Protecting Iowa Pollinators

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00:02 populations of pollinators like bees and

00:05 butterflies are declining and that could

00:08 spell trouble for our ecosystem and food

00:10 supply

00:10 several Iowa organizations are

00:13 determined to reverse the trend and

00:15 hopes to get you involved

00:19 native pollinators are very important to

00:22 humans and every animal in our ecosystem

00:25 one-third of our global food supply is

00:28 directly related to pollination but a

00:30 variety of pollinating insects like bees

00:33 and butterflies are disappearing at

00:35 alarming rate many things are happening

00:38 happening to pollinators things like

00:41 global climate change disease some

00:44 modern agricultural and landscaping

00:46 practices but most of all loss of

00:49 habitat loss of nectar sources which is

00:52 their food resource and host plants

00:55 which is how they can reproduce milkweed

00:58 is the host plant for monarch

00:59 butterflies it's the only plan in which

01:01 they can lay their eggs and milkweed is

01:04 the only plant their caterpillars can

01:06 eat monarchs have an iconic migration

01:09 pattern they winter in Mexico and they

01:11 move up through the central United

01:13 States generation by generation over the

01:16 spring and summer until a super

01:18 butterfly is born that flies all the way

01:20 from the Upper Midwest back to Mexico so

01:24 you can imagine in all those different

01:25 landscapes there's lots of different

01:27 stressors that the monarch populations

01:29 are facing how to establish those

01:31 conservation practices that can increase

01:33 habitat and underutilized areas and

01:36 rural landscapes so we can grow corn and

01:38 soybeans and cows and pigs and we can

01:40 grow monarchs at the same time trying to

01:43 find that sweet spot a small backyard

01:46 garden even a pot can be like a gas

01:49 station for these insects to stop as

01:51 they travel between larger swathes of

01:53 appropriate habitat so blank Park Zoo

01:56 created the plant grow fly program to

02:00 encourage planting specialized butterfly

02:02 gardens of any size anywhere our plant

02:05 lists are plants that you can easily

02:07 find in a greenhouse that will thrive in

02:09 a backyard garden that are relatively

02:11 inexpensive and will look nice because

02:14 people aren't as used to seeing native

02:17 gardens as they are used to seeing those

02:19 exotic plants that we traditionally use

02:21 in landscaping but the good thing is

02:24 they can look beautiful you can make

02:26 them look manicured or you can make them

02:28 look more wild and they're going to

02:30 require a lot

02:31 maintenance the Prairie system at Neal

02:33 Smith Wildlife Refuge wouldn't be able

02:36 to survive and reproduce without

02:37 pollinators last year the refuge grew

02:40 40,000 native plants in its greenhouse

02:42 to help give Iowans a jumpstart I'm

02:45 planting large gardens and patches of

02:47 prairie towards people for pollinators

02:49 program we just try to get as much

02:52 diversity of plants as we can we try to

02:54 get plants that bloom through the

02:57 seasons

02:58 so from spring through fall there are

03:00 certain bee species that are active that

03:04 whole season and then others that are

03:06 active for only a short period this is a

03:08 big important area for breeding

03:10 butterflies monarchs but also for

03:13 migrating monarchs and so you need to

03:16 have be sure there are plants blooming

03:19 when of monarchs are migrating through

03:22 the Iowa monarch conservation consortium

03:25 is working on ways to collaborate with

03:27 the agriculture community on common

03:30 goals in rural landscapes

03:31 there are even grants and farmville

03:34 programs that can help farmers get

03:35 involved we're working hard in the state

03:38 of Iowa to advance our nutrient

03:39 reduction strategy and so there's an

03:42 increase in the amount of farmers

03:43 putting in bio reactors and saturated

03:45 buffers and so one of the efforts of the

03:48 consortium is how to link up these

03:49 different activities so today I just

03:51 clean grass on top of a bioreactor let's

03:53 put monarch habitat on top of that

03:55 bioreactor so we can improve water

03:58 quality and grow monarchs at the same

04:00 time on the same footprint and those

04:02 flowering plants that we're picking

04:03 we're picking them to also be sure that

04:06 they're attractive to native bees during

04:09 the peak of monarch migration which is

04:11 usually mid-september niala several

04:13 groups help tag monarchs for research

04:15 volunteers catch the butterflies and

04:18 attach a small sticker with information

04:20 on it and hopefully

04:22 this little girl will be found in Mexico

04:24 we can track the migration I know that

04:26she came from blank Park Zoo

04:29 let her go it's going to take empowering

04:35 schoolchildren and a change in mindset

04:38 about what a garden is for it's not just

04:42 for humans to think something is

04:43 beautiful it is habitat for for animals

04:47 and a successful pollinator garden is a

04:50 garden that the league will be chewed up

04:52 they'll be larva presence there will be

04:55 predators presence there'll be this

04:57 whole ecosystem so that something

04:59 everybody can do to pitch in and it

05:01 really isn't all hands on on deck we

05:04 know agricultural acres landscape it's

05:07 going to be really important but even in

05:10 everything we did everything in

05:11 agricultural land it won't be enough

05:12 we need everybody pitching in and it's

05:14 kind of fun because it draws everybody

05:16 together in the state and with the same

05:18 same goal and I feel that pollinator

05:21 decline and monarch decline is kind of

05:24 like what happened with the bald eagle

05:26 we saw that something was wrong and we

05:28 needed to fix it and we were going to

05:29 lose this charismatic animal we made the

05:31 right decision and now we have bald

05:33 eagles I think that's going to happen in

05:35 the case of the monarch too

05:36[Music]

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Protecting Iowa Pollinators

The future of Iowa agriculture and ecosystems may hinge on the health of its pollinators. This video with IPTV's Iowa Outdoors explains why diverse habitat is needed to help pollinators across the state survive and thrive. Learn more about the role you can play in to support Iowa's butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, including interviews with:

  • Jessie Lowry, conservationist for Plant.Grow.Fly at Blank Park Zoo
  • Steven Bradbury, professor of Natural Resources Ecology and Management with Iowa State University
  • Karen Viste-Sparkman, wildlife biologist at Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge