JOHNSTON, Iowa — Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, brand products are synonymous with crops. However, it may come as a surprise that many agricultural crops are dependent on bees, moths and other insects and animals to help pollinate those crops. To celebrate National Pollinator Week and support pollinator health, employees at the Johnston, Iowa Corteva Agriscience campus are gathering on June 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to construct a Pollinator Demonstration Garden. A brief program will be conducted at 9:30 a.m. As part of the festivities, First Gentleman Kevin Reynolds, husband of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, will be on hand to help plant the garden and to promote his pollinator health and habitat platform.
Once established, the pollinator habitat will display examples of pollinator host plants, including a variety of flowering plants, shrubs and tree species. Additionally, a half-acre of prairie directly adjacent to the garden will display a pollinator habitat on a larger scale.
The Pollinator Demonstration Garden is not the first time that employees have aided in habitat establishment around campus. Last year, employees led efforts to implement more than six acres of highly-diverse prairie habitat along the bike path that runs through the Johnston campus. The site location was strategic. It was chosen because it’s aesthetically pleasing to path users, reduces water runoff into the adjacent stream, improves soil health, provides habitat for a range of organisms and increases plant biodiversity. In total, the campus has over 10 acres of pollinator habitat, and that number is growing.
“We take a holistic approach to improving pollinator health,” said Keri Carstens, global regulatory lead, Seed Applied Technologies and Biologicals, Corteva Agriscience. “While there are many things we can do to support bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, ensuring they have adequate habitat and plentiful food sources is fundamental.”
The idea for the Pollinator Demonstration Garden began more than a year ago. As a founding funder of the Honey Bee Health Coalition, Corteva Agriscience looked to expand its impact in the promotion of pollinator health. While hosting the Coalition’s Spring 2017 meeting at its Johnston campus, Corteva Agriscience scientists sought input from the diverse stakeholders that make up the Coalition. Plans were drawn up with experts at Iowa State University, United States Department of Agriculture and the Bee and Butterfly Fund, so the garden could showcase the most beneficial plant species for pollinators in a thoughtfully designed space.
Jamie Beyer, a beekeeper and a Lifetime Master Gardner from Boone, Iowa, who will be present for the project planting, is excited about this demonstration garden and the potential it has to showcase to the public the value of providing a wide range of habitat for pollinators. "This is not just about honey bees,” Beyer said. “It is all pollinators that need nectar plants."
A majority of the native prairie plugs will be donated by People for Pollinators at the Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge and will feature coneflower, milkweed, blazing star, bee balm, dogwood and herbs. This mix provides a variety of flower shapes, colors and bloom times.
Habitats such as these typically take three to five years to establish, but with the high-visibility of this location, Corteva Agriscience hopes that it will serve as an educational tool, as well. The purpose of the garden is to demonstrate the wide variety of plants that can be incorporated into home and farmstead landscaping, as well as into farm conservation practices such as windbreaks, waterways and buffer strips.
“We want to make everyone aware that they can do something,” Carstens said. “Whether you are a farmer, home-owner, apartment dweller or anything in between, there is something you can do to help pollinators.”
About Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont
Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont (NYSE: DWDP), is intended to become an independent, publicly traded company when the previously announced spinoff is complete by June 2019. The division combines the strengths of DuPont Pioneer, DuPont Crop Protection and Dow AgroSciences. Corteva Agriscience™ provides growers around the world with the most complete portfolio in the industry—including some of the most recognized brands in agriculture: Pioneer®, Encirca®, the newly launched Brevant™ Seeds, as well as award-winning Crop Protection products—while bringing new products to market through our solid pipeline of active chemistry and technologies. More information can be found at www.corteva.com.
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