Quad Cities 2nd Annual Pollinator Conference

Quad Cities 2nd Annual Pollinator Conference

2016 Pollinator Conference Logo

Second Monarch Expert Added As Morning Keynote For June 2016 Quad Cities Pollinator Conference


Davenport, IA (Monday, March 14, 2016)- A second nationally-recognized Monarch expert has been added to the Quad Cities Pollinator Conference schedule of presenters June 23-24 at the River Center, located in downtown Davenport, Iowa. Dr. Karen Oberhauser, Monarch Joint Venture, Professor, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota will provide the opening keynote Thursday morning. Coordinated by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Nahant Marsh Education Center and Rock Island County Soil & Water Conservation District, this conference is geared toward the agricultural community; municipal, state and federal government employees; landowners; homeowners and urban dwellers; beekeepers; and educators.

The first day will consist of nearly 20 experts speaking on current pollinator issues, challenges, and opportunities within three tracks: Creating Native Habitat on Rural, Agricultural and Residential Landscapes; Bees, Science and the Human Connection; and Making Room for Natives in Urban, Municipal, and Right-Of-Way Settings. The luncheon will feature a second keynote speaker, Orley R. “Chip” Taylor, Ph.D., Founder and Director of Monarch Watch, Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas.

Over the two days, topics will cover native insects, honey bees and creating pollinator friendly habitat. Experts like Donald R. Lewis, Ph.D, Deptartment of Entomology and Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, Iowa State University, will share their knowledge & latest scientific research on topics such as: plant-pollinator relationships; urban entomology, pollinator decline; designing pollinator support plantings and land conservation practices in agricultural and urban settings. Presentations will also feature speakers from Syngenta, Pheasants Forever, the City of Davenport, and much more!
Day two will consist of a morning of scheduled tours around the Quad City area, visiting successful pollinator habitat projects. These tours are optional, but are included in the conference fee.


Pollinators are a critical natural resource in agriculture and healthy ecosystems, but there has been significant pollinator decline over the past few decades. Because of this, many different groups, organizations, and individuals care about pollinator protection and sustainability. This year, we focus on action! We are inviting homeowners, landowners, beekeepers, educators, the general public, and local/state/federal government employees to take part in this event. The goal for the conference is to provide a platform for knowledge-sharing, open dialogue, networking opportunities, and related goods and services.


Threats facing pollinators include habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation. As native vegetation is lost to roadways, manicured lawns, crops and non-native gardens, pollinators lose the food and nesting sites that are necessary for their survival. Migratory pollinators face special challenges. If the distance between suitable habitat patches along their migration route is too great, smaller, weaker individuals may die during their journey. Our conference hopes to offer landscape solutions for a variety of applications (urban, rural, backyard) in order to address habitat loss for pollinators and other native species.


New this year is a video contest for local schools. Entries will be accepted for the 1st annual video contest. Videos must be 30-60 seconds long and be submitted in affiliation with a local Quad City Academic Institution (schools, school clubs, student organizations etc.) All videos must be submitted by June 1, 2016, with a signed photo/video release. Winners will be notified by June 15, 2016. Entries can be submitted to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife, 1511 47th Ave., Moline, IL 61265. The Grand Prize Video will win $1,000 will be given to install a pollinator garden, or provide science curriculum relating to pollinators, supplies, and/or materials. Two $500 prizes will be awarded for runners-up, one for high school participants, and one for junior high participants. The funding will be put toward pollinator related curriculum, supplies, and/or materials. The top three entries will be invited to attend the 2016 Pollinator Conference to accept their awards. Contact Ellen at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife office with questions about the contest: 309.757.5800 x213 ellen_loechner@fws.gov.


Registration for the QC Pollinator Conference is open and available online at: www.qcpollinatorconference.org.

