The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is asking residents to wait the rest of the month before busting out the lawn mower to help with biodiversity in its cleverly titled “No Mow May” campaign.
The campaign’s goal is to get the message out about the potential role people can play in helping biodiversity by not mowing their lawn in their front and back yards.
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Matthew Braun, manager of conservation, science and planning with the NCC, explained the idea first started in the United Kingdom before making its way to Canada.
“It’s intended to give the insects and their food supplies a chance to go through their part of the life cycle here early on and in the summer,” Braun said.
Insects such as bees, butterflies and ants are busy pollinating this month, which plays a key role in the growth of Saskatchewan plants and crops.
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“I think people are looking for ways that they can contribute to conservation and green ideas and biodiversity protection in their own backyards. I know people are always asking us for things that we can suggest that they can do. This is one small thing that if all of us did some of these small things together, we might make a difference,” Braun said.
He explained that by keeping the lawn mower stowed away for an extra month, it allows food sources to bloom and provide for insects and other wildlife species.
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“Some of those dandelions that look like they might not have any good use, they’re providing a service out there. There’s a demand for them, for those insects that really build the base, that pyramid that helps support all the different animals above them,” Braun said.
The pollinator’s population has been declining in recent years. Braun explained specifically Saskatchewan is impacted, like the rest of the world, by global temperatures and precipitation patterns. He said warmer summers are going to have an impact on insects and pollinator populations, as well as declining liveable habitats in Saskatchewan.
“In Saskatchewan, every year we lose some more of our native habitat to annual arable cropping and those are important spaces for those pollinators to live out their lives and contribute to our ecosystems as well,” Braun said.
He said certain pesticides also play an important role in impacting insect populations as well.
If residents do feel compelled to mow their lawn before the month is over, Braun suggested they change the height of the lawn mower so the grass can stay longer.
Another way to help the cause is by growing native perennials in your yard that will flower at different times of the year, Braun said.
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Braun estimates that there are over 200 different species of bees found in Saskatchewan.
“Those bees, along with a lot of other lesser-known insect pollinators, are responsible for pollinating not just the flowers that we have in our yards, but they’re also responsible for helping pollinate and increase productivity of the crops that we depend on in this province,” he said.
Braun also encourages residents to take a look at dandelions in their own yard and think about what insects are using them before pulling them out.
“You’re going to see that [they] actually have a lot of potential to provide a lot of benefits up there and that’s something we can all do and we can help out with.”
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