As native bees struggle alongside European honey bees for survival, their reduced numbers put natural ecosystems and agricultural systems at risk. And bees are not the only pollinators that are suffering. Beetles, butterflies, ants, birds, and bats all help with pollination and all are experiencing environmental stresses. In response, landscape professionals and concerned homeowners across the country are learning more about the habitat needs of all pollinators – and using that knowledge to make planting decisions.
Join ELA to learn from four pollinator experts what we can do to support pollinators. Program schedule below.
A landscape rich with a diversity of flowering plants is both beautiful and helps support the thousands of species of bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinating insects we have in the U.S. However, planning your pollinator-friendly landscape does not end with your plant list. With the help of research findings from Mt. Cuba Center, you can better understand the ecological value of native plants in the landscape. Mt. Cuba Center’s research also evaluates plants to determine if there are differences in the nutritional value of pollen and nectar among different native species and cultivars of plants. Delve into research aimed at improving pollinator support in built landscapes.
Sam Hoadley is the Horticultural Research Manager at Mt. Cuba Center. His work includes evaluating native plant species, old and new cultivars, as well as hybrids in Mt Cuba’s Trial Garden. Using data collected and analyzed over a three-year period a research report is published outlining top preforming plants for the Mid-Atlantic region. This information is designed to inform consumers and home gardeners as well as professionals in the horticultural and nursery industries about the ecological benefits and attributes of the native plants in our trials. Current genera on trial include Carex, Echinacea, Hydrangea arborescens, and Helenium. Sam received his degree in Sustainable Landscape Horticulture from the University of Vermont and has always maintained a strong passion for plants and the horticultural world.
To attract birdlife into the landscape and gardens, plant more native trees, shrubs, and perennials. Native plants have co-evolved for millions of years with the native birds and form the foundation of a healthy North American ecosystem. By adding more native plants to the landscape, everyone can do their part to support pollinators of all types while also supporting breeding and migratory bird populations imperiled by habitat loss and climate change.
Connie Schmotzer works as the Consumer Horticulture Educator for Penn State Extension in York County, PA, where she coordinates the Master Gardener Program and the Mid-Atlantic Ecological Landscaping partnership (MAEscapes). Since 2011 she has taken leadership of the statewide Master Gardener pollinator monitoring program, and the Penn State Pollinator Friendly Garden Certification program. She also spearheaded a large pollinator trial at Penn State’s Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center, trialing 84 varieties of native plants. Connie has a B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA and did graduate work at Montana State University.
Entomologist and pollinator-conservation specialist Kelly Gill presents plant suggestions and landscape practices In Support of Pollinators. The layout of your gardens, layout of your plants, and your maintenance practices all affect pollinators. Here is a set of considerations for choosing the best types of plants for pollinators, plus how to use them to create the best pollinator sanctuary possible.
Kelly Gill is a Pollinator Conservation Specialist for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, an international nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. In her dual role, she is also a partner biologist, based in New Jersey, with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Kelly, who completed her Masters in Entomology at Iowa State, provides technical support for planning, installing, and managing pollinator habitat across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States. She also conducts research aimed at the development of best practices for conserving beneficial insects in agricultural landscapes.
Bees require both food sources and good habitat to thrive. Native bees are ubiquitous, occurring in all landscapes, often in surprisingly large numbers, without anyone aware that they are even present. Unlike honey bees, and the social wasps such as yellow jackets and hornets, most native bees do not defend their nests and rarely sting.
Wildlife biologist, Sam Droege, will explain how simple landscape choices and landscape maintenance practices can encourage or discourage native bee populations.
Sam Droege is a Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and has spent most of his career at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. He has coordinated the North American Breeding Bird Survey Program, developed the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, the BioBlitz, Cricket Crawl, and FrogwatchUSA programs and worked on the design and evaluation of monitoring programs. Currently he is developing an inventory and monitoring program for native bees, creating online identification guides for North American bees at www.discoverlife.org, and with Jessica Zelt reviving the North American Bird Phenology Program. His group maintains high resolution photographs of insects and other macro natural history objects at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml. Sam is also the author of Bees: An Up-Close Look at Pollinators Around the World. He holds a B.S. from University of Maryland and an M.S. from State University of New York – Syracuse.