Say “insect” and you may be referring to a group of one million known species, each with a unique and indispensable role in keeping our planet healthy. Insects and other invertebrates such as snails and spiders are a stunning 96 percent of known animal species. This staggering abundance is precisely why our founder, Robert Michael Pyle, called the work of the Xerces Society “the biggest job in the world.”
To help so many invertebrates, we need many advocates. Xerces has grown to be the largest invertebrate conservation organization in the world, reaching 85 staff, yet that still leaves us working at a ratio of one staff member per 20,000 known invertebrate species.
We are at a crossroads with the state of the planet. There is much we can do individually to protect and restore insect diversity and abundance. When you make your landscape a haven for invertebrates, this in turn helps other wildlife such as birds and fish, makes landscapes more resilient to climate change, and keeps carbon in the ground. We can also make changes to the way we live. Buying sustainable food, limiting travel, and eating less meat can make a difference. That said, as individuals we cannot fix the planet on our own. It is imperative that we work together as this task is too great for any one person.
Xerces depends on partnerships with people, agencies and other organizations to succeed in our invertebrate conservation efforts. All people have a role to play in this critical work. Our partnerships are driving meaningful conservation. Here are just a few examples:
- Working with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has led to restoration of over 1.5 million acres on agricultural lands.
- By engaging with tens of thousands of community scientists, we are acquiring vital information on how best to conserve bumble bees, fireflies and monarchs.
- By partnering with elected officials and advocates in cities and towns across the US, we have helped enact laws and policies that minimize the impact of pesticides on pollinators and other wildlife in 46 municipalities.
- We have helped 370 cities and campuses become more environmentally friendly through our Bee City USA outreach.
- Through collaboration with a variety of federal, state and local agencies we have protected habitat for species like freshwater mussels, bumble bees, fireflies, butterflies and so much more.
Scott Black, Director