McKinley Corbley from writes: 

As honeybee populations continue to dwindle in the United States, this small town in Iowa is starting a groundbreaking initiative to save the precious pollinators.

The 1,000 Acre Pollinator Initiative in Cedar Rapids is a campaign to populate 1,000 acres of the local area with wildflowers and prairie grasses essential to honeybee survival.

County park officials in collaboration with the Monarch Research Project hope that restoring the insect’s natural habitat will help combat the damaging effects of pesticides and climate change on honeybee populations.

The project will begin in the spring with the seeding of 188 acres of unused public land, including park corners, golf courses, sewage ditches, water retention basins, and roadway medians. The seed mixture is a robust combination of 39 different native wildflower species and seven different prairie grasses. The initiative is projected to be completed over the course of five years.

The state has already allocated over $180,000 for the start of the project, with more fundraising expected in the coming years.

“When you convert it back to what was originally native Iowa, you’re going to help a lot more than just native pollinators,” Cedar Rapids Park Superintendent Daniel Gibbins told Popular Science.  “You’re helping birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals—everything that’s native here relies on native vegetation.”

About the Author

McKinley Corbley: Editor and writer for GNN; part-time circus junkie; and part-time English student in community college. Enjoys feminism, bad puns, travel, and copious amounts of stomach-ache inducing pasta.