Colorado Pollinator Network

We are excited to announce our 6th Annual Colorado Pollinator Summit. Each year we bring together nationally and regionally recognized pollinator experts to discuss strategies for protecting and managing pollinators in Colorado. The Summit is designed for organizations, agencies, businesses, professionals, educators, growers, land managers, researchers and volunteers actively working to conserve and protect pollinators and their habitats.

Conservation is a highly collaborative field, bridging multiple disciplines to help sustain biodiversity and biodiversity-derived ecosystem services. Pollinators are one of the most well-known examples of how we benefit from biodiversity, and how we in turn, can help conserve that biodiversity. Through this summit, we will explore how we build knowledge of Colorado’s pollinators, how that knowledge is used to inform pollinator management and policy, and what communities and partner organizations interested in pollinators can do to increase knowledge of pollinators and mitigate the many stresses that impact them.

2021 Virtual Pollinator Summit

Promoting Pollinators through Collaborative Conservation

Thursday, November 4, 2021

8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Cost: $30 general admission, $15 for students

Register for the 2021 Virtual Summit

Conference Platform


2021 Summit Schedule


8:30-9:00am: Welcome and opening remarks: Exploring Colorado’s Pollinators: Setting the Stage – Adrian Carper


9:15-10:15am: KeynoteThe art and science of monitoring tiny bees on enormous landscapes – Dr. Olivia Messinger Carril

Evidence suggests that native bee species may be experiencing population declines in ecosystems around North America. To better evaluate which species are most imperiled, and the extent of their decline, it is important to monitor bee populations over the long term in areas where change is most likely. Sampling them in a meaningful way requires taking into account the difficulties of collecting a representative sample and the cost of repeated sampling. Dr. Olivia Messinger Carril will describe her own successes and failures in documenting bee populations over the last 25 years, present some of her findings and share her ideas and methods for successfully documenting bee populations moving forward.

10:30am-12pm: Session 1 Mapping our native pollinators: how, where, and why they occur – Oregon Bee Atlas, MN Bee Atlas, Dr. Olivia Messinger-Carrill (Moderated by Adrian Carper, CU Boulder)

The term, ‘pollinator decline’ is ubiquitous but also controversial, given that one of the biggest impediments to pollinator conservation is a lack of repeated surveys in space and through time to detect changes in pollinator communities. However, there are examples where this data is available, and new collaborative efforts at very large spatial scales that address gaps in our understanding of pollinator distributions. This panel brings together examples of work being done on the ground to build new knowledge of pollinator distributions, while engaging with vested and concerned communities, and raising awareness about the need for research and engagement in pollinator conservation.

12-12:30 pm: Lunch  

12:30-1:30 pm: Session 2 Policies to Protect Pollinators: Successes & Priorities – Pollinator Champions from the Colorado Capitol (Moderated by Becky Long, Siegel Public Affairs)

The 2021 Summit theme is collaboration. Successful conservation relies on collaboration between multiple disciplines and stakeholders to sustain biodiversity and functioning ecosystems essential to our wellbeing. Pollinator conservation is an excellent example of how we all benefit from pollination services and how we, in turn, can take action to help conserve pollinators and overall biodiversity. An essential tool that supports pollinator conservation is policy making, and good policy is also fueled by collaboration. This panel will focus on the opportunities and challenges of policy making and explore how we can leverage collaboration at the local, state, and federal levels to drive changes to protect pollinators.

1:45-3:15pm: Session 3 Cultivating Community Collaborations – Community leaders from Boulder, Fort Collins, Lakewood and Manitou Springs (Moderated by Amy Yarger, Butterfly Pavilion)

Long term and lasting improvements in pollinator habitat require teamwork from diverse stakeholders. This panel will offer examples of private-public partnerships from four Colorado communities: Boulder, Fort Collins, Lakewood and Manitou Springs. Private-public partnerships capitalize on the strengths and resources of each sector, from finance, to credibility, to expertise. Panelists will discuss how city staff and community members can work together to build trusting relationships, create thriving programs and engage residents, visitors, students, gardeners and staff in pollinator conservation.

3:15-3:30pm: Closing Remarks  

3:30-4:30pm: Virtual Happy Hour

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Olivia Messinger Carril, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale

Dr. Olivia Messinger Carril has been studying native bees for over 25 years. She received her BS in biology from Utah State University, while conducting a survey of the bees of Pinnacles National Monument in California.  Her MSc is also from Utah State University, and involved a study of the bee fauna of the 2 million acre Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.  For her PhD at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, she focused on the evolution of host choice and specialization for one bee group called Diadasia, that visits globe mallow or cactus flowers. She is the coauthor of two books: The Bees in Your Backyard, a Field Guide to North America’s Bees, and The Common Bees of Eastern North America. She is currently working on a field guide to common western bees, as well as conducting several large scale surveys of bees in northern New Mexico.   In her spare time, she teaches middle school science to girls.  She lives in Santa Fe New Mexico, with her husband and two daughters, all of whom are excellent field assistants.

