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2018 Pollinator Summit

Colorado Pollinator Summit - Building Living Landscapes

The third annual Colorado Pollinator Summit convened by the Colorado Pollinator Network brings together nationally and regionally recognized pollinator experts to present and discuss strategies for protecting and managing land to support pollinators in Colorado. This Summit is designed for organizations, agencies, businesses, professionals, educators, growers, land managers, researchers and volunteers actively working to conserve and protect pollinators and their habitats.

Colorado Pollinator Network was established in 2016, with a mission to bring organizations together to work collaboratively to conserve, protect and create pollinator habitat while educating communities across the state of Colorado to protect our pollinators. The Network allows for organizations and individuals throughout Colorado to collaborate to make a positive impact on the health of our state pollinators. This group shares information about the best practices, resources and knowledge to support education initiatives, conservation, restoration and creation of habitat and research on pollinators in the state.


$40, includes all programming and lunch



Plenary Session


9:15-10 a.m.

Living Landscapes for Human Health and Wellbeing

Since ancient times, people believed that nature held restorative power, and this belief helped drive the development of our great urban park systems in the 19th century. At the same time, the industrial revolution relied on a functional view that the value of nature consists of the material resources we extract. This talk shares a burgeoning new field of research that has come into its own with the beginning of the 21st century. Accumulating evidence reveals that our health relies on the natural world for more than material goods: We require elements of nature like trees and gardens around us for multiple dimensions of our happiness and the performance of daily tasks. A number of studies show that people benefit from biodiversity, specifically, in their surroundings. This evidence challenges us to rethink how we communicate the value of pollinators and the living landscapes on which we, as well as other species, depend for our wellbeing.


10-10:45 a.m.

The Natural History of Colorado s Native Bees: Informing conservation through ecological research

Native bees are arguably some of Colorado s most important pollinators and while they have captured the attention of both scientists and citizens alike, remain somewhat poorly understood. Because native bees are extremely diverse, their conservation poses a multifaceted problem, requiring a great deal of knowledge about not only their diversity, but also their biologies, natural histories and distributions. Fortunately, with one of the most diverse bee faunas in the US, Colorado has a long history of research on native bee ecology, evolution and diversity. However, comprehensive studies on bee communities across space and time in Colorado are rare and make determining the status of local bee community dynamics difficult.

Dr. Adrian Carper, studying Colorado s native bees through the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, has a unique view into the role of research in pollinator conservation here in Colorado. He will review some of the history of Colorado bee research, identify areas in need of future research and summarize his contemporary research aimed at understanding how human land-use practices impact wild bee communities. In addition, he will use examples from his and other research to explore how building ecological knowledge, both within the scientific community and the public, can help inform wild bee conservation in Colorado and beyond.


11-11:45 a.m.

Designing for Diversity with Urban Pollinators

Much of the current momentum behind saving the bees is directed towards honey bees; they are the poster child for the bee movement, but only represent a small portion of our bees. With 950+ species in Colorado alone, we need to diversify our efforts, especially in urban areas where the diversity of pollinator habitat brings additional benefits to many ecosystems. Cities are a mosaic, and our integrative efforts must account for existing land uses of all types, including underutilized parts of the city. This summer, CU Boulder ENVD students installed the first of many parking lot habitats for native bees on city lots, and are testing theories to derive best management and planting practices. This talk will cover why parking lots can be a turning point for pollinator habitat, transferable practices any city can engage in, the necessity of partnerships and media, and how innovative curriculum adaptations are helping to change the landscape of academia and practice.


11:45-12:30 p.m.

Colorado State Agency Panel   Building Pollinator Habitat on State Lands

As the second largest landowner next to the federal government, there is great potential to manage Colorado state-owned lands in a way that protects and enhances habitat for pollinators. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Parks & Wildlife (CPW) are innovating approaches to pollinator habitat management by revising policies, maintenance practices and by building public private partnerships. Learn about this important work, including a special report on the pilot I-76 Pollinator Highway planting project in Julesburg from state department leaders Michael Banovich, CDOT Landscape Architecture Section Manager, Madeleine West, DNR Deputy Director and a representative of CPW.


Breakout Session Panels

1:30-3 p.m.


Planting the Seeds of Change: Educating stewards of tomorrow

To increase awareness of pollinators and their importance in our lives, it is necessary to connect with audiences of all ages through diverse forms of outreach. These speakers share effective ways to excite people about pollinators in schools, museums and their own yards.

  • Louise Chawla, Ph.D, University of Colorado - Moderator
  • Rebecca Coon, Exhibit and Program Developer, University of Colorado Museum of Natural History
  • Jessica Goldstrohm, Owner and Head Educator, The Bees Waggle
  • Chrissy Maedke, Teacher, Gold Hill School
  • Lisa Mason, Ph.D., Extension Agent - Horticulture, CSU Extension, Arapahoe County


Crafting Pollinator Habitats: Building living landscapes

Landscapes big or small, urban or rural, can support pollinators. The key is to design, plant and maintain pollinator habitats so that they sustainably thrive over time. These speakers all have experience incorporating habitat for pollinators and other wildlife in a variety of environments and can share insights to ensure your pollinator habitat project is a success.

  • Amy Yarger, Horticulture Director, Butterfly Pavilion - Moderator
  • Susan Hansen, NRCS, Lamar, CO, United States Department of Agriculture
  • Jim Tolstrup, Executive Director, High Plains Environmental Center
  • John Vickery, Colorado Native Plant Society
  • Kate Hogan,Community Outreach, Denver Audubon


Creating Change at the Local Level: Policy from the ground up

Local governments and universities manage large amounts of land and each organization has its own approach. Learn how Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder and the University of Denver promote biodiversity, protect natural lands, create urban habitat and encourage the public to interact with nature. Panelists will share pollinator-protection practices and programs and discuss how local residents and grassroots organizations can support and join local efforts. Come away with ideas about how you can make a difference in your own community.

  • Rella Abernathy, Ph.D., City of Boulder - Moderator
  • BeeChicas, Education and Outreach, Boulder, CO
  • Justin Scharton, Senior Environmental Planner, Nature in the City Program Manager, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas
  • Kelly Uhing, Program Manager, Denver Parks, Natural Resources Operations
  • Julie Morris, Ph.D., Teaching Associate Professor, University of Denver

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