Discover Life | The Polistes Foundation | PHER | Researchers

Nancy Lee Adamson

P.O. Box 20653, Greensboro, NC 27420
tel.: (540) 577-1167, e-mail:


  • Ph.D., Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, May 2011
    • Dissertation: An Assessment of Native Bees as Fruit and Vegetable Crop Pollinators in Southwest Virginia.
      Also received Future Professoriate Graduate Certificate. GPA 3.8
  • M.S., Natural Resources Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, 2000

    • Thesis: Establishing Native Grasses Along Maryland Roadways. GPA 3.8
  • M.A., Environmental Geography, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 1992

    • Thesis: Locally Managed Conservation in Rural Tunisia. GPA 3.7
  • B.A., International Relations, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, 1985


       Entomology, pollination ecology, biological farming, ecological restoration, ethnobiology


  • Kosztarab Scholarship, 2010
    • Recognizing research in systematics or significant contributions to the Insect Collection
      Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech
  • Maryland Ornithological Society Scholarship, 2001
    • For Maine Audubon field ornithology course
  • Orion Society Scholarship, Fire & Grit: Working for Nature in Community, 1999
  • Landscaping with Native Plants Conference Scholarship, 1998
  • Organization for Tropical Studies Scholarship & Mini-grant, 1992
    • Sustainable ecosystems field course in Costa Rica and field research with Cabecar indigenous peoples
  • Development Studies Scholarship, Ohio University, 1990
    • Supporting 6 month internship at the Office of Rural Development, US Agency for International Development, DC
  • Fellowship in Language Area Studies for Indonesian, Ohio University, 1988-89
  • International Education and Exchange Conference Scholarship, 1985
    • National Association of Foreign Student Affairs


  • Graduate Student Assembly Travel Grant, 2011 and 2010
  • Alwood Society Travel Grant, 2009
    • For attending the Entomological Society of America annual meeting
  • Graduate Research Development Grant, 2009
    • Graduate Student Assembly, Virginia Tech
  • Gamma Sigma Delta, 2008
    • Recognizing excellence in the practice of agricultural pursuits
      the Honor Society of Agriculture, Virginia Tech Chapter
  • Frederick Master Gardener Dedication, 2007
    • Native plant garden named and dedicated in my honor by MD Master Gardeners
  • Leland E. and Catherine B. Scott Award, 1999
    • Recognizing an outstanding graduate student
      Department of Natural Resource Sciences, University of Maryland
  • Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award, 1999
    • University of Maryland

Environmental Education Experience

  • Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Xerces Society & Natural Resources Conservation Service East National Technology Support Center
    • Provide training and technical support to NRCS staff, farmers, and other organizations on pollinators and pollinator habitat wanting to implement Farm Bill pollinator programs
      Supervisors: Mace Vaughan, (855) 232-6639,; Hank Henry, (336) 370- 3349,
  • Graduate Assistant, Virginia Tech Entomology Department, Blacksburg, VA, August- November 2006
    • Research Assistant--pollination project supported by the Virginia Cooperative Extension and screening for invasive wood boring insects
    • Teaching Assistant--Bees & Beekeeping, Insect Biology, and Insects & Human Society
      Supervisors: Eric Day, (540) 231-4899,; Dr. Richard Fell, (540) 231-7207,; and Donald Mullins, (540) 231-5978,
  • Horticulture Extension Educator, Maryland Cooperative Extension, Frederick, MD, September 2004-August 2006
    • Managed Frederick County Horticulture and Master Gardener Programs
    • Supported environmentally beneficial horticultural and pest management practices
      Supervisor: Stanley Fultz, (301) 600-3578,
  • Board Member, Maryland Native Plant Society, Mt. Rainier, MD, 1996-01 and 2006
    • Promoted appreciation of native plants and their ecological benefits
    • Raised awareness of problems associated with invasive species
      Supervisor: Karyn Molines, (410) 741-9330,
  • Education Coordinator/Nursery Manager, Akins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD, December 2000- July 2002
    • Developed educational programs and print materials, and led field trips
    • Managed a native plant nursery, plant sales, and community restoration plantings
    • Substantially increased revenues from plant sales and streamlined procedures
      Supervisor: Eleanor Altman, (410) 634-2847,
  • Teaching Assistant, University of Maryland, Natural Resource Sciences, September 1997-June 2000
    • Woody Plants, Introduction to Horticulture, Introduction to Landscape Architecture
    • Led Tropical Agro-ecosystems field course in Costa Rica
      Supervisors: Dr. Thomas Turner, (301) 403-4431, and Dr. Chris Walsh, (301) 403-4351,
  • Lecturer, George Mason University Geography Department, Fairfax, VA, September- December 1994
    • Conservation of Resources and Environment course for juniors and seniors
      Supervisor: Dr. Joseph Wood, (410) 837-5244,
  • Teacher, Echo Hill Outdoor School, Worton, Maryland, March-September 1994
    • Taught experiential classes exploring ecology of Maryland's eastern shore, developing self-confidence and team skills of students
      Supervisors: Betsy and Andrew McCown, (410) 348-5880,
  • Graduate Assistant, Ohio University Geography Department, August 1989-August 1992
    • Led rural and urban field studies of human impacts on watersheds for environmental and resource management students
      Supervisors: Dr. Bob J. Walter, (740) 593-5894, and Dr. Frank Bernard, (740) 593-1153,