The art and science of monitoring tiny bees on enormous landscapes.

Evidence suggests that native bee species may be experiencing population declines in ecosystems around North America.  To better evaluate which species are most imperiled, and the extent of their decline, it is important to monitor bee populations over the long term in areas where change is most likely.  Easier said than done.  Bees are small fickle creatures that defy easy quantification.  Many of them fly so fast that they are hard to capture with a net, while others ignore passive sampling methods designed to get around netting issues.  Some species ‘wait’ in the ground for a good flower year, meaning that many years of data are necessary to truly understand resident population sizes.  And others leave their natal nesting area if conditions aren’t satisfactory when they emerge.  Moreover, populations naturally fluctuate from year to year, meaning that large sample sizes are necessary to detect the ‘signal’ in all the noise.  As a result, sampling them in a meaningful way requires taking into account the difficulties of collecting a representative sample and the cost of repeated sampling.  Nonetheless, with patience, creativity, and persistence, bee monitoring has been successfully carried out in a number of landscapes throughout the western United States with inspiring results.  Dr. Olivia MessingerCarril will describe her own successes and failures in documenting bee populations over the last 25 years, present some of her findings, and share her ideas and methods for successfully documenting bee populations moving forward.


Session 1 Speakers


Elaine Evans

Associate Extension Professor, University of Minnesota

Elaine is a University of Minnesota Extension Educator and Researcher working on pollinator education and research relating to bee conservation. She completed her M.S. and Ph.D. in Entomology at the University of Minnesota. She has authored several books: “Befriending Bumble Bees: A Guide to Raising Local Bumble Bees” and “Managing Alternative Pollinators”. Her work helps to monitor pollinators, improve the impact of pollinator habitat, raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, and provide action steps for pollinator conservation.


Colleen Satyshur

 Research Coordinator, Department of Ecology Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota

Colleen is a Research Scientist at UMN and has worked on several stem and wood nesting wild bee projects, including the Minnesota Bee Atlas community science project. We recently received funding to conduct phase 2 of this project investigating nest materials used by bees. I have my Masters in Biology from the University of South Dakota studying the endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly. My undergraduate was in Biology from Cornell University. Between schooling I really enjoyed radio-tracking re-introduced whooping cranes and recording vocalizations of wild ones. I’ve worked at UMN since 2009, first as a research coordinator for the entomology portion of a study on using restored grasslands for both bioenergy and wildlife habitat. My academic interests include ecology, grasslands, wild bees, and discovering the natural history and life cycles of stem nesting bees in particular. 


Britt Forsberg

Extension Educator, University of Minnesota Extension Service

Britt served as the program coordinator for the Minnesota Bee Atlas, a grant-funded project working with volunteers to study the distribution and diversity of native bees in Minnesota.  In that role, she trained, supported, and managed approximately 150 volunteers each field season.  She continues to prepare volunteers to play an important role in conservation and University-led research as the Master Naturalist and Education Manager with the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program and sneaks in native bee education whenever possible.


Andony Melathopoulos

Assistant Professor, Pollinator Health Extension, Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University

Andony is an Assistant Professor of Pollinator Health Extension in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University. He has over 15 years of experience working together with commercial beekeepers and land managers to develop solutions for keeping bees healthy. Since 2016 he has been leading OSU’s efforts to design, implement and evaluate a state-wide pollinator health program. He is on the Coordinating Team of the state-wide bee protection initiative, the Oregon Bee Project, coordinates the Oregon Bee Atlas, and the host of a weekly podcast about pollinator health, PolliNation.


Lincoln R. Best

Lead Taxonomist, Oregon Bee Atlas, Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University

Lincoln Best is the Lead Taxonomist for the Oregon Bee Project/Atlas at Oregon State University, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. He teaches the Oregon Bee School, a course in taxonomy, and many other short courses and field courses. He is also obsessed with natural history, the little things, and designing plant communities to support biodiversity. He has studied the biodiversity of native bees from Haida Gwaii to Tasmania, and from Baja California to Taiwan.


Organizer Bio:

Adrian Carper

Research Associate, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & The Entomology Section, CU Museum of Natural History, University of Colorado, Boulder

Adrian has studied native bees, their natural history, and conservation for over a decade, and has organized ongoing research on bee community dynamics here in Colorado through the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History since 2013. His bee research focuses on the impacts of human land-use on native bees, and how natural history knowledge can help inform the conservation of these fascinating animals.



