This past May, Western Iowa Energy, a biodiesel plant in Wall Lake, partnered with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) and announced plans to create a Monarch butterfly fueling station on their property. Operations Manager, Kevin Bieret, says they have about four unused acres around their plant they will use for the project. The fueling station provides the Monarchs a place to land and lay eggs on their southern migration path and then a place to rest and refuel on their return trip from Mexico. Earlier this week, the IRFA announced Western Iowa Energy employees recently completed a dormant seeding of native grasses and other plants to attract the pollinators. This includes milkweed, the only plant on which Monarch butterflies can lay their eggs. Habitat Establishment Coordinator, Kevin Reynolds, says many of the plants will spend their first growing season developing a root system, but a few of the species will grow much faster. “Once the habitat establishes itself, Western Iowa Energy will be able to make a meaningful impact to help grow and sustain Iowa’s Monarch butterfly population,” Reynolds says. Bieret says they not only hope this will become a beautiful addition to their property and the community of Wall Lake, they also want to use it as an educational opportunity for area school children to see the migration of the butterflies first hand, give them an understanding of the impact they have on the environment and spur efforts to get their population off the endangered species list.
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