Field Ecology Experience

  • Research Technician, Cornell University Entomology Department, Ithaca, NY, April-June 2011
    • Conducted field sampling for bees, developed maps, and processed specimens for apple pollination project
      Supervisors: Dr. Bryan Danforth, (607) 255-3563,; Mia Park, (607) 351- 6889,
  • Field Botanist, New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, southern NJ, July 2002-April 2003
    • Surveyed coastal plain intermittent pond and sea-level fen plant communities
    • Generated maps with ArcView and helped define herbaceous communities using PC-ORD
      Supervisor: Kathleen Strakosch Walz, (609) 984-1339,
  • Field Ecologist, Chesapeake Natives, Chesapeake watershed, MD and VA, March 1997- November 2000
    • Inventoried natural areas, established and maintained native plantings
      Supervisor: Sara Tangren, (301) 580-6237
  • Intern, Student Conservation Association, US Bureau of Land Management, OR, March-June 1992
    • Monitored riparian habitat and helped with restoration projects
      Supervisor: Lawrence Thomas, (541) 416-6700

Other Ecological and Agricultural Experience

  • Native Plant Landscaper, self-employed, MD/DC/VA, periodically 1988-present
    • Installed and maintained native plant landscaping
  • Consultant, Maryland State Highway Administration, MD, September-November 2000
    • Created meadow planting and invasive species management plan for highway corridor
      Supervisor: Ken Oldham, (410) 545-8590,
  • Environmental Consultant, Wolinski Consulting, MD, 2004
    • Compiled wildlife database of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians of Maryland and surrounding states using Access database
      Supervisor: Jeff Wolinski, (540) 882-4947,
  • Foreman-in-Training, Environmental Quality Resources, Gaithersburg, MD, January-August 1997
    • Worked to reforest, create wetlands (mitigation), and improve storm water management
      Supervisor: Rick Scaffidi, (443) 304-3310
  • Farmhand/Seller, Wheatland Vegetable Farms, Purcellville, VA, periodically 1994-February 1995
    • Tended, harvested and sold vegetables for a farm serving the metropolitan DC area
      Supervisor: Susan Planck, (540) 882-3996,