Session 2 Speakers


Monica Duran

Representative Duran was elected to the State House of Representatives in 2018 and represents House District 24. She serves on three committees at the State Capitol: Business Affairs & Labor, State, Veterans & Military Affairs, and Appropriations. Last session, she also served as the Majority Co-Whip. Rep Duran is a proud member of the Colorado Latino Democratic Caucus and Co-Chair of the Colorado Legislative Animal Welfare (CLAW) Caucus, the Children’s Caucus, and the Democratic Women’s Caucus. She champions issues such as supporting working families, protecting survivors of abuse, firearm safety, and animal welfare. 


Steve Fenberg

Steve Fenberg represents Colorado’s Senate District 18 and has served as Senate Majority Leader since 2019. He is a progressive voice at the Capitol, championing legislation to combat the climate crisis, increase election access, and make structural reforms that advance economic and social justice. Before entering the Senate, Steve served for a decade as the founding Executive Director for New Era Colorado, the largest state-based young voter mobilization organization in the country. He is a co-owner of Bread Bar located in the historic town of Silver Plume and on rare occasions makes an appearance as a guest bartender. Steve lives in Boulder with his wife Lindsay, daughter Isa, and their dog Ellie.



Session 3 Speakers


Alli Schuch

Alli Schuch is a watershed education consultant working on behalf of the Fountain Creek Watershed District. She has been a resident of Colorado Springs for 22 years with experiences at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, El Paso County Parks, City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities. She enjoys gardening, travelling, cooking and knitting.


Ashley White

Ashley is the Horticulture Coordinator for the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster Colorado, and co-Lead of Urban Prairies Project, a greenspace restoration program based in community stewardship and educated volunteerism. She supports initiatives throughout the Front Range that guide sustainable provision of habitat by working with community members in generating native plant materials and installing and caring for gardens. She is a true nature-nerd and relishes in sharing all that a healthy outdoors provides – from the micro to the macro!  

Desneige Hallbert

Desneige is trained as a landscape architect and urban planner. She most recently worked for Norris Design as their resident pollinator promoter, but has since decided to start her own small business as an ecological landscape designer, called Chickadee Pine Designs. She also teaches part-time with Poudre School Districts’s Futures Lab as the Design/Build pathway lead. When she’s not working she’s advocating for pollinators with People and Pollinators Action Network which she plans to speak about her involvement with today.


Jim Haselgren

Jim Haselgren is the Parks Manager for the City of Lakewood Parks Division and has worked in Lakewood parks for 21 years. He graduated from CSU under the Natural Resources discipline, and works to incorporate those principles within the urban parks system.

Judith Chandler

Judith Chandler lives in the beautiful mountain haven of Manitou Springs and serves the community as a public servant on City Council. Twenty-five years of her professional career has been as a RN and Nurse Practitioner. She holds a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Nursing, as well as several other professional certifications. In 2019, Judith joined the Environmental Work Group and became a board member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PARAB. She is now looking forward to her new roles as liaison to the Open Space Advisory Committee (OSAC), Chair of the Climate Action Workgroup, and serving on the board of the Fireman’s Pension Fund. 

Kate Rentschlar

Kate Rentschlar (she/her) is an Environmental Planner with City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department. Her work focuses on the Nature in the City program which aims to increase habitat and biodiversity in urban settings while also providing equitable access to nature for all community members.


Kelli Marko

Kelli Marko is an organic gardener in Lakewood. She became a pollinator activist after learning that many plants are pre-treated with systemic pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids, and has been compiling and expanding a local guide to buying bee safe plants for 8 years. Additionally, she is a part of the Lakewood Bee Safe Neighborhoods group and speaks and shares materials with many local groups.


Melody Daughterty

Melody Daugherty is the Founder and Executive Director of the Manitou Pollinators, a non-profit dedicated to pollinator conservation and environmental stewardship.  She is the appointed Project Manager for the Manitou Springs Pollinator District by the Butterfly Pavilion as a result of the Manitou Pollinators work to establish Manitou Springs as the 1st Certified Pollinator District in Colorado.  Melody has also fulfilled her Spiritual duties and Obligations to her Tsalagi Ancestors by creating the Manitou Pollinators Council on behalf of the Traditional Indigenous Peoples of Manitou Springs and other Tribal Nations by ensuring they have a voice and role in Pollinator Conservation and Stewardship for their future generations and reservations.  She is a professional gardener, loves horses, cooking, watching movies and currently loves Andrea and Matteo Bocelli duet video…Fall on Me.

Rella Abernathy

Rella Abernathy is the Applied Ecological Programs Coordinator for the City of Boulder where she oversees ecosystems management policy and programs, including pesticide reduction, urban pollinator and biodiversity conservation, ecological mosquito management and is part of a team developing an ecological resilience framework for natural climate solutions. 

Presenting Partners