Protecting the life that sustains us

aka The Xerces Society   |   Washington, DC   |  https://xerces.org


The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international nonprofit organization that protects the natural world through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats. Our name (which is pronounced Zer-sees, or /ˈzɚˌsiz/) comes from the now-extinct Xerces blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces), the first butterfly known to go extinct in North America as a result of human activities. The Xerces blue's habitat was destroyed by development in the sand dunes of San Francisco, and the species was declared extinct by the 1940s.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Scott Black

Main address

PO Box 97387

Washington, DC 20090 USA

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NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Xerces Society serves as the voice for the "little things that run the world." From the world’s rarest butterflies, to caddisflies that live solely in one stream, to declining bumble bees, we are dedicated to protecting invertebrates and the ecosystems that depend on them—no matter how long it takes.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Pollinator Program

Pollinators are essential to our environment. The ecological service they provide is necessary for the reproduction of over 85% of the world’s flowering plants, including more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species. The United States alone grows more than 100 crops that either need or benefit from pollinators, and the economic value of these native pollinators is estimated at $3 billion per year in the U.S. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems. Fruits and seeds derived from insect pollination are a major part of the diet of approximately 25% of all birds, and of mammals ranging from red-backed voles to grizzly bears. Unfortunately, in many places, the essential service of pollination is at risk from habitat loss, pesticide use, and introduced diseases.

You can help bring back the pollinators by following four simple principles: growing pollinator-friendly flowers, providing nest sites, avoiding pesticides, and spreading the

Population(s) Served

Invertebrates form the foundation of many of our terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and yet they are greatly underappreciated in mainstream conservation. Destruction of habitat, pesticides, disease, and climate change are all factors leading to the decline of invertebrate species. To conserve and restore the diversity of life on earth, the Xerces Society’s endangered species conservation program engages in education, research, community science (sometimes referred to as "citizen science," or "participatory science"), conservation planning, and advocacy to protect at-risk species and their habitats. We collaborate with scientists and land managers to raise awareness about the plight of invertebrates and to gain protection for the most vulnerable species before they decline to a level at which recovery is impossible.

Population(s) Served

We undertake a variety of activities to raise general awareness and appreciation of the valuable role of invertebrates. One of our key activities in this program area includes twice a year publication of our magazine which features the work of renowned wildlife photographers, scientists, conservationists, and writers. Another aspect of this program is the Joan M. DeWind award. Each year two graduate or undergraduate students receive an award of $3,750 each for Lepidoptera research/conservation projects.

Population(s) Served

The Xerces Society conducts workshops from coast to coast for a variety of audiences—farmers, land managers, agency officials, gardeners, park managers, and others. Our trainings cover how to restore and enhance areas for pollinators and other beneficial insects; protect at-risk species such as bumble bees, tiger beetles, and butterflies; and monitor the health of streams, rivers, and wetlands.

The Xerces Society mobilizes volunteers to protect wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats by participating in community science, organizational tasks, and community engagement.

Population(s) Served

The vast majority of invertebrates serve vitally important roles in a healthy environment, including controlling pests, pollinating flowering plants, and providing food for other wildlife. Only a very small number of invertebrates are pests. Yet, the pesticides designed to control unwanted plants and animals rarely distinguish between beneficial invertebrates and those which cause harm. All too often pesticides cause unintended consequences and disrupt the natural systems that sustain us. But, because pesticides are valued for their toxicity to pests, the risks they pose are often accepted⁠—even when healthier, more sustainable options are available.
Xerces’ staff is sought after to translate complex science so that farmers, backyard gardeners, agency staff, and policy makers can make informed decisions about pesticide use and regulation. And by providing on-the-ground technical support we are increasing the adoption of ecologically sound pest management practices everywhere.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our key program areas are pollinator conservation, endangered species conservation, reducing pesticide use and impacts, and community engagement.

Our scientists seek to minimize the threats pesticides pose to invertebrates by advocating reduced usage, safer products, and more effective evaluation and regulation—including by providing support to communities in the process of adopting pesticide reduction plans. In the realm of pollinator conservation, we work with federal agencies to incorporate the needs of pollinators and other invertebrates into national conservation programs. We engage lawmakers to pass legislation to improve habitat for invertebrates. We also promote invertebrate protection under the Endangered Species Act and other federal and state laws.

The Xerces Society is a trusted source for science-based information and advice and plays a leading role in promoting the conservation of pollinators and many other invertebrates. We collaborate with people and institutions at all levels and our work to protect bees, butterflies, freshwater mussels and other invertebrates encompasses all landscapes. Our team draws together experts from the fields of habitat restoration, entomology, plant ecology, education, farming, and conservation biology with a single passion: Protecting the life that sustains us.

Recent Accomplishments:

The first bee listed as endangered in the continental United States. In 2017, the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) was afforded protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Protection for one of North America's rarest butterflies, the island marble (Euchloe ausonides insulana) in 2018.

As of October 2021, 273 Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA affiliates in 44 states are improving habitat for pollinators.

Over one million acres of habitat for monarch butterflies have been restored or created due to our advocacy to attain endangered species protection for this beloved species.

Twenty-eight communities in twelve states have banned the use of neonicotinoid insecticides thanks to guidance and support from Xerces scientists.

More than ten-thousand people have signed the Pollinator Protection Pledge, creating a network of pollinator advocates that extends beyond the United States.

Engaged thousands of volunteers in community science projects, including Bumble Bee Watch, Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper, and Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, a two-decade-old project that has documented the decline of the monarch butterfly in western North America.

Over six-thousand Bee City USA volunteers have built 764 pollinator habitat projects across the country.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Scientists, Farmers/Growers, Gardeners, Teachers, Local Government Employees, State Government Employees, Federal Government Employees, Bee City USA Affiliates, Bee Campus USA Affiliates, Volunteers, Retirees, Conservationists, Landscapers, Land Managers, Land Stewards, and more.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    As we continue to expand our webinars and free online videos, we started asking our participants if they used, or would like to use, closed captioning and if they would like to see webinars in languages other than English. We now provide English and Spanish language webinars, and provide live closed captioning for many of our webinars.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Feedback from our webinar participants has helped us measure our success in reaching more diverse demographics. We will offer more live closed captioning in webinars, Spanish language webinars, and Spanish language materials. Positive feedback about these offerings has helped us understand what is effective and aides us in securing funding for these resources. We have many skilled volunteers and by increasing their participation in our program work and soliciting their feedback, we have been able to learn and improve our programs and materials. They help us improve our community science programs and write our publications, they give us new ideas for presentations, and some have even become guest speakers in our webinars.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Board of directors
as of 10/20/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Linda Craig


Sacha Spector

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Linda Craig

Casey Sclar

American Public Gardens Association

Beth Robertson-Martin

Shine Sourcing Solutions

Rachael Winfree

Rutgers University

Jay Withgott

Lisa Bertelson

Betsy López-Wagner

López-Wagner Strategies

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/13/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


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Race & ethnicity

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Gender identity

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