BGA BUTLER ROOM
These days, there is a good chance that you have heard about the plight of North Carolina’s native pollinators. Loss of habitat, pesticides, disease, climate change, and non-native invasive species are all issues affecting the health and diversity of native pollinators in the state. With the issuance of the Presidential Memorandum – Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators in 2014, the US Fish and Wildlife Service began prioritizing and focusing efforts on preserving and restoring pollinator habitat. Though pollinator diversity and populations are in decline across the state, one native pollinator has recently been spotlighted – the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee. Historically, the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee was one of the most common bumble bee species in western North Carolina. In recent years, its population has plummeted and in 2017 it was federally listed as an endangered species. Although the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee has not been observed in North Carolina since 2006, there are over 200 historic occurrence records of this important species, with a vast majority of the occurrence records for the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee occurring in the North Carolina mountains. Since the listing in 2017, the USFWS – Asheville Field Office has prioritized staff time to conduct surveys for the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee.
Last year, the USFWS teamed up with Wild South (a local land conservation NGO) to create a Citizen Science program to help in the survey efforts for the species. This presentation will include a discussion of the federal listing of the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee and Endangered Species Act consultation requirements, a look into other pollinator species such as the Monarch Butterfly and Yellow-Banded Bumble Bee that are currently under review for federal listing, a review of the local survey efforts and data collected over the last two years, and a look at how this information is being used to guide future recovery efforts and pollinator habitat restoration in the mountains of western North Carolina.
Bryan Tompkins grew up in a rural farming community near Milledgeville, Georgia. Spending much of his youth playing in the forests and swamps around his home instilled in him a great appreciation of nature. In 1995, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia College and State University. Bryan started his career with the National Park Service on the Blue Ridge Parkway but has spent the past 15-years as a Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Asheville, North Carolina. He currently serves as the USFWS – Southeast Region recovery biologist for the federally endangered rusty-patched bumble bee and is the Energy Project Coordinator for the Asheville Field Office where he reviews energy production and development projects such as hydropower, coal combustion, natural gas, solar arrays, and wind farms. His job responsibilities consist of coordinating with energy companies to protect threatened and endangered species and their habitats from impacts associated with energy production projects. His recent efforts have been focused on the conservation of pollinator species with emphasis on the preservation and restoration of native pollinator habitat in North Carolina. He is an active Board member for the recently founded North Carolina Pollinator Conservation Alliance – a diverse group of dedicated stakeholders from state and federal agencies, educational institutions, businesses, and non-profit organizations that have shared interests in advancing pollinator conservation in North Carolina. In his free time, Bryan enjoys backcountry camping, float fishing for trout and smallmouth, gardening, and spending time in the outdoors with his family.
Although this is a FREE class participants must still pre-register by calling: 828-252-5190, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Class Limit: 30