monarch1We are now a partner with the Blank Park Zoo’s program Plant. Grow. Fly. 

Blank Park Zoo announced a new conservation initiative to help protect our native pollinators! They believe that no effort is too small and that each and every one of us can do our part to help pollinators thrive just by planting butterfly gardens in our yards!

Pollinators are in decline due to a variety of reasons including global climate change, loss of habitat and feeding resources, and some modern agricultural practices. Butterflies, for instance, require large corridors of suitable habitat to navigate between nectar sources.  Our increasing rates of development and expanding networks of roads have presented them with formidable challenges. According to Monarch Watch, butterflies lose habitat areas equivalent to the size of Illinois every 16 years – that’s an average of 2.2 million acres lost per year.

Butterflies require not only connecting high quality swaths of habitat, but also specific types of plants that help them to feed and reproduce: nectar plants and host plants, respectively.  Each species of butterfly has specific sets of needs these plants must meet to be used. In Iowa, the majority of our butterflies need region-specific grassland plants. However, these plants are just as threatened as the butterflies they help: since European settlement, Iowa has lost more than 99.9% of its native tallgrass prairie. Iowa butterflies – and the habitats in which they live – need our help. 

You can join Plant.Grow.Fly. by creating a much-needed pollinator habitat at your home, school or even place of work! Register your garden today, http://www.blankparkzoo.com/.

Whether you plant a single pot on your back porch or an entire prairie field, YOU can make a difference! Pollinators need our help… Let’s get down and dirty, plant the seeds and watch them grow and fly!