The plan coming out of Cedar Rapids seeks to seed 188 acres with wild flowers and native prairie grasses. Eventually the city wants to seed 1,000 acres of bee habitats.
The 1,000 Acre Pollinator Initiative is a result of a partnership between the Monarch Research Project and Cedar Rapids.
While MRP’s goal is to restore the Monarch butterfly population, bees and butterflies are both experiencing a crisis due to the same causes and solutions to save both are very similar as well.
The project so far has secured $180,000 in funding from both the state and MRP.
Cedar Rapids Parks Superintendent, Daniel Gibbins writes,
You don’t need to have a thousand spare acres to help bees and butterflies. Even devoting a few square feet of your garden – or even a few small planters – to wild flowers native to your area could make a difference.
Stephen Buchmann, a Pollination Ecologist at the University of Arizona and author of The Reason for Flowers said,
When creating pollinator gardens, the most important thing is to have a big diversity of wild flowers and heirloom crops that bloom in the spring, summer, and fall.
Hopefully, more initiatives like the one in Cedar Rapids will start to spring up around the country. But we cannot ignore the cause of the bee and butterfly decline which is of course, largely due, to pesticides and herbicides. At some point, these substances are going to have to be banned or drastically reduced before there is no reason to bother using them.