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)