International Experience

  • Ethnobiology Consultant, Itzaj Maya Dictionary Database, Peten, Guatemala, January-March 1995
    • Determined scientific names of local flora and fauna for a tri-lingual dictionary
      Supervisor: Dr. Charles Andrew Hofling, (618) 453-5014,
  • Field Intern, Cultural Survival, Peten, Guatemala, November 1992-May 1993
    • Worked with a rural indigenous organization to protect the community's forest reserve
      Supervisor: Dr. Anthony Stocks, (208) 282-2629,
  • Rural Development Intern, US Agency for International Development, DC, January-June 1992
    • Supported conservation of fragile lands in Latin America through improving communication among regional (watershed) resource users and regulators.
      Supervisor: Dr. Michael Yates, (202) 712-4023
  • Export Developmental Specialist, US Small Business Administration, DC, February 1988- December 1988
    • Coordinated ten regional trade conferences for Office of International Trade, edited Exporter's Guide
      Supervisor: Sheryl Swed (202) 205-7324
  • Special Education Teacher and Field Researcher, US Peace Corps, Tunisia, June 1985-1987
    • Taught developmentally disabled and blind students
    • Conducted sociological field surveys for Save the Children Foundation
      Supervisor: Barbara Moritzky
  • Administrative Assistant, Nicaragua U. S. Friendship Office, DC, periodically 1980/90s
    • Supported sister city program and peace initiatives
      Supervisor: Rita Clark, (202) 546-0915,


Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

  • Adamson, N. L., T. H. Roulston, R. D. Fell, and D. E. Mullins. 2012. From April to August -- wild bees pollinating crops through the growing season in Virginia, USA. Environmental Entomology 41:813-821.


  • Presentations or displays on pollinator conservation and Farm Bill programs to support pollinators with a webinar posted here; full day short courses in South Carolina and West Virginia; and seminars at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Sustainable Farming meeting in 2011, Southeast Fruit and Vegetable Growers Organic Conference in January 2012, the Virginia Biological Farming Association, Virginia Master Gardener Conference, and Farm Fresh Growers Workshop, in Florida, West Virginia, and North Carolina in 2012.
  • Presentations and posters on non-Apis bees important for crop pollination in southwest VA: Ecological Society of America, Austin, Texas, August 2011; 10th International Pollination Conference in Cholula, Mexico, July 2010; Virginia State Beekeepers Association (fruit and berry pollination, introduction to non-Apis bees), April 2010 & 2009; Entomological Society of America (ESA), Eastern Branch, March 2010; May 2009 Graduate Student Symposium; December 2009 ESA national meeting; Shenandoah Valley Beekeepers, April 2009. Two programs are posted online: introduction (8300 views), fruit and berry (3400 views).
  • Hands-on workshops at the Virginia Tech Apiary with the New River Valley Beekeepers Association's Beginners Beekeeping class, March 2009&10.
  • Native Seed Propagation Workshop, spring 2008


  • Bee Pollinators of Southwest Virginia, developed for an award presentation (the Kosztarab Scholarship), May 2010, on (9600 views).
  • Insect Pollination of Goldenrod on
  • Native Plant Garden for Pollinators, 2008, at the Virginia Tech Apiary Garden, online here.
  • Native Hedgerow: Cultivating Diversity to Replace Old Barriers, 2006, for Frederick County Maryland Cooperative Extension demonstration garden, online here.
Chapters in Books
  • Hofling, C.A., F.F. Tesucun and N.L. Adamson. 1997. "Appendix A: Flora Taxonomy" and "Appendix B: Fauna Taxonomy" in Itzaj Maya Spanish English Dictionary by C.A. Hofling and F.F. Tesucun. University of Utah Press: Salt Lake City.
Book Edited and Updated for Republication
  • Office of International Trade, U.S. Small Business Administration, 1988. Exporter's Guide to Federal Resources for Small Businesses. US Government Printing Office: Washington D.C.
Articles in Newsletters
  • Adamson, N., T. Ward, and M. Vaughan. 2011. Windbreaks designed with pollinators in mind. Inside Agroforestry 20(1): 8-10.
  • Adamson, N.L. 2007. "Finding Flavor with a Walk in the Wild" article in Sierra Club New River Group newsletter, fall (revised from earlier publication by the Frederick News Post 2004 and Native Plant Society of New Jersey newsletter 2002).
  • Adamson, N.L. 2003. "Summer Sweethearts (summer blooming & fruiting plants that support mid-Atlantic wildlife)" published in the summer newsletter of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey.
  • Adamson, N.L. 2001. "Where Do Grasses Fit in the Forests of the Mid-Atlantic?" published in the winter newsletter of Adkins Arboretum, a revision of an article entitled "Some Thoughts About Grasses and Their Companions," published in the Maryland Native Plant Society's newsletter Native News, Vol.6, No.3, Summer 1998 issue.
  • Adamson, N.L. 2001. "Nursery News (introducing local ecotype native plants propagated at Adkins Arboretum)" published in the summer Adkins Arboretum newsletter.


