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Get the Buzz: Research shows solar habitat installations support pollinators

May 18, 2022 @ 12:00 pm 1:00 pm

Bees, monarchs, and other critical pollinators are disappearing, and scientists agree that loss of habitat is a primary concern. However, research has found that the renewable energy sector provides a unique opportunity for creating new pollinator habitat.

Join Monarch Joint Venture, Connexus Energy, MNL, and Fresh Energy for a free webinar where we dig into the new study, “Monitoring Pollinators on Minnesota Solar Installation,” which used field data collection practices to document an abundance of bees, butterflies, moths, flies, and wasps utilizing pollinator-friendly solar habitat in Minnesota. We’ll also discuss seed mixes and biodiversity benefits, how utilities and co-ops can lead, and more.


Laura Lukens | she/her | Monarch Joint Venture

Laura Lukens is the National Monitoring Coordinator for the Monarch Joint Venture, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving monarch butterflies and their migration. Laura coordinates research projects throughout the US and cultivates a network of researchers and science initiatives to advance monarch conservation priorities.

Rob Davis | he/him | Connexus Energy

Rob Davis is communications lead at Connexus Energy and chair of the advisory committee to the National Renewable Energy Lab’s InSPIRE study into low-impact solar. Davis’ work on pollinator-friendly solar has been featured in trainings by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Conservation Training Center, the U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; in feature stories in Fast Company and Scientific American, and a talk titled “This unlikely 1960s space tech can help save the bees,” on TED.com. Previously, Davis helped launch technology start-ups and created the international crowdsourced campaign that launched the Firefox web browser. He is a graduate of Macalester College.

Jake Janksi | he/him | MNL

Jake Janski is the Director of Field Service Operations and a Senior Ecologist at MNL (Minnesota Native Landscapes). Jake applies his experiences from the past 20+ years in the industry towards the successful restoration and management of our region’s plant communities, solar sites, and natural resources. Beyond overseeing MNL’s spectrum of ecological services, broadest in the Midwest, Jake has also written and implemented numerous studies, restoration strategies, and vegetation management plans throughout his career. Whenever possible, he enjoys sharing these experiences and perspectives with audiences of his peers, industry groups, and others who share MNL’s mission of Healing the Earth.

Moderated by

Jo Olson | she/her | Fresh Energy

Jo is Fresh Energy’s director of communications and engagement. She leads public engagement efforts around Fresh Energy’s programs and initiatives. Jo has been involved in nonprofit communications, branding, and public relations for 15 years, most recently having served as the Communications Director at the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota.

Event photo by Laura Lukens, Monarch Joint Venture.