Linda Geist

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The first series of University of Missouri Extension Master Pollinator Steward classes begins mid-May in Jefferson City.

Pollinators play a crucial role in the production of fruits, vegetables, honey and field crops, said MU Extension horticulturist James Quinn. Declining populations of bees, birds, butterflies, bats and insects led MU Extension to develop a curriculum to help the public learn about pollinators and how to increase their presence, he said.

Anyone interested in nature, gardening, beekeeping or agronomy will learn how to create a better environment where pollinators can thrive, Quinn said, adding that Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists will find the class of particular interest.

Topics are insects; plant-pollinator relationships; native pollinators; honeybee variants and their habitats; the three P’s of honeybees—pests, products and pollination; and conserving, creating and managing pollinator habitat.

Presenters include Quinn; Kristin Simpson, collection manager for MU’s Enns Entomology Museum; Valerie Duever, beekeeping instructor and commercial beekeeper in Audrain County; and Amber Edwards, education coordinator for Prairie Fork Conservation Area.

Classes are 9 a.m. to noon each Friday from May 18 through June 22. Classroom sessions will be at the Cedar City Room, 1101 Third St., Jefferson City. There will be several field trips. Classes will be held rain or shine.

Cost for the six classes is $90. To register, contact the MU Extension Center in Cole County at or 573-634-2824.

Sponsors are MU Extension in Cole County, Central Missouri Master Gardeners, Jefferson City Parks and Recreation, and Boone Regional Beekeepers.

For more information about the MU Extension Master Pollinator Steward program, go to