Eastern Iowa Group Working To Protect Bees
The bee population has been on the decline. You may not realize it, but bees are extremely important when it comes to our ecosystem and food supply. Now, an Eastern Iowa project is fighting to help save them.
As reported by Popular Science, Cedar Rapids will seed 188 acres with native prairie grasses and wildflowers this Spring. The city's plan is to eventually create 1,000 acres of bee habitats over the next half-decade. The 1,000 Acre Pollinator Initiative was started by Cedar Rapids Park Superintendent Daniel Gibbins. So far, Gibbins has secured $180,000 in funding from the state and the Monarch Research Project, which helps protect Monarch butterfly populations.
Gibbins' team has graphed all the unused public land--nearly 500 acres--where they could potentially plant the flowers and grasses. Cedar Rapids is working with other cities within Linn County to reach its 1,000-acre target.
Gibbins explained the importance of the project to PopSci.com:
When you convert it back to what was originally native Iowa, you're going to help a lot more than just native pollinators. You're helping birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals—everything that's native here relies on native vegetation.
Certain bee species, like the rusty-patched bumblebee, have seen their numbers diminish by nearly 90%, and President Obama declared them endangered before leaving office in January.
According to the New York Times, this designation will help preserve bee habitats and reduce the usage of pesticides.
You might only think of bees as pests that buzz and sting you, but a large percentage of our food source comes from pollination--so taking action to protect them helps all of us. And, more plants and flowers means more food for other animals, too. Bees have a very important role in maintaining this relationship. It's wild to think that someone in our little part of the country can be doing so much good just by planting some flowers.
Spring is coming soon, which means blossoms, blooms (and bees) will show up before you know it. Click here for help to create your very own bee nest.