Early registration: $60
Registration after May 6: $75
Student registration is half price: $37.50
For more information and registration, visit www.qcpollinatorconference.org or contact Lindsey at Nahant Marsh: 563.336.3374, lmkennedy@eicc.edu. Lindsey can also provide information on accommodations for out-of-town guests at a group-rate at either Hotel Blackhawk or the Radisson Quad City Plaza—which are attached to the conference site.


Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Each level includes complimentary exhibitor space at the River Center on June 23, 2016.


Our list is growing! Visit www.qcpollinatorconference.org for the most current version.
We thank our generous sponsors and partners for their support.


Nahant Marsh Education Center, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Iowa REAP


Alcoa, Radish, Walcott Trust and Savings Bank


Davenport Public Works, Iowa Public Radio, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy, WVIK


BeeLaws.org, Living Lands& Waters, Simply Native Nursery




8:00 – 11:30 a.m. – Attendee Registration and Check-In

9:00 a.m. – Opening Keynote: Dr. Karen Oberhauser, Monarch Joint Venture, Professor and Director of
Graduate Studies, Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota

10:00 a.m. – Morning Sessions Begin
Noon – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch with Keynote Address– Dr. Chip Taylor, Founder and Director of Monarch Watch,
Professor, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
1:00 – 1:15 p.m. – Remarks and Reminders: Afternoon Sessions Begin

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Panel/Questions and Closing Remarks

About Dr. Karen Oberhauser

Karen Oberhauser is a Professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. Karen is passionate about the conservation of the world’s biodiversity, and believes that the connections her projects promote between monarchs, humans, and the natural world promote meaningful conservation action. In 1996, along with graduate student Michelle Prysby, Oberhauser started a nation-wide Citizen Science project called the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project. The project continues to engage hundreds of volunteers throughout North America. Oberhauser is the chair of the Monarch Joint Venture, and a founding officer of the Monarch Butterfly Fund. Oberhauser has been studying monarch butterflies since 1984. She works with teachers and pre-college students in Minnesota and throughout the United States using monarchs to teach about biology, conservation, and the process of science.

About Dr. Orley R. “Chip” Taylor

Trained as an insect ecologist, Chip Taylor is known world-wide for his work related to saving the monarch migration in North America. Taylor is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas where he conducts research on a variety of topics related to the evolution and ecological implications of life history traits in insects and plants. In 1992, Taylor founded Monarch Watch, an outreach program focused on education, research and conservation relative to monarch butterflies. Since then, Monarch Watch has enlisted the help of volunteers to tag monarchs during the fall migration. This program has produced many new insights into the dynamics of the monarch migration. In 2005 Monarch Watch created the Monarch Waystation program, in recognition that habitats for monarchs are declining at a rate of 6,000 acres a day in the United States. The goal of this program is to inspire the public, schools and others to create habitats for monarch butterflies and to assist Monarch Watch in educating the public about the decline in resources for monarchs, pollinators and all wildlife that share the same habitats.

USDA & Pheasants Forever Host CRP Workshops

USDA & Pheasants Forever Host CRP Workshops



Attention Farmers and Landowners: In addition to an ongoing Continuous CRP Signup, there is a General Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Signup in the USDA office from Dec. 1-Feb. 26th. Pheasants Forever and the USDA are holding informational workshops about both CRP Signups in January. Workshop topics include financial and conservation benefits of CRP, practices in CRP, the application process, and how to establish and manage CRP.

Why? To reduce soil loss, improve wildlife habitat, and improve water quality while sustaining income on your farm! Refreshments will be provided.

When and where?

Tues. 12/22, 2pm at the Geneseo Park District Senior Center Room

Tues. 12/29, 2pm at the Monmouth Farm Bureau Building

Tues. 1/12, 10am at the IL Dept. of Agriculture’s Lab in Galesburg

Thur. 1/14, 9am at the Reynolds American Legion

Thur. 1/14, 1pm at the Cordova Civic Center


Contact Scott James Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist For Additional Information:

(309) 660-3147

Outdoor Education Center Opens In Moline

Outdoor Education Center Opens In Moline


The ribbon cutting for “Jeff’s Outdoor Play Space” at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center, 3010 26th Ave., Moline took place on Wednesday October 21st. After much work and dedication by all partners involved, the teachers at the school were delighted to officially open the nature inspired outdoor classroom.

