Eastern Iowa plans to welcome more bees, butterflies thanks to a - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Eastern Iowa plans to welcome more bees, butterflies thanks to added habitat

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Eastern Iowa could soon be home to more bees and butterflies with 1,000 acres being devoted to making a paradise habitat for pollinators. 

Cedar Rapids is taking the initiative after learning large portions of bees and other pollinators have left the state, telling us they are essential to our health.

This is the first year of the five year project but the city is getting an ambitious start.

Soon land along the Sac and Fox Trail as well as other land in Linn County will be seeded and turned into a prairie. 

Cedar Rapids Parks Superintendent Daniel Gibbins says pollinators aren't just butterflies and bees, "Even bats, some birds but there are so many insects that are pollinators," he says. 

 "When the farming boom came in the 1800's all the prairies were lost just about, 70% of Iowa was prairie originally," Gibbins tells us. 

He says having pollinators around is important to our health. 
 "I like to say you can't have healthy people without healthy pollinators because pollinators interact so much with our environment, so much with the foods we eat and our overall health," Gibbins says. 

The city has teamed up with the Monarch Research Project for this effort. 

Linn County Conservation and Marion are helping with the 1,000 acre goal. 

"When you lose so much of the native habitat that they rely on then they go away," Gibbins told us. 

Together, they hope to seed 340 acres this year alone which is around 1/3 of their overall goal. 

This project is being done outside of city and county budgets thanks to grants and private donors. 

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