SAVE THE DATE: 2017 QUAD CITIES POLLINATOR CONFERENCE
RiverCenter, Davenport, IA | September 13-14, 2017
Wednesday, September 13 from 1-8:30 p.m. (Optional pre-conference workshops in the morning from 8:30-11:30 a.m.)
Thursday, September 14 from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Dinner Keynote: Dr. Doug Tallamy, Chair of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware and “Bringing Nature Home” Author.
With planning committee members from Nahant Marsh; Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever; Rock Island Soil and Water Conservation District; Scott County Soil and Water Conservation District; Trees Forever; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Wallace’s Garden Center.
Recorded sessions are now available online from our sponsor, WVIK. Click here!
Coordinated by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Nahant Marsh Education Center, Rock Island County Soil & Water Conservation District and Scott County Conservation Board, the 2016 Pollinator Conference was geared toward the agricultural community; municipal, state and federal government employees; landowners; homeowners and urban dwellers; beekeepers; students; and educators.
In total, 38 businesses and organizations sponsored the 2016 event, which saw over 275 people in attendance on Thursday, and 120 on Friday for the pollinator habitat tours. Attendees came from 11 states: Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin.
Two nationally-recognized monarch experts were featured this year, Karen Oberhauser, Ph.D., Monarch Joint Venture, Professor, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota provided the opening keynote and Orley R. “Chip” Taylor, Ph.D., Founder and Director of Monarch Watch, Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas provided the luncheon keynote, both on Thursday.
Popular Thursday breakout sessions included “Lessons Learned: 29 Years of Restoring High Diversity Tallgrass Prairie” by Cody Considine, Restoration Ecologist at Nachusa Grasslands; “Getting Started: Inside a Beehive for Beginning Beekeepers” by local beekeeper, Ron Fisher; “Native Butterflies and Moths as Pollinators: Their Identification, Host Plants and Nectar Sources” by Dr. Paul Mays from Eastern Iowa Community Colleges- Muscatine; and “Plants, Pollinators and People in the Residential Landscape” by Dr. Donald R. Lewis, Extension Entomologist, from Iowa State University.
In an effort to encourage younger generations to become involved, we held a video contest this year for middle and high school students, asking them to answer the question, “Why are pollinators important?” Nearly 70 submissions were received. Our grand-prize winner, Shraesht Dacha from Bettendorf Middle School, was awarded $1,000 for his school to fund pollinator projects and activities. Both of the runner-up awardees, Vincent Freiburg from Rock Island High School, and Andrew Ericksen and Isaac Blandin from St. Joseph Catholic School, received $500 for each of their schools. Additionally, the “Busy Bee” award was presented to Bettendorf Middle School teacher, Kevin Roling, who showed great initiative towards helping pollinators- having his entire class work on creating videos. He was awarded a seed pack from our sponsor, Cardno, valued at $100.
The second day consisted of a morning of scheduled tours around the Quad City area, visiting successful pollinator habitats. Two tours were offered, one in Illinois, visiting Valley Nature Preserve (Moline), Deere & Company World Headquarters (Moline), and Illiniwek Forest Preserve (Hampton), and the other in Iowa, to see Von Maur E-Commerce Center (Davenport), Spin Williams’ Farm and Kerry Meyers’ Farm (Stockton) and the Wapsi River Environmental Education (Dixon).
Upon review of the overwhelmingly positive evaluations for both days, the 2017 conference will incorporate more interactive, hands-on sessions and less time in classroom-style presentations. An additional change will be the month in which we offer the conference. We have not confirmed a date yet, but are looking at September 12-13 or 19-20 as we focus on “Natural Areas for Native Species.”
We will continue to organize these conferences as long as the information is relevant and the content is impactful. For the 43% response rate from Thursday presentation evaluations, 57% of attendees strongly agreed and 40% agreed that they had increased their knowledge regarding pollinator decline. Of respondents, 57% strongly agreed and 34% agreed that their knowledge of behavior changes that can benefit pollinators had increased. One attendee on the Illinois tour on Friday remarked, “It was fun to observe the life happening in the wild prairie preserves. I never knew how important it is for our own health and survival to have this type of growth and vegetation for pollinators. Hopefully one day it will be a part of everyone’s landscape at home.”
We consider the 2016 conference to have been a great success!
The views and opinions of the presenters and those expressed in the student video entries at the conference are solely theirs and not those of the conference organizers.
If you are interested in attending or sponsoring the 2017 conference, please contact Lindsey Kennedy: firstname.lastname@example.org, 563.336.3374.