DES MOINES, Iowa - The number of restoration initiatives to save the monarch butterfly population continues to increase in Iowa, with Blank Park Zoo throwing its hat into the ring.
The zoo announced Tuesday a partnership with 39 local, regional and national organizations to encourage Iowans to plant butterfly gardens to help support declining pollinators like the monarch. The announcement comes just ahead of National Pollinator Week, an annual event hosted by the U.S. Senate and Department of Agriculture, to raise awareness about the issue of declining pollinator populations.
Blank Park Zoo's pollinator conservation program, "Plant.Grow.Fly.," helps gardeners plant a garden that attracts and supports pollinators like the monarch and the honey bee. The zoo says more than a third of our global food supply depends on pollinators, and the U.S. benefits from more than $15 billion in agricultural crops each year thanks to the pollination of honey bees alone.
“Once gardens are planted and hands are dirty, participants can register their garden with Plant.Grow.Fly. We send them a certificate and recognize their garden on the zoo’s website. To date, we have 277 registered butterfly gardens, from across Iowa and the surrounding states.” said conservation manager, Jessie Lowry, in a news release.
With partners like the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Sierra Club, Drake University, and the Iowa Environmental Council, the zoo hopes to see more than 500 pollinator gardens registered with its program by year's end. You can learn more about the program here.