from the field
Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – June 2019
Published on June 27, 2019
June’s featured staff share their work with inspiring partners spanning large-scale agriculture, to family farms, to a unique urban agriculture fellowship program. These stories are from all across the country, from central Washington, to Wisconsin, to Virginia.
Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – May 2019
Published on May 30, 2019
May’s featured staff share stories of building pollinator habitat that will also support monarchs—one project on a farm in Iowa, and the other in a park in Missouri.
Reflecting on a Multi-Year Conservation Biological Control Project
Published on May 9, 2019
From 2015–2019, the Xerces Society brought a series of 61 day-long courses on conservation biological control to 49 states and 2,000 participants, with far-ranging results.
Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – April 2019
Published on April 30, 2019
April’s featured staff are all Farm Bill Pollinator Conservation Planners, and are spread across the country—driving the adoption of cover cropping in California, guiding blueberry farmers to become more pollinator-friendly in Maine, and raising awareness of the importance of rangeland for pollinator conservation in North Dakota.
Bee Better Certified Engages the Almond Industry
Published on April 22, 2019
With a robust set of requirements on pesticide use and the highest standards for protecting and restoring pollinator habitat of any food certification, Bee Better Certified represents a new era in biodiversity protection on farms—and what better time to celebrate this program’s growth than during Earth Week?
Photo Essay: Trinational Monarch Meeting and Exploring Mexico’s Monarch Overwintering Sites
Published on March 7, 2019
Xerces Society Endangered Species Conservation Biologist and Western Monarch Lead Emma Pelton recounts her recent experience in Mexico with this photo essay.
Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – February 2019
Published on February 25, 2019
February’s featured staff member has been working on a hedgerow featuring diverse native species in North Carolina.
Cedaroak Park Primary School Gardens Offer Learning Opportunities
Published on February 11, 2019
Being assigned to create an interpretive panel for Cedaroak Park Primary School, where I attended grade school, was a special experience.
New Year’s Count of Western Monarchs Confirms Decline, Trends Seen in Previous Years
Published on February 5, 2019
Overall, the count data revealed an average decrease of 38% between the Thanksgiving and New Year’s counts.
Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – January 2019
Published on January 28, 2019
January’s featured staff have been working on establishing pollinator habitat with a multi-year hedgerow project in California’s Central Valley; and, in Maine, collaborating with a diverse array of partners and stakeholders to both facilitate habitat restoration for native bees and navigate the ins and outs of the Endangered Species Act.
Monarch Butterflies in Western North America in Jeopardy
Published on January 17, 2019
Population of monarchs overwintering in California at lowest level ever recorded Media Contacts: Emma Pelton, Endangered Species Conservation Biologist; email@example.com, (971) 533-7245 Sarina Jepsen, Endangered Species Program Director; firstname.lastname@example.org, (971) 244-3727 PORTLAND, Ore.; Thursday, 1/17/19—The population of monarch butterflies overwintering in California has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded. Surveys done by volunteers with Read more …
Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – December 2018
Published on December 17, 2018
December’s featured staff hail from Iowa and Minnesota, and have been making significant impacts in their respective states by educating farmers and other members of the public, helping to restore and build new habitat, and pushing for policies that support pollinators and other beneficial insects.
Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – November 2018
Published on December 3, 2018
November’s featured staff hail from Minnesota, Indiana, and California, and have been conducting training and outreach events, helping General Mills to implement their plan to plant 3,300 acres of pollinator habitat, and monitoring farm habitat plantings in the San Joaquin Valley.
Early Thanksgiving Counts Show a Critically Low Monarch Population in California
Published on November 29, 2018
The California overwintering population has been reduced to less than 0.5% of its historical size, and has declined by 86% compared to 2017. While western monarchs are facing unprecedented challenges right now, there is still hope that we can recover the population if we work quickly, strategically, and together.
Western Monarch Numbers Expected to Be Low this Year
Published on November 15, 2018
You may be asking “What can I do to help the monarch?” Besides protecting habitat, avoiding pesticide use, and planting gardens, another way is to contribute monarch and milkweed data to Xerces-led citizen science efforts—namely, the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count and the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper.
Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – October 2018
Published on October 23, 2018
Select updates from our team of restoration ecologists, entomologists, plant ecologists, and researchers.
