In February 2017, we brought in four guests for a symposium on Sustaining Pollinators - our first ever Lear-Conant Symposium. Our title, "Sustaining Pollinators," was a double entendre: we wanted to spend the day learning about how pollinators sustain us, but also what we can do to help sustain the pollinators that we depend on.
Alexandra Harmon-Threatt, an entomologist and ecologist at the University of Illinois, spoke about her research on prairie restoration, and how to design restoration projects that are maximally beneficial for pollinators. Rachael Winfree, a pollinator researcher at Rutgers University, shared some of her findings about pollinator diversity and what it means for agricultural crops. Sam Droege, who works with the US Geological Survey, described his experience trying to set up a native bee inventory and monitoring program. Droege is also an incredible photographer, and we enjoyed some exquisite images of bees. Finally, Simon Potts, Director of the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research at the University of Reading, UK, brought an international perspective on pollinator conservation strategies. Potts was a contributor to a major recent report on pollinators by the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). It was an intense day, capped off by a panel discussion and a banquet. Thanks to our fabulous guests, as well as support from friends on campus and beyond, the symposium was a wonderful success. We especially appreciate having so many guests from New London and Southeastern Connecticut.
Left to right: Alexandra Harmon-Threatt, Simon Potts, Sam Droege, Center Director Jane Dawson, Associate Director Derek Turner, Rachael Winfree