Pollinator Pilot Project

Welcome, and thank you for visiting our pollinator page!

Community members have come together in Sioux County to reintroduce pollinator habitat to our beautiful countryside and city landscapes. When we speak of "pollinator habitat" we are referring to the native tall grass prairie that once called Iowa home prior to European settlement. A wide variety of grasses and forbs (flowering plants) are what make up the tall grass prairie, and that prairie is home to beneficial insects, birds, and other life. These insects help flowers and other plants with pollination, a critical step impacting much of our nation's food production. Check out this simple graphic that explains the process.

We believe this kind of habitat will not only benefit insects, but benefit us as well. Think about what prairies have done for us historically. Repetitive decomposition of this massive amount of material over thousands of years has built up our highly productive and fertile soils here in Sioux County, allowing generations to prosper. And what was that incident that happened in the 40's?

Milkweed was collected by children across the country to fill life preservers worn by sailors during World War Two. Life preservers had historically been filled with floss from the kapok tree in the West Indies. However, Japan took control of those territories during the war, which forced us to look elsewhere. We turned to milkweed because its floss is buoyant and water repellant, making it an excellent substitute. Milkweed gets a bad reputation because of its name, but it serves an important role for pollinators in the tall grass prairie habitat. Click on the Milkweed link under "Favorite Forbs" on the right to learn more!
Although we probably won't be filling life preservers with milkweed again, native prairies and their plants still have a role to play in Sioux County. The pilot project looks to seed roadsides to native prairie in areas that make sense. This means the ditches aren't already being baled, the neighboring landowners are supportive, and the ditch is due for a cleanout and reseeding anyway.
Whether it's creating habitat for pollinators, reconnecting with Sioux County's heritage, or just wanting to see more color in the countryside, we encourage you to find a reason to plant natives and get involved with our project. Click the links below to see what YOU can do to help pollinators! Thank you!