Rich Stewart, Resource Conservationist, of the Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District and Joe Gates of the Natural Resources Conservation Service assisted beginning in 2012 with the planning and implementation of a portion of this particular project which includes:a trike path, huge sandbox area, stage, “music” area with clang-able pots and pans attached to a fence, herbs, flowers and a butterfly garden.

It is the hope of teachers and parents that this previously empty space will serve as an outdoor education center allowing the children to spend more time outside in nature. The project was funded through a grant written by some of the teachers at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center, and involved SWCD, NRCS, DNR, as well as a donation of trees from a large distributor.

The R.I. Soil & Water Conservation District looks forward to collaborating on projects like these in the future and is always willing to assist with the design and installation of outdoor classrooms like this one. Contact the SWCD office 309-764-1486 Ext. 3 for more information.

Wildflower & Pollinator Workshop

Wildflower & Pollinator Workshop

Pheasants Forever and USDA/SWCD partners are hosting a wildflower and pollinator workshop on August 18th 9:00-11:00 a.m. The workshop will be held at a small prairie on private property near Sherrard (1713 Knoxville Road Sherrard, IL).

Primary topics include: 1. Establishing, managing, and identifying wildflowers. 2. The importance of pollinators to nature and mankind. 3. How seed mixes can be wildlife-friendly and inexpensive. Children are encouraged to attend as youth activities will be provided!

Please contact Scott James at (309) 660-3147 with questions or accommodation requests.

Pheasants Forever Logo

Pond Clinic & Dry Fire Hydrant Demonstration

Pond Clinic & Dry Fire Hydrant Demonstration

The Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting a fall Pond Clinic and Dry Fire Hydrant Demonstration Wednesday September 9th from 5:00-7:30 p.m.

The pond is located at 5509 286th Street North Hillsdale, IL. RSVP by phone (309-764-1486) or email (riswcd@rockislandswcd.org) by September 4th.

Ken Clodfelter, County Fish Biologist, will be conducting a pond shocking as well as discussing pond management techniques and concepts. Several product vendors will be present and available to answer questions.

Additionally, the Hillsdale Fire Department will be installing a dry fire hydrant donated by the R.I. SWCD immediately following the Pond Clinic. A meal will be provided, please bring your lawn chairs and any pond management questions you may have!
Pond Clinic

2015 Conservation Cropping Seminars

2015 Conservation Cropping Seminars

Curious about Cover Crops? Want to learn more about soil health? Mark your calendars for three new Conservation Cropping Seminars coming to your area and don’t miss out on these great opportunities to learn more about cover crop best practices and implementation. Hear from local Ag producers and resource experts who will share information and insights on soil health improvements, cover crop success, and wise nutrient management. Register today!

Visit www.ccswcd.com to register.The $20 fee is payable by check or credit card and includes lunch.


  • Contact: Joe Bybee (815) 787-5480
  • Schedule: 8:30 am – 12:00, lunch, 1:00 – 3:30 w/ Meet-N-Greet 3:30 – 5 pm
  • Welcome – Russ Higgins, University of Illinois Extension
  • Nutrient Utilization–Using BMPs & Cover Crops – Dr. Shalamar Armstrong, Illinois State University & local farmer
  • Herbicide Management & Cover Crops – Gordon Roskamp, IL Community College
  • Systems for Soil Health –  Dr. Eileen Kladivko, Purdue University
  • IL Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy “What and Why Now?” – Lauren Lurkins, IL Farm Bureau
  • Basics of Successful Cover Crops – Hans Kok, West LaFayette, IN
  • Farmer Panel Discussion with local producers
  • Soybeans & Stewardship – Ray Gaesser, IA farmer, American Soybean Association


