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Zoo and 10 organizations combine forces, introducing a state-wide initiative to bring back native pollinators including butterflies and bees.

For Immediate Release

DES MOINES, Iowa (April 7, 2014) – Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo is teaming up with 10 organizations to introduce Plant.Grow.Fly., a conservation initiative to bring back native pollinators. This project encourages community members to plant pollinator habitat in yards, schools and businesses.

This initiative is backed by several organizations including: Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Science Center of Iowa, Drake University, Polk County Conservation, Warren County Conservation, Madison County Conservation, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and DMACC West Campus as well as a national program, Monarch Joint Venture.

“One-third of our global food supply depends on pollinators and much of our world's biodiversity relies on the services they provide. Pollinators, like butterflies and bees, are declining at an alarming rate in our rapidly changing environment,” said Jessie Lowry, Blank Park Zoo’s Conservation Coordinator.

Lowry said the Plant.Grow.Fly. project is developing a gardening how-to guide that can be found at

“Insects are an integral part of our environment, making more resources available will help to insure the survival of these amazing animals,” said Nathan Brockman, Butterfly Wing Curator at Reiman Gardens.

“Using region-specific garden recipes, you can plant the flowers and grasses that benefit our local species the most,” said Lowry. “We believe that no effort is too small and that each of us can do our part to preserve the biodiversity around us - just by planning gardens in our yards.”

Photos of butterflies and the Plant.Grow.Fly logo can be found here:
Plant.Grow.Fly website can be found here:

About Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. seven days a week through April. Beginning May 1, Blank Park Zoo’s summer hours will be 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission rates are $11 for an adult, $6 for a child (3-12 years), and $9 for a senior. Children two years and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at . The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.

About Reiman Gardens

Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens is a 17-acre botanical garden featuring more than 30 individual gardens, including rose, herb, home production and children’s gardens. An indoor complex houses the Hughes Conservatory with the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing, a tropical garden with hundreds of live butterflies from six continents, and the Gift Shop.

Reiman Gardens is open 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with extended summer hours. Admission is free for members and Iowa State University students. The general public pays $8 for adults, $7 for seniors 65+ and $4 for kids ages 4-17. Reiman Gardens is located at 1407 University Blvd. Ames, IA, and can be reached at 515-294-2710 or

About Warren County Conservation

The Warren County Conservation Board currently manages over 2,200 acres of land for the benefit of its citizens, including 13 parks and trails. Visitors can enjoy outdoor education and recreation opportunities on areas being conserved for this generation and generations to come. The WCCB is headquartered at the Annett Nature Center, which features variety of interpretive displays and live animal exhibits. The Annett Nature Center is open Monday-Friday from 8:00a.m.-4:30p.m. and Sundays (March-October) from12:00p.m.-4:00p.m. You can find Warren County Conservation and the Annett Nature Center online at

About Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

On January 1, 2013 the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden launched a new beginning.  After years of planning, a bold vision, generous community support and a new staff, the Botanical Garden assumed operatorship of the iconic geodesic conservatory and 14 acres of land bordering the Des Moines River.  Armed with a mission of exploring, explaining and celebrating the world of plants, we are a garden now.  The Botanical Garden is a 501(c)(3) privately governed, not-for-profit institution with ten years of operating support at $645,000 per year from the City of Des Moines, Des Moines Water Works and Bravo Greater Des Moines. In addition, Phase II fundraising will grow the total endowment to $3.6 million.

About other organizations as needed

About Drake University
Drake University, a midsized, private university in Des Moines, is recognized as one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the Midwest, ranked among the top schools for educational quality and value. Drake offers more than 70 majors, minors, and concentrations, and 20 graduate degrees through six colleges and schools that prepare students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments, and responsible global citizenship. Learn more online at


Des Moines Area Community College, a public institution serving the educational and career training needs of Iowans, is committed to the lifelong success of its students. As Iowa’s largest two-year college, DMACC offers 153 programs, certificates and transfer degrees, annually serving more than 75,000 credit and noncredit students on six campuses and in five learning centers. Thanks to college-wide innovation, new programs and affordable tuition, DMACC has experienced record growth and is the 15th fastest growing two-year college in America. For more information, please

About Madison County Conservation Board
The Madison County Conservation Board manages over 2,000 acres and 13 county parks and natural resource areas in Madison County, Iowa.  Through environmental education and natural resource management, the board and its employees provide outdoor recreational opportunities such as camping, hiking, water trails and premier hunting and fishing locations to bring citizens in contact with their natural resources.  MCCB offices are located just south of Winterset on Clark Tower Road.  For more information, maps, and services offered visit or call 462-3536.


About Monarch Joint Venture
The Monarch Joint Venture (MJV) is a partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs that are working together to support and coordinate efforts to protect the monarch migration across the lower 48 United States. The MJV is committed to a science-based approach to monarch conservation work, guided by the North American Monarch Conservation Plan (2008).


About the Science Center of Iowa & Blank IMAX Dome Theater:

The Science Center of Iowa engages and inspires Iowans along their journey of lifelong science learning. The 110,000-sq. ft facility located in Downtown Des Moines features dynamic experience platforms, large format theaters and daily interactive science demonstrations. Through daily visitors, a statewide educational outreach programs and the NAEYC-accredited SCI Preschool, the Science Center of Iowa serves more than 300,000 people annually.

Polk County Conservation

Explore more than 13,000 acres of prairies, wetlands, woodlands, trials, and parks. Located in the state’s most populated county, Polk County Conservation manages 20 parks, wildlife areas, and recreational trails. Polk County Conservation offers the public year-round education and recreation programs, volunteer opportunities and trips. Allow us to provide you with beautiful parks and wildlife areas, along with educational experiences what will add to your knowledge about conservation and the protection of Polk County’s natural heritage. We have something for everyone…Plan a family picnic, golf 18 holes on a championship course, canoe down the river, reel in a trophy fish, ride horseback along Saylorville Lake, use public hunting areas, or get some exercise biking on a multi-use trail.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources – leading Iowans in caring for our natural resources.


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