Mission & History

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international nonprofit organization that protects the natural world through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats. We take our name from the now extinct Xerces Blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces), the first butterfly known to go extinct in North America as a result of human activities.

Our Work

The Xerces Society is a science-based conservation organization, working with diverse partners including scientists, land managers, educators, policymakers, farmers, and citizens.  By using applied research, engaging in advocacy, providing educational resources, and addressing policy implications, we endeavor to make meaningful long-term conservation a reality.

Our core programs focus on habitat conservation and restoration, species conservation, protecting pollinators, contributing to watershed health, and reducing harm to invertebrates from pesticide use.


Please view our annual reports for details on our many programs and conservation efforts.

A Lasting Legacy

Over the past four decades, we have protected endangered species and their habitats, produced ground-breaking publications on insect conservation, trained thousands of farmers and land managers to protect and manage habitat, and raised awareness about the invertebrates of forests, prairies, deserts, and oceans.

Our founder, Robert Michael Pyle shares the history of the Society from its beginnings in 1971.  Though Xerces has accomplished much, as Dr. Pyle notes there is still much to be done. “Conserving the diversity of invertebrates is, after all, the biggest job in the world.”

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement

The Xerces Society is committed to establishing and maintaining a diverse and inclusive community that collectively supports our mission: to protect the natural world by conserving invertebrates and their habitat. We recognize that climate change, biodiversity loss, contamination of water, soil and air with pesticides and other toxics, and many other environmental challenges have disproportionate negative impacts on communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities.

Invertebrate diversity is vital to sustain life on this planet. Having invertebrates to pollinate nutritious food, process plant and animal waste, help clean our rivers and feed the myriad animals on the planet will help us all. The benefits of conserving invertebrates truly help everyone – no matter their gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, education or disability. The inverse is also true – to maximize invertebrate conservation, all of society needs to have a role. The conservation of invertebrates will take an all hands on deck approach and it is vital that diverse communities benefit from this conservation and engage to help protect these vital animals.

The Xerces Society embraces diversity in staffing and in our program services. At the Xerces Society, a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace is one where all employees and volunteers, regardless of their gender identity, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, education or disability, feel valued and respected. We are committed to a nondiscriminatory approach and provide equal opportunity for employment and advancement. We respect and value diverse life experiences and heritages, and work to ensure that all voices are valued and heard. The Xerces Society will strive to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in our conservation and education programs.

As part of building a diverse and inclusive community in both our organization and conservation and education programs, the Xerces Society strives to:

● Ensure that all staff members feel that they are critical members of the Xerces Society community.
● Support diversity, inclusion, and equity as connected to our mission and to ensure the well-being of our staff and the communities we serve.
● Acknowledge and dismantle any inequities within our policies, systems, programs, and services.
● Step back to listen to all voices.
● Engage and include as broad a constituency as possible.
● Always collaborate with fairness and respect.
● Identify potential underlying, unquestioned biases that interfere with inclusiveness.
● Assess how past and present systemic inequities might affect Xerces work, and how best to address these inequities in a way that is consistent with our mission.
● Hold ourselves accountable for the ways that our actions both actively and passively reinforce inequities.

The Xerces Society is moving forward with the following action plans to help promote diversity and inclusion in our workplace and in our program services:

● Attracting, hiring and retaining a diverse and multi-culturally sensitive staff and board.
● Improving employee satisfaction and engagement by building a work culture of trust, support, cultural sensitivity, respect and inclusion.
● Applying an equity lens in planning and implementation of conservation initiatives.
● Connecting with, and building a diverse base of, supporters and funders who will help us to achieve our mission.
● Furthering the mission of Xerces by reaching, educating, and engaging a broad range of communities where the outcome is mutually beneficial for the conservation of invertebrates and the relationships built within those communities.