Unblinded by Science
Published on April 13, 2018
The Xerces Society has become well-known for our publications, trainings, and for the acres of habitat we’ve worked to protect and restore. What is often less visible is the scientific work our staff are engaged in which underpins these efforts. More than two-thirds of our staff are scientists with diverse backgrounds and expertise, who are Read more …
Autumn Pollinators in Oklahoma
Published on November 14, 2017
In my opinion, the best time to be in Oklahoma is late summer and fall. The huge number of bees and butterflies visiting our flowers provides endless enjoyment to pollinator watchers like my kids and I. This fall, I’ve spent my free time rearing and tagging monarchs and looking for nectar plants that monarchs prefer Read more …
From the Field: New Meadow Blooms at Cascadian Farm
Nestled in the foothills of the breathtaking North Cascades mountain range in western Washington’s Upper Skagit Valley, Cascadian Farm is now even more beautiful with the addition of a showy new meadow. Working with farm director Ashley Minnerath and farmer Clay Godbolt, Xerces designed the 1/4 acre meadow and site preparation process using only organic Read more …
Going Beyond the Bloom: Don’t Be Just A Flower-Weather Friend
Published on November 10, 2017
As cooler temperatures sweep across the Northeast, it can be easy to put thoughts of blooms, bees, and butterflies to bed until next spring. I think we can agree that many of us reserve visits to meadows, gardens, and other flower-rich habitats for warm, sunny days, so we can enjoy the diversity and beauty of Read more …
New Research Confirms Decline in Western Freshwater Mussels
Published on October 27, 2017
When we talk about native freshwater mussels (not the invasive zebra mussels you’ve heard so much about), we often start by mentioning how obscure they are, that they look like rocks and live in places where they go largely unseen. It’s true that freshwater mussels aren’t as showy as butterflies, or as celebrated as bees, Read more …
Searching for Skippers on Oregon’s Wild Southwest Coast
Published on October 18, 2017
The Southern Oregon coast is a wild place. Situated at the convergence of the Coast Range and the Klamath-Siskiyous, this corner of the state is widely regarded as one of the country’s biodiversity hotspots. Puffin-dotted sea stacks and agate beaches quickly give way to a tangle of madrone, hemlock, and oak marching upward into thick Read more …
Re-Flowering the Valley
Published on October 13, 2017
This article originally appeared in our Spring 2017 issue of Wings Magazine When he visited California in the late 1800s, John Muir encountered a remarkable sight: “At my feet lay the Great Central Valley of California, level and flowery, like a lake of pure sunshine, forty or fifty miles wide, five hundred miles long, one Read more …
Striking Gold in Suburbia
Published on August 25, 2017
With a daughter who is active in lacrosse, I find myself spending a lot of time hanging around sports fields, whiling away hours as she practices. Recently at such a practice, I wandered the field edges of a suburban high school, looking for signs of insect life. We’d been to this school before and I’d Read more …
The Secret Life of a Mistletoe Butterfly
Published on August 11, 2017
It’s the summer of 2009, and I’m slowly meandering down a shady Forest Service road, butterfly net in hand and royal blue hard hat on my head. Suddenly, I see a flicker of movement near a small puddle just ahead. I freeze, and then slowly start to creep forward. A few calculated (and then not Read more …
Small Farms, Big Impact: Pollinator Habitat in the Midwest
Published on June 23, 2017
This article originally appeared in our Spring 2017 issue of Wings – available here “Prairie!” Just that one word in the subject line of an email from Erin, a Minnesota vegetable farmer with whom I am working, and I knew it was going to be a great message. The email itself was a series of photographs Read more …
Obligate Mutualism Blooms in the Desert
Published on April 18, 2017
Tikaboo Valley, Nevada. Home of the Extraterrestrial Highway, the infamous black mailbox, UFO seekers, cattle ranchers, and desert wanderers. Nestled between three mountain ranges and notorious Area 51, Tikaboo is also home to those bizarre Mojave residents known as Joshua trees. These spiky, Dr. Seuss-like plants provide critical food, moisture, and refuge to an incredible Read more …
Conservation Innovation Grant Studies Farming With Native Beneficial Insects
Published on January 13, 2017
Note: This article was written and published by the USDA NRCS. The original article may be downloaded here: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/PA_NRCSConsumption/download?cid=nrcseprd1288409&ext=pdf The Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. Read more …
$4 Million to Help Pollinator Habitat!
Published on December 1, 2016
On Wednesday, November 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and General Mills announced that they were together making a five-year, $4 million financial commitment to support the creation and protection of pollinator habitat on America’s farmlands. Thanks to this funding, the Xerces Society will add six pollinator conservation specialists, who will work jointly with the Read more …
Monarch & Milkweed Workshops Engage Public Land Managers in Western States
Published on July 20, 2016
The Xerces Society recently held two workshops in Washington and Idaho to train regional land managers, including staff from state fish and wildlife agencies and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), in surveying for monarchs and milkweed in western states and learning about conservation of the western monarch. The workshops are a part of Read more …
Farm by Farm: 150 Pollinator Habitat Projects
Published on June 20, 2016
Ensuring that pollinators and other beneficial insects have safe, high-quality habitat has been the cornerstone of the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Program over the last two decades. Xerces has built a team of experts that work tirelessly toward this goal across a range of landscapes, including gardens, roadsides, parks, golf courses, and natural areas, but Read more …
Surprises in the Field: Discovering a New Population of a Bog-Associated Butterfly
Published on December 22, 2015
One of the greatest thrills of fieldwork is finding an unexpected or undescribed species at a field site. As a conservation biologist who studies invertebrates, I probably get more than my fair share of new encounters. The numbers are certainly in my favor: invertebrates make up over 90 percent of all known animal species on Read more …
Xerces Goes Island Hopping for Bees
Published on September 24, 2015
How do you restore a 50-acre native wildflower meadow for bees on an island in the middle of the Columbia River? It’s simple. Working with the Port of Portland, and seed company Pacific Northwest Natives, we loaded up a barge with a tractor, a truck, a drill seeder, hundreds of pounds of seed, and half Read more …
How Farmers Are Doing Their Part to Bring Back the Pollinators: A California Case Study
Published on June 27, 2015
It all started with a question: What can large-scale food production and labeling operations do to help pollinators? The Importance of Habitat There are a lot of ways for all of us to help bees, but farmers are in a unique position to make a huge impact. There are over 100 pollinator-dependent crops grown in Read more …
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