Westmont, Illinois - Date Issued: May 10, 2021
The No Mow ‘Til Mother’s Day initiative was a big success. Over 160 residents signed up for this new program that was created by the Westmont Environmental Improvement Committee (EIC).
“I want to thank our residents for participating in this new program,” said EIC Staff Liaison and Village Forester Jon Yeater. “It was great to see all the signage in town and hear all the positive feedback from our residents who supported this.”
The program encouraged residents to not mow their lawns until Mother’s Day for the purpose of helping the local ecology, specifically the habitats of pollinators. The village also participated by not mowing several public space parcels throughout town.
“I want to thank all of our EIC volunteers who helped make this program happen,” said EIC Chair Bruce Barker. “If it wasn’t for their passion for protecting our environment, events like these would not exist.”
Widespread population declines of bees and other pollinators from habitat loss are a growing concern in the United States. However, cities and suburbs support a surprising level of bee richness and abundance, and nectar and pollen from spontaneous flowers such as dandelions, white clover and other ‘weedy’ species have the potential to support bee conservation in urban and suburban areas. Residential and commercial lawns, athletic fields, and golf courses cover an estimated 40 million acres in the United States, making these green spaces a potentially significant management tool for improving bee habitat.
Lawn maintenance often results in a simplistic vegetation configuration that is dismissed as “sterile environments for biodiversity.” But could less rigorous lawn mowing make a difference to biodiversity in a suburban or urban setting? Given the cumulative area of lawns in urban and suburban areas in the U.S. and the millions of people that manage these systems, a recent research project explored the effects of mowing less frequently on floral resources, and in turn, what are the implications of relaxed management practices on bee and other pollinator populations. This 2-year study found that while mowing every 3 weeks resulted in as much as 2.5 times more lawn flowers and greater diversity of bee species, the abundance of bees was greatest when lawns were mowed every 2 weeks. Further, the researchers documented 93 species of pollinators with supplemental observations reaching 111 species, representing roughly a quarter of those species recorded in that state.
If you have questions regarding the EIC and ways to support our local environment, visit the EIC webpage westmont.illinois.gov/green on the village website, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.