from the field


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

Published on

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 …