  • Adamson, N.L. 1986. "Area Profiles of El Blad and Erragba," prepared for Save the Children, Tunisia 1986. Documented local perceptions of natural and human resources to strengthen long-term land-use planning.
  • Adamson, N.L. 1992. "Cultivating Colors for Cultural Diversity" (unpublished). With a grant from the Organization for Tropical Studies, researched natural fiber and dye plants used for traditional arts among the Cabecar indigenous peoples and a pilot community development project coordinated by CARE.

Original Designs

  • Have developed a series of mid-Atlantic native plant note cards with digitally manipulated photographs, watercolor prints and linoleum block prints, often including geographic province or other interesting information, such as insect use of the plants. Series includes Cimicifuga racemosa, Monarda fistulosa, Tripsacum dactyloides, Betula sp., Quercus sp., Gentiana andrewsii, Prenanthes autumnalis, Dioscorea sp., Chelone sp., Mitella diphylla, Liatris pilosa, Dryopteris marginalis, Cornus florida, Hamamelis virginiana, Clematis virginiana, Sassafras albidum, and Rhododendron periclymenoides.

Teaching Manual Reviewed & Edited

  • Thompson, L.R. 2006. An Introduction to the Ecology of Maryland's Native Plants, 2006 Edition: Coastal Plain and Piedmont. University of Maryland Master Gardener Program, Advanced Training Program.

MD Cooperative Extension Articles
Newspaper Articles. Published in the Frederick News-Post as feature stories or the by-line "Naturally Yours" in a tri-weekly column shared with the Master Gardeners and the Agriculture and Dairy Extension staff. Circulation is about 50,000.

  • Adamson, N.L. 2004. "Finding Flavor with a Walk in the Wild (mid-Atlantic native berries, fragrant leaves and flavorful twigs in winter)" published in fall 2004 in the Frederick News-Post, a revision of the original article published in the Native Plant Society of New Jersey newsletter, winter 2002.
  • Adamson, N.L. 2005. "Winter Wanderings: Supporting Wildlife and Adding Beauty to Your Winter Landscape" in the Farm and Garden Section of the Frederick News-Post, February 7, 2005.
  • Adamson, N.L. 2005. "Do You Love to Volunteer?" in the Farm and Garden Section of the Frederick News-Post, September 26, 2005.
  • Adamson, N.L. 2005. "Garden Secrets: Native Summer Blooming and Fruiting Plants" in the Farm and Garden Section of the Frederick News-Post, July 25, 2005.
  • Adamson, N.L. 2005. "Native Hedgerow: Cultivating Diversity to Replace Old Barriers" in the Farm and Garden Section of the Frederick News-Post, December 5, 2005.
  • Adamson, N.L. 2005. "Supporting a New Kind of Garden" in the Readers Say Thanks Section of the Frederick News-Post, December 18, 2005.
  • Adamson, N.L. 2005. "Become a Master Gardener" in the Farm and Garden Section of the Frederick News-Post, January 9, 2006.

Invited Talks & Other Contacts
Made presentations on native plants to the Frederick Master Gardeners (open to the public), the Baltimore City Master Gardeners and the Frederick Men’s club. Gave a campus tour of woody plants for the Master Gardener Annual Training Day. Responded to approximately 1200 individuals with walk-in, phone and e-mail questions about home gardening and pest management.



