Episode 11 with pollinator scientists Dr. Valerie Peters and Dr. Jackie Grant!

Recent studies have found insect populations to be declining globally at rapid and alarming rates, likely impacting the many vital ecological services they provide. Pollinator decline, in particular, is a massive concern because of the potential impacts it will have on food production, human health, and ecosystem functioning, including the capacity of plants to provide essential services such as sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. But it’s not just about us. 75% of all flowering plants on earth rely on pollinators to reproduce, and those plants provide the foundation for countless food webs. Please join two Earthwatch-supported scientists—Dr. Valerie Peters, who leads Conserving Wild Bees and Other Pollinators of Costa Rica, and Dr. Jacqualine (Jackie) Grant, who will soon be leading one of our newest research expeditions in Utah that will focus on conserving native plants and pollinators. Valerie and Jackie will share their research on this often underappreciated, misunderstood, yet incredibly vital “guild” of pollinators that help make our planet—from the rainforests to the deserts—function.

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Thank you to Eastern Bank for sponsoring Episode 11!


Scientist Biographies


Dr. Valerie Peters

Dr. Valerie Peters
Assistant Professor of Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University

Dr. Valerie Peters is a community ecologist with over 20 years of experience working in the New World Tropics. Valerie received her Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Georgia. For her dissertation research Valerie studied how to best manage coffee plantations for biodiversity and ecosystem services, and she was the Principal Investigator for an Earthwatch expedition on Sustainable Coffee Production in Costa Rica from 2006 to 2009. Valerie recently joined the faculty in the Biology department at Eastern Kentucky University. Eastern Kentucky is home to the spectacular Red River Gorge, the Daniel Boone National Forest and many other great opportunities for hiking and exploring nature—Valerie’s favorite activity to do in her spare time.

Dr. Jacqualine Grant

Dr. Jacqualine Grant
Associate Professor of Biology, Southern Utah University

Dr. Jacqualine (Jackie) Grant is a long-time conservation biologist who loves Utah’s amazing landscapes, interesting people, and outstanding desert biodiversity. She teaches genetics and conservation biology, directs the Garth and Jerri Frehner Museum of Natural History, and manages the University of the Parks initiative at Southern Utah University.


Earthwatch's Pollinator Watch

Keep a lookout for Pollinator Watch!

Take part in a backyard- or community-based citizen science research project that aims to reduce the continued decline of pollinators around the world by engaging members of the public in data collection activities. 

Learn More



Earthwatch Pollinator T-shirt

Look good while doing good!

Pick up Earthwatch's new Pollinator t-shirt! 100% of the proceeds from t-shirt sales directly support Earthwatch’s research and conservation efforts around the world.



Featured Expedition




Conserving Wild Bees and Other Pollinators of Costa Rica

Bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators provide services that are critical to our future food security and the ecological health of the planet. Help scientists conserve these crucial species.

North America: San Luis de Monteverde and Las Cruces in Coto Brus, Costa Rica
Lead Scientist: Valerie Peters, Ph.D.
Duration: 7+ days (avg. $271 a day)


Earthwatch depends on donations—above and beyond what we raise from volunteers who participate on our expeditions—in order to deliver our global conservation mission. In fact, volunteer contributions provide only half of the total resources Earthwatch needs to sustain over 40 field research expeditions, a wide variety of educational programs, corporate sustainability trainings, and more each year.