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    Silos & Smokestacks partners with Main Street on “Project Pollinator”

    WATERLOO, Iowa – Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) is partnering with Main Street Waterloo (MSW) to improve the habitat for pollinators in downtown Waterloo.


    “The flowers are going to look a little different in downtown Waterloo this year but they 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.”


    Ten corner planters on East Fourth Street, from Sycamore to Mulberry Streets, will be filled with a variety of flowers that offer pollinator insects an alternative food source. Plants include Zinnias, Salvia, Lantana, Alyssum, Moss roses, Calibrachoa, and Butterfly weed.


    “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 being 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 from four inches to 24 inches tall. 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.”


    SSNHA and MSW will have help planting flowers. Fifty-eight 2nd graders from Cedar Valley Catholic Schools (CVCS) will join the two organizations to plant the flowers at 1 p.m. on May 21. CVCS plans to make “Project Pollinator” its annual 2nd grade community service project.


    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 along with a complete list of flowers planted on Fourth Street.


    According to Miller, the Midwest is a prime zone for supporting monarch butterflies and all nine of the National Heritage areas in the Midwest have committed to improving pollinator habitats.


    “We know a lot is already done in Iowa,” said Miller. “We encourage people to sign the pledge and record their efforts so we can show the National Park Service all the things Iowans are doing to support pollinators.”

    SSNHA is one of 49 federally designated heritage areas in the nation and is Affiliated Area of the National Park Service. The Heritage Area covers 37 counties in central and northeast Iowa. Through a network of sites, programs and events, SSNHA interprets farm life, agribusiness, and rural communities—past and present. For more information, visit




    Topics: Press Releases