Researchers, Conservationists, and Agencies Meet to Discuss Pollinator Conservation in Minnesota and Wisconsin For Immediate Release, August 9th, 2010 Contact: Eric Mader, Assistant Pollinator Program Director, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, (503) 232-6639, or firstname.lastname@example.org
EAU CLAIRE, WIS -- Regional bee and butterfly researchers, conservation groups, government agencies, and local farm organizations are meeting this week at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire to discuss pollinator conservation issues in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Pollinators such as honey bees, thousands of native bee species, butterflies, and even bats are essential to the reproduction of roughly 70 percent of the world's flowering plants, including an estimated $20 billion a year of U.S. crops. For example, in Minnesota and Wisconsin, cranberries, apples, blueberries, pumpkins, and biofuel crops like canola, all depend upon animal pollinators. Despite their critical importance, many pollinators have declined in recent years due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and in the case of honey bees, the phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder.This meeting, hosted and moderated by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, is the first step in developing a comprehensive regional blueprint of pollinator conservation priorities. This blueprint will provide guidance to agencies, researchers, and conservation groups, helping them more effectively take action to protect pollinators. Some of the issues to be discussed include enhanced monitoring of at-risk species, reducing pesticide use, the restoration of pollinator habitat in agricultural lands, and the creation of native wildflower plantings along highway rights-of-way. "This meeting is an effort to build dialog between regional stakeholders," said Eric Mader, Assistant Pollinator Program Director at the Xerces Society, a non-profit conservation group named after the extinct Xerces blue butterfly. "We hope to identify knowledge gaps and better understand the most significant conservation concerns facing pollinators, and to explore opportunities for collaboration on research initiatives and public education." Meeting participants include faculty researchers from the Universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota, staff from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, state departments of natural resources and departments of agriculture, as well as farm organizations like the Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, and the National Honey Bee Advisory Board. Following the initial meeting on Wednesday, August 11, event organizers will develop a report summarizing their recommendations for state and federal policy makers. *Learn More about The Xerces Society's Pollinator Conservation Program<http://www.xerces.org/pollinator-conservation/>* OUR MISSION <http://www.xerces.org/mission/> The Xerces Society is an nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Established in 1971, the Society is at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs.