UNH Hosts Pollinator Conservation Research Field Day July 30

Monday, June 24, 2019

Bee in wildflower meadow

Neal has conducted nearly 10 years of wildflower meadow trials at the experiment station’s Woodman Horticultural Research Farm. Credit: Cathy Neal/UNH

DURHAM, N.H.—Interested in creating a wildflower meadow to support New Hampshire’s native pollinators? Come and learn fun, effective and beautiful ways to enhance the local habitat and bring back pollinators Tuesday, July 30, 2019, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station’s Woodman Horticultural Research Farm, 70 Spinney Lane, at the University of New Hampshire. The event is free and open to the public.

“The interest in helping pollinators has been astounding,” said Cathy Neal, researcher with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station and landscape horticulture specialist with Cooperative Extension. “There are literally hundreds of pollinator gardens and habitats that have been installed in New Hampshire alone in the last few years.”

Pollinators are essential for most of the fruit and vegetable crops produced in New England. The value of pollination to agriculture is estimated at more than $200 billion a year worldwide. However, the abundance of and diversity of pollinators are declining in landscapes across the United States.

In addition, maintaining a robust and diverse natural environment requires healthy populations of pollinators. New Hampshire has a rich diversity of native bees that provide pollination services, often more efficiently than managed colonies of honey bees. However, habitat loss associated with land use changes is one of the leading threats to pollinators, along with climate change. Neal’s research focuses on how we can best provide safe habitat and a healthy food supply for native bees and other pollinators in gardens, fields, and neighborhoods.

Highlights of the field day include:

Research Field Tour
Neal will share results from 10 years of research on wildflower meadow establishment, from site preparation to long-term maintenance. Staff from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation will help visitors identify native bees and discuss their habitat needs.

Connecting the Dots for Pollinator Conservation: From the Big Picture to the Backyard and the Back 40
Mace Vaughan, co-director, Pollinator Conservation and Agricultural Biodiversity Program, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, will discuss the efforts by which citizens, farmers, gardeners, researchers and others are banding together to turn around the declines in pollinators.  

Expert Panel Discussion
A panel of experts from the Xerces Society, NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will address local policy issues and assistance available for private landowners. They also will provide updates on the N.H. Pollinator Plan, the 2019 legislative Bee Bill, cost share programs, and other efforts to conserve and protect pollinators at the local, state, and national levels.

Attendees are asked to register by calling (603) 862-3200 or online at https://unh.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_diH2eqJogBRfphb.

This material is based upon work supported by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, through joint funding of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 1010449, and the state of New Hampshire. This event is sponsored by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, UNH Cooperative Extension, Xerces Society, and the Ecological Landscape Alliance, with support from the USDA Northeast Climate Hub.

Founded in 1887, the NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture is UNH’s original research center and an elemental component of New Hampshire's land-grant university heritage and mission.

The University of New Hampshire inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top-ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. As one of the nation’s highest-performing research universities, UNH partners with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, and receives more than $110 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space. 

Editor's Notes: 


Neal has conducted nearly 10 years of wildflower meadow trials at the experiment station’s Woodman Horticultural Research Farm. Credit: Cathy Neal/UNH

Neal has been evaluating the relative attractiveness of new varieties of old standards such as purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, a common garden perennial. Credit: Cathy Neal/UNH