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Pollinator habitat field day set Saturday

By Staff | Jul 23, 2015

AMES – An “Establishing On-farm Pollinator Habitat” Practical Farmers of Iowa field day is set from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, at the Mustard Seed Farm, 366 W. Ave., Ames.

Led by Nate Kemperman, Mustard Seed Farm team member, guests will get to tour and discuss the various pollinator habitats, and learn about pollinator diversity and perennial habitat in annual vegetable production.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own ideas for creating pollinator habitats to share. The event will also feature a few short presentations by farm members, and potentially a native bee house-making demonstration.

In addition, guests will learn about on-farm pollinator research at Mustard Seed Farm from Ai Wen, with University of Northen Iowa, and Will Osterholz, a graduate student in agronomy at Iowa State University and a Mustard Seed team member.

The research, conducted with Practical Farmers, sought to quantify the abundance and diversity of pollinators in different habitats on the farm said Osterholz.

“The farm isn’t very big, but even so we were able to see differences in pollinator diversity between well-developed prairie and a few hundred feet away, where it was just lawn or grass,” Osterholz said. “Since it started, one of the farm’s main goals has been to increase environmental quality, and pollinators are a big part of that – especially because of concerns about pollinator health.

Creating habitat around the farm has been one of our main ways to address that problem so the results gave us confirmation about our efforts.”

There is no cost to attend the event and it is open to the public.

Directions: From I-35, take Exit 123. Head west on 130th Avenue for 8.5 miles, then turn south onto W Avenue. In seven-tenths of a mile, Mustard Seed Farm will be on the east side of the road.

For more information about the Mustard Farm contact: Will Osterholz, (773) 865-9228 or wosterho@gmail.com.

To learn about PFI’s 2015 field day season, contact Tamsyn Jones, (515) 232-5661 or tamsyn@practicalfarmers.org.

The field day is sponsored by Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District, Women Food and Agriculture Network and Wheatsfield Cooperative.

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