Give Your Garden Wings

posted on Monday, June 27, 2016 logoAs an organization representing diverse individuals and organizations across the state working together to create a sustainable future for Iowa, the Iowa Environmental Council understands what can be achieved when a dedicated group of people join together for a common cause. We like to practice what we preach, and as such, we’re members of several state, regional and national coalitions. For the past three years, the Council has been a proud member of Plant.Grow.Fly an initiative led by Blank Park Zoo – an Iowa Environmental Council member organization – to raise awareness and action around pollinator issues in Iowa.

As a member of Plant.Grow.Fly, we’re part of a vast network of organizations including other non-profits, state and local agencies, colleges, universities and more, each with its own unique set of resources to help advance the coalition's mission. At the Council, we focus our Plant.Grow.Fly. efforts on building awareness, education and advocacy, utilizing our community of members, supporters, advocates and allies help advance policies that support pollinators.

Today, we’re pleased to present a guest blog from Blank Park Zoo Conservation Manager Jessie Lowry, who oversees Plant.Grow.Fly., who will share some additional information about the program, why it was created and how you can get involved on an individual level.

Jessie Lowry
BPZ Conservation Manager Jessie Lowry

Plant. Grow. Fly. is on a mission to bring back native pollinators like butterflies and bees.

Many people don’t realize that more than 1/3 of our global food supply depends on pollinators, and a large amount of the world’s biodiversity relies on the services they provide. However, butterflies and bees are in decline for a variety of reasons including: disease, global climate change, loss of habitat and feeding resources and some modern agricultural and landscaping practices.

Blank Park Zoo’s Plant.Grow.Fly. is a collaboration of nearly 50 local, regional and national organizations working together to encourage the planting of butterfly gardens. These gardens, consisting of host and nectar plants, provide pit-stops for pollinators as they navigate between larger swaths of suitable habitat.

From single pots on back porches to entire prairie restorations, over 600 gardens have been registered with the project since its formation in 2014. Here are a couple ways you can get involved today:

  • This year, Plant.Grow.Fly., Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, and the City of Des Moines successfully asked Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie to sign the Mayors for Monarchs Pledge. Mayor Cownie was the first mayor in Iowa to sign the pledge, committing to various conservation practices; many focused on the planting of milkweed, the monarch’s host plant, around the city of Des Moines. Find out how you can encourage your mayor to sign the pledge at
  • Iowa is in the heart of the summer breeding range for the monarch butterfly. Join Blank Park Zoo, Iowa Environmental Council and the many other Plant.Grow.Fly. partners in the fight to save this iconic butterfly. Plant a pollinator garden on your property, or if you rent, ask your landlord or property manager to consider planting pollinator habitat at your building – even a simple potted plant can make a big difference.
  • Visit the Plant.Grow.Fly website for more ideas.
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