  • Contact: Elliot Lagacy (217) 353-6603
  • Schedule: 8:30 am – 12:10, lunch, 1:00 – 3:30 w/ Meet-N-Greet 3:30 – 5 pm
  • Converting & Adapting to Conservation Cropping Systems – Roger Wenning
  • Nutrient Utilization–Using BMPs & Cover Crops – Dr. Shalamar Armstrong
  • Weed & Herbicide Management with Cover Crops – Gordon Roskamp
  • Soil Health—“How Do We Get to A Healthy Soil?” – Hans Kok, Soil Health Consultant, IN
  • Basics of Successful Cover Crops – Dave Robison, IN farmer
  • Farm Panel Discussion with local producers
  • IL Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy “What and Why Now?” – Lauren Lurkins, IL Farm Bureau


  • Contact: Mary McManus (309) 738-7227
  • Schedule: 8:30 am – 12:10, lunch, 1:00 – 3:30 w/ Meet-N-Greet 3:30 – 5 pm
  • Welcome – Dr. Andy Baker, Chair WIU Department of Agriculture
  • “Resource Conservation Partnership Program” – Mike Rahe, IL Department of Ag
  • IL Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy “What and Why Now?” – Lauren Lurkins, IL Farm Bureau
  • Soil Health – Dr. Laura & Lowell Gentry, University of Illinois
  • Weed Management Technology – Clay Mitchell, IA farmer & Dr. Mark Bernards, WIU
  • Farmer Panel Discussion with local producers
  • Trends in Cover Crops in the Corn Belt – Myers, University of Missouri
2014 Conservation Teacher of the Year

2014 Conservation Teacher of the Year

Nancy Wolber is Rock Island County SWCD’s 2014 Conservation Teacher of the Year.  Nancy teaches Global Biology (Environmental Science) at Rock Island High School.  Nancy also sponsors the Environmental Action Club at Rock Islan2014 Conservation Teacher of the Yeard High School.

Nancy’s commitment to conservation, professional development, and education is admirable.  Nancy takes learning outside the classroom by offering her students and club members many opportunities to participate in hands-on learning and environmental stewardship activities.  These experiences can truly transform the way students view the environment.  Nancy said, “I start the year off with a chance for students to volunteer at the XStream Clean-up sponsored by Living Lands and Waters.  Typically I get between 50—70 students involved in this event.  Many…find out they can have a good time helping to clean up the area that they live in if they just give it a try.  Many sign up the next year or even after they graduate because they enjoyed it so much.”

This is just one example of Nancy taking learning outside the traditional classroom setting.  “Nancy is not only teaching her students about the environment, but she is providing a crucial part of her students’ education and preparation for real-life,” praised Marilyn Andress, Volunteer Coordinator for RiverBend Wildland Stewards.

“Nancy’s efforts and dedication to our Environmental Action Club are truly remarkable”, wrote Principal Wernentin in his Letter of Recommendation for the award.  Nancy’s passion for the environment is very clear, but so is her passion for the students.  Mr. Wernentin also wrote, “Students know Mrs. Wolber is an advocate for them and will work tirelessly for their success.”

Rock Island County SWCD is proud and thankful to have teachers like Nancy to share the message of conservation with the next generation.  This award is open to any K – 12 educator who teaches full time in public, parochial or private classrooms.   If you know a teacher that’s making a difference, call the SWCD and let us know!

Nancy is pictured receiving the 2014 Conservation Teacher of the Year Award from Sally Ferguson of Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District.  The award was presented at a Rock Island High School Environmental Action Club meeting.  Beside Nancy from front to back are Rock Island High School Environmental Action Club President Ro Sung Tha, Co Vice President Elizabeth Kasimu, and Treasurer Ethan Hong.