Helped run outreach programs for elementary school children visiting Virginia Tech Entomology with the W. S. Alwood Society, the entomology club of VT

Departmental Committees

Have served on Social, Space, and Scholarship Committees, Entomology Department, Virginia Tech

Memberships & Activities

  • Maintain the perennial bed at Dunleith Community Garden, Greensboro, NC
  • Donated plants and am helping to revamp a native hedgerow demonstration garden with the Frederick, MD, Master Gardeners
  • W. S. Alwood Society, VT Entomology Department graduate students -- Helped coordinate honey extraction for annual fundraiser, created and maintain listserv
  • Entomological Society of America, Eastern Branch--Organized Vincent Van Roach outreach program for It's a Bugs World event, 2010
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Gamma Sigma Delta (the Honor Society of Agriculture)
  • DiscoverLife International Center for Public Heath and Environmental Research
  • Society for Ecological Restoration
  • New River Valley (NRV) Virginia Chapter, Sierra Club--Created and maintain an NRVOutdoorsEtc listserv; lead hikes periodically; participate in river and trail clean-ups
  • NRV Bird Club--Led native plant hike for annual bird meeting
  • Maryland and Virginia Native Plant Societies--Led propagation workshop, 2008; donated and maintain native plants in a wildflower meadow project at Pandapas Pond, 2008&09, and in pollinator garden, 2008-2011
  • NRV Beekeepers--Helped maintain website and help with various workshops


Conferences & Workshops

  • Conference on Higher Education, 2009&10, Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, Virginia Tech
  • 3rd Annual Virginia Berry Conference, 2010
  • Bee Identification Workshop, 2007, US Geological Survey Bee Monitoring Lab, MD
  • Fourth International Congress of Ethnobotany, 2005, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Ethnobotany Symposium, 2005, co-sponsored by the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, Frostburg State University and West Virginia University at Rocky Gap, MD
  • Lahr Symposium on Native Plants, 2005, U.S. National Arboretum (attended periodically since 1995, presented native grass program in 1999)
  • Maryland Association of Outdoor and Environmental Educators Conference, 2002&04
  • Horticultural Therapy Seminar, 2004, American Horticultural Therapy Association, DC
  • Revitalizing Land & Restoring Communities, 2004, Charlottesville, VA
  • Youth Garden Symposium, 2003, American Horticultural Society
  • Millersville Native Plants in the Landscape Conferences, 1997-2003, PA
  • Bryology (mosses & liverworts) Course, 2003, Highlands Biological Station, NC
  • Natural Heritage Regional Conference, 2002
  • Sedge Conference, Delaware, 2002
  • Maine Audubon Field Ornithology course, 2001
  • Greenhouse Management Short-course, Maryland Cooperative Extension, Wye Research Station, MD
  • Eastern Native Grasses Conference, 1999, MD
  • Prairie Conference, 1999, Iowa
  • Orion Society Fire and Grit: Working for Nature in Community, 1999
  • Invasive Species Conference, 1999, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania
  • Landscaping with Native Plants, 1998, Cullowhee, North Carolina
  • Society for Ecological Restoration Conference, 1997, Texas

Maryland Cooperative Extension (MCE) Training

  • Forestry Correspondence Course, Maryland Cooperative Extension, 2005
  • MCE Agriculture In-Service Training, Bowie, 2005
  • Digital Picture Training, Western Maryland Research & Education Center (WMREC), 2005 MCE
  • Annual Meeting, WMREC, 2005
  • Individual Extension Plan Training, WMREC, 2005
  • Master Gardener Grant Workshops, 2005
  • Performance Review & Development Workshop, WMREC, 2005
  • Pesticide Training, Washington County MCE office, 2005
  • Volunteer Policy Training -- attended 4-H training provided by Frederick MCE staff in Frederick and MCE training by Debbie Bowman at the 4-H Center, 2005
  • Viticulture In-Service Training, Virginia & Maryland Cooperative Extension, VA, 2005
  • Bay-Wise Training, Thorpewood and Frederick MCE office, 2005
  • Master Gardener Annual Training Day, College Park, 2005
  • Curriculum Vitae Training, WMREC, 2005
  • MCE Annual Meeting, Timonium, MD, 2005
  • Global Positioning System and Plant Diagnostics Training, College Park, MD, 2005


Conversant in oral and written French and Spanish. Also studied German, Russian, Indonesian and Arabic.

COMPUTER SKILLS Conversant in Office Suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access); ArcMap; SAS JMP and SAS; iPhoto and iMovie; Adobe Photoshop, Pagemaker, and Dreamweaver; and EndNote.

Updated: 8 October 2012

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