Pollinators Need You!

A Janet Meakin Poor Research Symposium

Saturday, June 22, 2019
9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Alsdorf Auditorium

$29 with student ID; call (847) 835-6801 to register at this rate

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Celebrate pollinator week by learning more about pollinators, why they are important, the threats they face, and what you can do to help them. Presenters will focus on native pollinators, bees and climate change, supporting pollinators in gardens and other natural areas, supporting bees in urban areas, and current pollinator conservation efforts. Attendees choose from three hands-on workshops related to creating pollinator habitat in your yard or neighborhood park.



8:30 a.m.

Check-in opens

9 a.m.

Welcome remarks

Paul J. CaraDonna, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Chicago Botanic Garden

9:15 a.m.

Dynamics of plant-pollinator interactions: climate change, existing variation, and flexibility

Paul J. CaraDonna, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Chicago Botanic Garden

In this presentation, we will first explore the ecological and physiological responses of an early season pollinator to climate warming using a field experiment. Next, we will examine the seasonal variation of plant-pollinator interaction networks as a means of understanding how and why interactions form and breakdown. Finally, we will consider how foraging energetics may drive potential interaction flexibility for some pollinators.

9:45 a.m.

Environmental and aesthetic considerations related to integrating native plants in our landscapes in support of pollinators

Heidi Natura, Founder of Living Habitats—Landscape Architect & Ecologist

Beyond their importance to pollinators, many other reasons support why it is important for us to integrate native species in the landscapes that surround us. Once we agree to either directly plant or indirectly support native plantings, there are many things to consider and commit to for this type of landscape treatment to be successful in a variety of settings and scales of adoption.

10:15 a.m.


10:45 a.m.

The value of cities in pollinator conservation: Steps to best support our native bees

Rebecca Tonietto, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Michigan-Flint

Perhaps surprisingly, urban areas can be hotspots for native bee diversity compared to some rural systems. For example, I have found rare bee species indicative of high quality habitat in Millennium Park and the bee community at Montrose Point was incredibly similar to that of Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie! Many of our landscaping preferences also benefit pollinator communities, and cities inherently provide nesting materials that meet some bees needs—here, I will outline the importance of urban systems for pollinator conservation and make specific recommendations to best support a diverse array of wild bee species in the city.

11:15 a.m.

Pollinator conservation

Louise Clemency, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

How do we tackle the complexity of pollinator conservation? Examples from monarch butterfly and rusty patched bumblebee conservation efforts will be discussed.

11:45 a.m.

Pollinator-friendly garden perennials

Richard Hawke, Plant Evaluation Manager, Chicago Botanic Garden

What are the best perennial plants to attract pollinators? Richard Hawke will present a variety of native plants, nativars (cultivars of a native species), and a few exotics that have been top-performers in the Chicago Botanic Garden’s trials.

12:15 a.m.

Brown Bag Lunch
Bring your own lunch or purchase one in the Garden View Café.

Participants choose from one of three afternoon workshops held in Learning Center

1:45 p.m.

Afternoon workshop: making a bee habitat  

Rebecca Tonietto, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Michigan-Flint

Bee condos, also called nesting boxes, are easy-to-maintain, inexpensive ways to increase bee habitats at your home or property you manage. Frequently used in agricultural settings as ways to increase native bee pollination services, nesting boxes can take many forms and can be personalized to match your garden decor. In this workshop, learn to make your own bee condo for your Garden.

1:45 p.m.

Afternoon workshop: pollinator garden design

Heidi Natura, Founder of Living Habitats, Landscape Architect & Ecologist

In this workshop, learn some of the distinctions between native plantings that support pollinators, compared to traditional perennial gardens, including what should be considered differently in design, implementation, and maintenance.

1:45 p.m.

Afternoon workshop: plant a butterfly container

Ayse Pogue, Senior Horticulturist, Chicago Botanic Garden

Even a little plot with a few plants can help declining populations of all sorts of pollinators. In this workshop, we will create a small, colorful and fragrant container with nectar-rich plants that will attract butterflies, bees, and more. Just sit on a balcony or patio on a warm day and watch the wildlife fly by!

General Information

The Janet Meakin Poor Research Symposium is partially endowed by the friends of Janet Meakin Poor, a Chicago-area conservationist and landscape designer dedicated to preserving natural habitats. This symposium is developed in a long-standing partnership between the Plant Science and Conservation department and the Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden.


The symposium will be held in the Alsdorf Auditorium of the Regenstein Center at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois. Directions to the Garden can be found here.


The Regenstein School of the Chicago Botanic Garden recommends the Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel for accommodations.