Sustainable Williston is partnering with the Town of Williston in promoting No Mow May and Raise The Blade this year. No Mow May yard signs will be available for pick-up at the Town Fair on Green Up Day: Saturday, May 6 from 8am-12pm on the Town Green next to the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library. You can read more on Town of Williston website: https://bit.ly/WillistonNoMowMay
No Mow May is an international initiative to reduce the amount of lawn mowed during the month of May to allow more flowers to bloom. While dandelions, white clover, and other flowers may not be the first thing many people think of when they hear “healthy lawn”, these types of flowers are critical to providing the food our pollinators need. This is especially true early in the season when hungry pollinators are at a crucial time in their life cycle and other food sources aren’t yet available.
Why worry about pollinators? These important insects help fertilize our New England trees, plants and flowers. Much of the food we eat depends on pollinators. As the saying goes, “No Bees, No Food”. You may have heard of the die-off that has been recorded with a number of pollinators, with bees being the most well-known example. While there are many reasons for this, providing food for these insects early in their life is one thin
we can do to support their continued survival.
Participating in No Mow May includes a commitment to omitting the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides which can be toxic to insects and birds, as well as pets and humans. Traditional lawns that are cut short also increase the volume and speed of water runoff which carries loose soil, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides into our streams and eventually Lake Champlain. Runoff creates problems like algae blooms, which can cause serious health conditions. Keeping parts of your lawn unmown helps prevent runoff.
You may be wondering if there are other ways to support pollinators in your yard, and
the answer is “yes!”. Planting native species supports native insects, which in turn
support other native species including birds. The vast majority of birds raise their young on insects, primarily caterpillars. Feeding insects is an important part of creating a backyard habitat. (Remember to take down your bird feeders in spring when the bears are out!) Planting more native species of trees, shrubs, and perennials has the additional benefit of eliminating lawn, and the associated costs of maintaining that lawn. At the same time, it brings more wildlife to our yards.
Reducing mowing in May, and throughout the season, has other benefits as well. The most obvious is noise pollution in our neighborhoods. We’re all familiar with the experience of sitting down for a meal on a beautiful afternoon just in time to hear a mower start-up a few houses away. At least as important, though less obvious, is the air pollution that comes from lawn care equipment. In 2011, the EPA estimated that 5% of all air pollution in the country comes from lawnmowers, and in 2017 the California Air Resource Board estimated that by 2020 the pollution from mowers would be greater than the pollution from all the cars in that state.
If not mowing your lawn raises some eyebrows with your neighbors, help make them aware of this initiative with a lawn sign. In collaboration with the Williston Conservation Commission, Sustainable Williston and the Williston Energy Committee, the Town of Williston will be offering a limited number of No Mow May yard signs for participants. These signs will help let neighbors know that some temporary “rewilding” is going on and not to worry, as it’s for a good cause. No Mow May yard signs will be available for pick-up at the Town Fair on Green Up Day: Saturday, May 6 from 8am-12pm on the Town Green next to the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library. These signs will also have a QR code that people can scan to learn more. Since there will be a limited number of signs available, you can also download and print your own from the Xerces Society Website: https://www.xerces.org/publications/other/no-mow-may
What if you are part of an HOA that takes care of the landscaping? Find out if your association would like to participate by leaving a section of lawn un-mowed and eliminating the use of pesticides and fertilizers for the month of May, or possibly all season. As I tell my kids, if you don’t ask, the answer is always no!
Reducing lawns and returning a piece of land to its natural state helps create important
habitats for endangered insects. You may discover that you love the natural look and all
the beauty it can bring year-round!
Bee City USA:
Town of Williston website:
by Deborah Miuccio (SW) and Kevin Thorley (Williston Energy Committee)
We do hands-on things like plant trees and fight the good fight against invasives.
Sustainable Williston will be gathering this Thursday for a facilitated workshop to identify our priorities for 2023. No prior experience with Sustainable Williston required, only interest and a desire to make Williston more environmentally sustainable. Details:
Where: Dorothy Alling Memorial Library Meeting Room
When: Thu December 8th, 7:15-8:50 pm
What: 2023 Planning Workshop
Bring: Open mind, creative thinking, a snack to share
Check out the front page article of this week’s Williston Observer for an in-depth article covering our support of the energy plan and it’s implementation at recent selectboard meetings. Great quotes by our very own Brian, Caylin, and Kevin! Join us on Tuesday 10/5 at the next meeting as we continue to support energy plan action!
Many citizens of Williston signed a letter to the Williston Selectboard in July 2020 supporting the adoption of the Energy Plan. The Selectboard will be discussing the Energy Committee at their meeting on Tuesday, September 21 at 8:15pm. We invite you to attend in support!
Members of Sustainable Williston will be speaking and will ask anyone who is joining in support of the Energy Committee to raise their hand (either on Zoom or in person). If you join on Zoom we encourage you to also make a short comment in the chat indicating your support, ex: “I’m here tonight to support moving forward with the proposed Energy Committee.” We recommend arriving/joining by 8pm in case the meeting is running early.
This link will take you to the Town website with the meeting agenda, additional meeting materials and instructions for joining on Zoom.
We know from experience that community turnout at Selectboard meetings makes a real difference. We hope to see you there!
Interested in learning more about electric vehicles? Want to hear how your neighbors are benefiting from driving EVs? Come join us! Sustainable Williston’s Environmental Forum Series continues with an Electric Vehicle Show and Tell on September 26 from 1-3pm at the Williston Town Hall. A variety of electric vehicles (and an electric bike!) will be available for you to explore. Have an electric vehicle that you would love to display? Please contact Kevin Thorley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are kicking off our fall Environmental Forum Series with a Backyard Climate Change Solutions Workshop Thursday 9/9 at 6:30pm.
Help fight climate change throughout your property! Reduce emissions and sequester carbon using regenerative gardening techniques: learn tips for growing your own organic food, composting, rewilding your lawn with native plants, and cover cropping. This will be a hands-on workshop run by Deborah Miuccio in her backyard. Deborah is a Sustainable Williston member and Gardener’s Supply employee who is experienced in these solutions. Social will follow.
Sign up here by Wednesday 9/8/21 to receive an email with the event’s address.
“It is my generation that will be dealing with the worst effects of climate change…You have a responsibility to us and the power to do something about it.”
-14 yr old member delivers public comment on climate action to Selectboard at August 17 meeting. To see the full video, click here.
It’s been a year since the Town Energy Plan was adopted yet nothing has been accomplished. This has not been placed as an agenda item for the Selectboard despite repeated requests from residents.
The first step in the Energy Plan calls for the Selectboard to hire a Town Energy Coordinator and create a Town Energy Committee, as over 100 other Vermont towns have done.
Please stay tuned for the September Selectboard meeting where we will continue to urge them to take action!
Sustainable Williston worked hard last summer asking the Selectboard to adopt the Energy Plan that they were considering, and they did! Our group is small and this effort was only successful because we were able to bring in new people and excitement through a letter of support signed by almost 100 residents.
This letter emphasized that having a plan isn’t enough — that an Energy Coordinator would need to be hired and a Committee would need to be formed in order for the plan to be put into motion.
Now that in-person Selectboard meetings are happening again, Sustainable Williston is making an effort to attend regularly and speak up about this during public comment. We’re asking supporters to join us at the Selectboard meeting on the Jul 27 or Aug 17 at 7pm and stand when our speakers ask who in attendance supports the Energy Coordinator/Committee effort.
Please join us for either of those dates! The speakers would love having your friendly face in the audience for support!