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PHOTO: Volunteers get hands dirty for pollinator conservation

From the Inside this week's Papillion Times: Sept. 21 series
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Bravery Weaver of Papillion, 7, joins fellow volunteers in rolling milkweed seed balls at Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa, during an event hosted by Milkweed Matters on Saturday, Sept. 10. Milkweed Matters is an area nonprofit with the mission of educating the public about pollinator conservation, as well as restoring pollinator habitats across Iowa. Milkweed Matters Executive Director Nancy Crews said volunteers have helped roll more than 185,000 seed balls, which contain common milkweed and nectar flower seeds inside a mixture of clay and compost, since the nonprofit was founded in 2014. She said 11,000 were rolled last year, and bicycling volunteers helped toss the seed balls along the Iowa roadsides during RAGBRAI, an annual effort for the group. Crews said that Milkweed Matters, along with the Pollinator Alliance of the Heartland, also work with southwest Iowa towns to plant community gardens. Crews said that as the monarch butterfly population continues to decrease due to habitat loss, climate change and other factors, efforts like these are more important than ever.

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