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Workshop explores native pollinators

Missouri

Farmers, conservationists, gardeners and others can learn about native pollinators at an Aug. 13 workshop at the University of Missouri Bradford Research and Extension Center near Columbia.

Many plants, including vital food crops such as soybeans and fruits, depend on insect pollination. Many of these crops are pollinated by managed and wild hives of non--native honeybees. However, honeybee populations in the U.S. have sharply declined in recent years.

"While losing European honeybees may result in reduction of fruit or crop production, during this workshop participants will learn that other insects are also involved in pollination, especially native bees," said workshop organizer Nadia Navarrete--Tindall, native plant Extension specialist at Lincoln University's Native Plants Program.

The workshop will include a tour of native plant gardens and research plots at Bradford Farm. Following the workshop will be a tour of a restored prairie near Fulton, Mo.

Representatives of federal, state and nongovernmental organizations will talk about the importance and biology of native pollinators in urban, rural and natural areas. Participants will learn native bee identification and how to create habitat for pollinators.

The workshop is aimed at producers, farmers, Extension and research specialists, educators, master naturalists, master gardeners, conservationists and anyone interested in learning about native pollinators, Navarrete--Tindall said.

The workshop runs 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The prairie tour is 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Registration starts at 8 a.m.

Program blocks include:

--The importance of pollinators: Pollination economics and the role of native bees in commercial crop production; pollination biology; colony collapse disorder; honeybee industry trends.

--Basic bee biology: Bee identification and natural and artificial pollinator nest sites.

--Habitat restoration for pollinators: Habitat design, plant selection and seed sources; planting techniques for native wildflowers.Registration is $15 per person and includes lunch, refreshments, native seed and educational materials. For a registration form and additional information, see www.lincolnu.edu/pages/3084.asp?item=3057 or contact Navarrete--Tindall at 573--681--5392 or navarrete--tindalln@lincoln.edu. Registration deadline is Aug. 6.



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