Providing Habitat for Wild Bees on Organic Farms

This webinar took place on February 7, 2017

About the Webinar

Habitats on organic farms—whether hedgerows, wind breaks, filter strips, fallow fields, crops in rotation and other areas—can provide conservation opportunities for insect pollinators, and as a result, valuable pollination services to the farmer. This webinar will look at habitat augmentation techniques useful for both wild bee conservation and the promotion of pollination services, with special attention to native plant selection and installation, experimental ground nest preparation, and cavity-nest construction. Knowing what to plant relies on having knowledge of wild bee communities and their services.

The webinar is applicable to organic farmers and the general public who would like to plan habitat augmentations in diverse organic production systems. Plant information will lean on the Pacific Lowland/ Mixed Forest ecoregion, and will include referrals for other resources nationally.

This webinar is part of the USDA NIFA OREI funded research project: Promoting native bee health and pollination services on organic fruit and vegetable farms, led by David Crowder of Washington State University.

Past webinars on this topic, which you may wish to watch before this webinar, are available at the following links.

About the Presenters

Elias Bloom is a PhD candidate in Entomology in the lab of Dr. David Crowder and Washington State University. His current research at Washington State University seeks to evaluate the bee species of small, diverse, farms of western Washington, and develop techniques for augmenting habitat. Bloom works extensively with local and regional non-for-profits, urban gardening associations, and small holder farmers. His areas of expertise include organic farming and plant propagation, but his research primarily focuses on bee community ecology and community engagement.

Rachel Olsson is an Entomology Ph.D. student studying bumblebee health and the behavioral interactions between various bee groups. Originally from Olympia, WA, Rachel graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2014 with dual BA/BS degrees focused on community food system development and plant protection sciences.

Bridget McNassar is Manager of the Native Plant Nursery at Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center. Oxbow hired Bridget to launch the Native Plant Nursery in 2013, with the mission of heightening awareness of the importance of native plants and increasing their availability throughout our region. Bridget has built up the native plant inventory to its current size of about 50,000 plants representing over 120 different species. She heads a small nursery operations team and provides technical leadership in Oxbow’s restoration and conservation research and practice. Bridget holds an MS degree in natural resources and has substantial experience in plant ecology and forestry research. Before entering her Master’s program at University of Idaho, Bridget taught middle school science Enumclaw, WA.

Published November 17, 2016

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.