Americans love their lawns, but unfortunately the quest for the perfect lawn means fertilizing, watering and mowing. Fertilizer contributes to the nitrogen problem in our bays. Mowing contributes to global warming (because lawnmowers have little in the way of emission controls, mowing the average lawn contributes as much greenhouse gas as driving 600 miles!). Not only do trees, shrubs and perennials take up and use far more nitrogen than lawns, but their presence means there is not a fertilized lawn adding to the problem. We have held numerous educational programs on ecological landscaping, encouraging people to reduce lawn size by replacing it with native plantings, and to adhere to the Falmouth Friendly Lawn principles where they do have lawn.
We also tried to follow this principle in our recent renovation project. Once complete in 2013, all plantings, including grass along the roads, will be native and require no fertilizer or water input once established. Plantings, including a special “pollinator garden” include flowers attractive to bees and butterflies. These important species often come up short on food sources in our increasingly urbanized and manicured environment.
At the Reserve, we strive to model the same principles we espouse in our education programs. Energy efficiency, ecological landscaping, and low-impact stormwater handling are just some of the practices you will see examples of when you visit our campus. DCR, our state partner, was recently awarded the Leading by Example Award for extraordinary measures in sustainability. WBNERR’s achievements in this realm were a vital factor in the agency receiving this honor.