Have you heard about No Mow May? 

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)

Join Us for our 2023 Planning Workshop

Brainstorming with sticky notesSustainable 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

Regenerative Agriculture for the Home Gardener – Webinar (hosted by 350.org & SW)

Register Now

Join us Tuesday, April 14 from 7-9 pm, to learn how to build soil health and sequester carbon while growing your own food. This event will featuring CAT BUXTON, co-founder of the Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition. The webinar will cover all aspects of starting your regenerative garden this spring – from cover cropping to no-till methods. Co-sponsored by 350VT and Sustainable Williston.

To receive info on how to join this webinar, please register for event at

Sustainable Williston Meetings Go Virtual

virtual meeting image

Due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) Sustainable Williston meetings are going virtual. Virtual meeting links will be posted by the morning of the 4th Thursday of each month.

We are considering holding virtual meetings on the 2nd Thursday of each month as well, in lieu of the social, to avoid risks. The extra meeting could help keep activities moving forward. Stay tuned.

Repair Cafe Announced @ CVU – 5/18, 10 am – 2 pm

Sustainable Williston encourages Williston residents to attend this Repair Cafe event, recently announced at CVU:

“CVU EnACT is working with Transition Charlotte to coordinate a Repair Cafe here at CVU on Saturday, 5/18 from 10-2. A repair cafe is a community event where community volunteers offer no-cost repair of clothing, jewelry, electronics, small appliances, furniture and more! You bring the broken stuff and our volunteer fixers will use their skills to help you fix your stuff so we can keep it out of the landfill and learn from important skills from one another. At this point, we are continuing to recruit volunteer fixers — this is open to students, faculty, staff and CVU families. We especially need repairers who can help with: skateboards, lacrosse sticks, bikes, and small appliances like radios, cd/dvd players. We also especially need more fixers who know about computers, laptops and smartphones. Also, if you know how to mend clothing by hand or sewing machine, repair lamps–replace switches and cords, tighten wobbly lamps, sharpen garden tools, replace wooden handles, repair trimmers/weed-wackers, repair jewelry (no soldering), replace watch batteries, fix watch bands, repair furniture, sharpen knives or scissors, or tune chainsaws, we want you! If you can join us as a volunteer fixer for part or all of the event, please contact EnACT adviser Katie Antos Ketcham @ kantosketcham@cvsdvt.org or Jamey Gerlaugh with Transition Town Charlotte at Gerlaugh@gmail.com.

Zero-Waste Volunteers Needed – 4/14 – Williston Fire Pancake Breakfast

We’re seeking volunteers as Sustainable Williston (SW) provides zero-waste support to the Williston Fire Pancake Breakfast for the second year running. Volunteers are needed for 1 hour shifts beginning at 8, 9, 10, and 11am to help visitors separate compost from trash. Please contact Caylin McCamp at caylin.mccamp@gmail.com to sign-up for a shift. No prior experience required!

Our Silverware Share will also be on show with SW volunteers washing throughout the event to limit use of single-use plastics. Thank you to the Williston Fire Department for partnering with SW again this year!

Date Announced – 4/13 – Williston April Stools’ Day


Looking for an opportunity to do something about water quality in Allen Brook/Winooski River/Lake Champlain? Maybe you are a dog owner and care about having a clean and enjoyable place to walk your dog. Whatever your motive, Sustainable Williston, Long Trail Veterinary Center, Williston Recreation & Parks, and the Lake Champlain Committee team up annually to facilitate a scoop the poop event. All you need to do is dress for the weather and pitch in!

RSVP on Facebook!

Sustainable Williston goes to Montpelier over Single-Use Plastics

What Happened?


Melinda Petter of Sustainable Williston prepares to testify on single use plastics bill at the State House.

On Wednesday morning (3/13), representatives from Sustainable Williston testified as the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy considered bill S.113 – An act relating to the prohibition of plastic carry out bags, expandeded polystyrene food service products (Styrofoam), and single-use plastic straws. Melinda Petter, Lynn Blevins, and Brian Forest made the trip on behalf of 111 Williston area residents who signed onto letters of support for S.113 and its companion legislation, bill H.74 in the House.

Why it Matters.

We spoke at the Senate Natural Resource and Energy Committee hearing to relay the concerns and support from over 100 VT residents who are interested in reducing single-use plastics waste. With testimony being given by agencies and industry, we felt it important that our legislators also heard directly from the people they represent.

What’s Next?

Sustainable Williston will monitor progress of the bill(s) at the state level, and consider next steps based on the outcome.

*Update* – The Senate bill (S.113) made it out of committee (with some amendments) on 3/15! This means it WILL go to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Want to Get More Involved?

We welcome you to join us at a monthly social (2nd Thursday, 7:15pm, VT Tap House) or meetings (4th Thursday, 7:15pm, DAM Library) – See Calendar. You can also use the “Contact Us” on our website to request we add you to our meeting group emails where we share agendas, minutes, and coordinate action.

Sustainable Williston helps residents Button Up

This year, Sustainable Williston is a Button Up Vermont community partner. This means that Williston is one of 18 Vermont towns whose residents are eligible for a free home visit from a professional energy contractor who can identify opportunities for home weatherization. Buttoning up your home is the best way to conserve home energy and reduce heating and cooling costs. Sustainable Williston has a few upcoming events where Williston residents can get more information and take action.

  1. Curious about the increasingly popular cold climate heat pumps? Attend a free workshop to learn about cold weather heat pump options for hot water and space heating on Wednesday, November 14th at 7pm at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library. RSVP on Facebook
  2. Ready to Button Up your home or just want to hear more? Attend the free Weatherize Williston Button Up workshop on Wednesday, November 28th at 7pm at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library. There will be a home weatherization talk and time to meet with Building Energy, the Williston energy contractor conducting the free home visits. RSVP on Facebook
Want to participate but can’t make any of these events? Visit https://buttonupvermont.org/ and click on “Sign up for a free contractor visit” by December 15. After filling out a short survey about your home characteristics and energy usage, you will be contacted directly by the energy contractor, Building Energy. While you are at the Button Up website, review the checklist to find ways to start buttoning up right away and find out about DIY weatherization incentives (up to $100) from Efficiency Vermont.
For more about the Button Up program in Williston, tune in below to the November episode of What’s Up Williston: The Chief of Police and a Look at Sustainable Williston (Button Up information starts in minute 15).

10th Annual Zero-Waste Ice Cream Social!

Ice Cream Social- July 3, 2017

This week’s July 3rd Ice Cream Social in Williston marks a decade of zero-waste efforts by Sustainable Williston. In 2009 residents and SW members Lynn and Lori formed a new partnership with the Williston Historical Society (host of the Ice Cream Social) to make the event zero-waste by using compostable materials for serving, and collecting the compost at the end of the event.

Did you know?
The waste collected at the July 3rd event is composted locally at Green Mountain Compost on Redmond Road in Williston!

Making a big event like the July 3rd social waste-free isn’t always glamorous. Volunteers help everyone properly sort their waste to ensure a clean batch of compostables, and it can be a messy job handling melted ice cream, fudge sauce and strawberry topping! The compost then travels to a volunteer’s garage to wait for Green Mountain Compost to open on July 5th. All that work is worth it though, and diverts a significant amount of waste from the landfill into a renewable resource. The event also provides an opportunity to answer questions about composting and educate residents on how to sort their waste stream.

We hope to see all Williston residents this Tuesday to enjoy some ice cream, music by the Williston Town Band, and of course enjoy the peace of mind knowing your bowl, spoon, and food scraps are going to eventually turn into nutrient rich compost!