Dr. Katherine Burns

A joyful ecologist with a passion for getting people excited about this glorious planet that we live on, especially all of the “little things that run the world.”

Researcher and science communicator currently based at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, where I am conducting an inventory of the state’s bee and other pollinator species as part of the Rhode Island Pollinator Atlas.

Formerly based in the Stanley Ecology Lab at University College Dublin, Ireland.


I recently conducted my PhD (2017 – 2021) on the contributions of insect pollinators to the pollination of Irish crops, the public perceptions of pollinators, and how managed and wild pollinators interact in natural areas


I have participated in science communication and public engagement work for over a decade in varying capacities, including several high-profile events and competitions


Pollinator Atlas Entomologist

November 2022 – Present

Lead on the Rhode Island Pollinator Atlas, an effort to inventory the state’s wild, native insect pollinators. Contractor based at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Research Technician

April-July 2017

Studied the foraging behaviors of native wild bumblebees with the Williams Lab at the University of California, Davis (USA)

Pollination Ecology Intern

March – September 2016

Conducted a study on the habitat preferences of a rare native bee species with the Plant and Insect Ecology Programs at Archbold Biological Station in Florida, USA

Seasonal Biologist

September-November 2015

Monitored Monarch Butterfly populations and conducted educational public outreach programs on butterfly biology and conservation with the Monarch Monitoring Project at the Cape May Bird Observatory (New Jersey, USA)

Research Technician

May-August 2015

Surveyed bumblebee populations in Eldorado National Forest (California, USA) with the Bumblebee Monitoring Project at the Institute for Bird Populations

Research Technician

May-August 2014

Observed native bee species in blueberry fields as part of the Native Bee and Crop Pollination Project in the Ricketts Lab at the University of Vermont (USA)

Project Intern

May-August 2013

Monitored rare shorebirds and conducted educational public outreach on shorebird conservation with the Piping Plover and Least Tern Monitoring Project at the Maine Audubon Society (USA)

Found an interesting insect and want to share it with someone?
Want to learn more about insect pollinators and how to protect them?
Interested in hiring me to come speak at a school or event?
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