DES MOINES, Iowa - Blank Park Zoo’s Plant.Grow.Fly. and several partners are building a pollinator garden at the Iowa State Capitol on June 16.
“This garden will include a diversity of Iowa native plant species that will support pollinators as well as serve as a demonstration garden to inspire more plantings around the state,” said Jessie Lowry, conservation manager, Blank Park Zoo. “Pollinators, like butterflies and bees, are responsible for helping to produce one - third of the global food supply.”
Four raised beds, on the northeast side of the Statehouse, will be planted with flowering plants and grasses that will provide food and breeding resources for pollinators, like the monarch butterfly. Iowa is the heart of the summer breeding range for the monarch. According to Monarch Watch, monarch populations have declined over 90 percent in the past twenty years. The garden at the Iowa Capitol Complex will include milkweed, the host plant of the monarch butterfly; the only plant on which they can lay their eggs and their caterpillars can eat.
“We are pleased to partner with Blank Park Zoo to have this butterfly garden on the Capitol Complex,” said Janet Phipps, director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services.
Several other local partners joined forces to make this garden possible including: City of Des Moines Park and Recreation, Cherry Glen Learning Farms, Des Moines Founders Garden Club, Edible Outdoors – Des Moines, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Pheasants Forever, Polk County Conservation, Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District, Prairie Landscapes of Iowa.
June is National Pollinator Month, created to bring attention to the decline of pollinators and inspire the planting of gardens to help them recover.
There will be a photo opportunity with Iowa lawmakers and partners at 11 a.m. at the garden.
To learn more about how to plant a pollinator garden at your home, go toplantgrowfly.com.
About Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission rates are $14 for an adult, $8 for a child (3-12 years), and $11 for a senior. Children two years and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at http://www.blankparkzoo.com. The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.
Blank Park Zoo’s Plant.Grow.Fly. is a collaboration of 50 local, regional and national organizations working to increase habitat for pollinators, like butterflies and bees. To date, almost 900 gardens have been registered with the project. Learn more about Plant.Grow.Fly. at www.plantgrowfly.com.