BCLUW student takes bees seriously

May 20 marks World Bee Day and BCLUW High School Junior Zack Morris is taking it seriously.

With permissions from the Marshall, Hardin and Grundy County conservationists, Morris has planted bee lawns on conservation grounds to encourage an increase of bee populations in the area. He has signage along the roadways in the tri-county area reading “Dandelions are OK. Don’t Spray” encouraging people to not spray the yards with harmful chemicals as dandelions are one of the first food sources for bees once they emerge from the hives.

Morris said one of the reasons he is doing this project is to let people know that there are things they can do in the backyard to help promote more bees in the area.

“This started as a project for a Herbert Hoover college scholarship and turned into more,” Morris said. “With May 20 quickly approaching, I thought it might be good to get the word out with some helpful hints on things people can do on their own. This includes not spraying your yards, planting trees that attract bees, planting bee lawns in your backyard, supporting local bee farmers and donating to your county conservation offices to focus on bee conservation.”

Morris recently found out he is one of the finalists for the Herbert Hoover scholarship and is excited that he can use a passion to promote bee conservation.

“I am planning to go into Forestry at Iowa State University and so conservation of any kind is something I am passionate about,” Morris said. “I chose bee conservation because bees are vital to our agriculture practices and ecosystem as well as our survival, since they pollinate our plant food sources, which in turn feed our animal food sources.”

Morris said if you are looking for specific plants that bees like, choose native Iowa plants if possible. Some options include: prairie pussytoes, prairie sage, partridge pea, black-eyed susan, sky blue aster, common blue violet and lanceleaf coreopsis. To see some of the bee lawns that Morris has planted, go to Riverview Park in Marshalltown, Wolf Creek Park in Conrad and Daisy Long Park in rural Union. Morris did warn that currently, oats are planted for soil preparation this year for a positive turnout of bee perennials for next year.

Morris also has a website where people can go to learn more: free-4782354.webadorsite.com.


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