Marketing & Communications Manager
Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area
Silos & Smokestacks partners with Main Street and Cedar Valley Catholic Schools on “Project Pollinator”
WATERLOO, Iowa (May 24. 2023) – Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) is once again partnering with Main Street Waterloo (MSW) and Cedar Valley Catholic Schools (CVCS) to improve the habitat for pollinators in downtown Waterloo.
“The flowers we are planting downtown will be exactly what is needed to strengthen and support pollinator habitats,” said Cara Miller, Silos & Smokestacks Executive Director. “Silos & Smokestacks wants to show that even urban areas can contribute to supporting agriculture.”
On May 23, nearly 50 second graders from Cedar Valley Catholic Schools descended on downtown Waterloo to plant the flowers. CVCS has made “Project Pollinator” its annual second grade community service project. In return, each second grader gets a plant to take home.
Twelve corner planters on East Fourth Street, from Sycamore to Mulberry Streets, are filled with a variety of flowers that offer pollinator insects an alternative food source. Plants include Salvia, Lantana, Alyssum, Moss roses, Calibrachoa, Pentas, Scentropia and Verbena.
“Pollinators are important because without them we would live in a world with less plants to be used for food and clothing,” said Laura Elfers, Silos & Smokestacks Educational Engagement Director. “The variety of flowers being used are commonly found in area greenhouses. We wanted to have examples so people could see they could do this at home, too.”
According to Elfers, the flowers used were chosen because they come in a multitude of different colors. Some insects prefer a certain color over others. Having multiple colors will benefit more than one species of pollinator. Height also comes in to play with some pollinator insects. These plants range in height. Some pollinators would rather be close to the ground while feeding while others like to be high and have a large open flower to provide a “landing strip.”
Area businesses and organizations can get involved by signing Silos & Smokestacks Pollinator Pledge. By signing the pledge citizens commit to a suggested list of activities that support the importance of pollinator habitat both restored and maintained on public and private lands. The pledge can be found at www.silosandsmokestacks.org/projectpollinator along with a complete list of flowers planted on Fourth Street.
Through a network of sites, programs and events, Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area tells the story of farm life and agribusiness—past and present. Visitors can learn about and experience agriculture at a variety of museums, historic sites, and farms. One of 63 federally designated heritage areas in the nation, Silos & Smokestacks is a member of the National Park Service National Heritage Area System. The heritage area covers 37 counties in the northeast quadrant of Iowa. To plan your visit or to learn more, visit www.silosandsmokestacks.org.
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Students from CVCS plant flowers to take home.
CVCS students received a pollinator-friendly plant to take home.
Each flower box holds a sign with educational information about pollinators.