Published: 05/30/2022 10:07:34
GREENFIELD — Think of it as the Movember for your lawn.
But instead of growing a mustache in November to raise awareness for men’s health, it’s about growing your garden in May to provide food for pollinators when they come out of hibernation. It’s called No Mow May, and the conservation initiative popularized by UK charity Plantlife is gaining traction on this side of the pond.
Greenfield resident Jeff Sautter is up to the challenge, letting his lawn on Ferrante Avenue grow wild for bees and other pollinating species. A middle school science teacher in Athol, he came across information about No Mow May on the Bee City USA website, an initiative of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
“I would love a lawn but, on the other hand, I think it’s a small sacrifice to make…for the pollinators that we rely on,” he said.
Sautter said three-quarters of flowering plants need pollinators to reproduce, and about 35% of the food Americans eat depends on pollination.
“I’m a science teacher, so I know we’re in this great mass extinction with what humans are doing to the planet,” he said. “And insects are in peril.”
Sautter said he plans to eventually mow and plant pollinator-friendly shrubs. He lives on avenue Ferrante with his children Vivienne, 11, and Esmé, 9.
Kay Lyons and her husband Rick Roy, who live on Chapman Street, mowed their lawn for the first time this season on May 26. She said the grass and flowers grew 14 inches.
“We were glad we did. We saw more rabbits and a few garden snakes and such,” Lyons said. “I felt a little guilty when we mowed.”
Lyons said he had heard of No Mow May, but learned more about its benefits to pollinators while serving drinks and handing out literature at the Greenfield Bee Fest on May 22. Bee Fest celebrates the legacy of Lorenzo Langstroth, the “Father of American Beekeeping” and a pastor of the Second Congregational Church in Greenfield.
Nancy Hazard, a member of Greening Greenfield, a group of citizens concerned with building a more resilient and sustainable Greenfield, lives in Spring Terrace and participates in No Mow May.
“Once you mow your lawn, your lawn is like a food desert for pollinators,” she said. “The tricky part is you want to be sure you can still mow it, that your mower can handle it.”
Hazard said she decided to mow part of her lawn which was getting too thick, although the other part “looks pretty amazing”.
“It has been fascinating. The beauty of my lawn and what has come out over the past month has been quite mesmerizing,” she said. “I will definitely do it again.”
More information is available online at bit.ly/3lUgPNj and bit.ly/3tpcmXd.
Contact Domenic Poli at: [email protected] or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.