocket-sized printable field version of the taxonomic native bee groups described the California Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Guide.

Pennsylvania Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Guide
An instructional handbook for native bee survey efforts, used by the Penn State Master Gardener Program. The handbook assists users in identifying native bees to broad morphological categories for assessing general pollinator abundance and diversity. Developed in collaboration with the Xerces Society, this guide is useful in identifying broad groups of bees throughout the Northeastern U.S.

Pennsylvania Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Pocket Guide
A pocket-sized printable field version of the taxonomic native bee groups described the Penn-State Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Guide.

Other Pollinator Resources


The Xerces Society

Butterflies and Moths of North America

Butterflies of the World Foundation

Discover Life
Resources to help study wildlife, including keys to identify bees and butterflies

National Academy of Sciences
Resources on Pollinators

The Children’s Butterfly Site

A simulation of how a bee sees

US Forest Service
Celebrating Wildflowers – Pollinators

Häagen-Dazs Help the Honey Bees

National Biological Information Infrastructure

Ecological Society of America
Pollination toolkit

University of Illinois

UC Berkeley
Urban Bee Gardens, Dr. Gordon Frankie


Eaton, E. R., and K. Kaufman. 2007. Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Available for purchase in the Xerces store.

Evans, A. V. 2007. National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects and Spiders & Related Species of North America. New York: Sterling.

Imes, R. 1992. The Practical Entomologist. Fireside Books, New York, NY.


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Learn About Your Landscape:
Take Action!
Sign the Pledge!

Sign the pledge and take action to help protect pollinators and their essential habitats! Learn more.

Pollinator Conservation Resource Center

The Resource Center is where you can find regional information about plant lists, habitat conservation guides, and more. Learn more.

Pollinator Conservation Seed Mixes

Our partners in the native seed industry are offering specially designed, Xerces-approved wildflower seed mixes. Learn more.

Plant Milkweed Seed!

Milkweeds support monarch butterflies, native bees, honey bees, and other beneficial insects. Search for sources of milkweed seed now!

long horned bee (Melissodes sp.) on sunflower by Mace Vaughan