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'No Mow May' movement grows across the Maritimes

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A growing number of Maritime communities are joining a grassroots movement to avoid lawnmowers during the month of May.

'No Mow May' first appeared in England as a three-pronged approach to saving time, curtailing use of gasoline, and promoting pollinators – the latter being the movement’s driving force.

"Pollinators have been declining significantly due to climate change and loss of habitat," says Jillian Hudgins, an environmental strategist for the City of Fredericton. "So this is a way people can participate in protecting them by simply leaving their lawnmower in their garage or shed for the month of May and letting flowers, clover, dandelions bloom on their lawn providing nectar and food sources for those bees, butterflies, and other insects."

"As well, it benefits other wildlife we share our urban spaces with. The birds that forage in the grass and the leaves for insects, for their food source."

Fredericton officially signed on to the campaign this year, meaning grass within municipal parks won’t be cut until June. An organized 'No Mow May' effort is also returning to the Greater Moncton area this year.

The Living Earth Council, an environmental group based in Truro, N.S., also began the initiative in 2021 and is expecting more participants this year.

"It’s basically just keeping the lawn wild throughout (the) month to give pollinators a head start for the season," says Amanda Oberski, a board member with The Living Earth Council. "That definitely means the bees and access to nectar and the flowers. But also caterpillars are being born under the leaves, so allowing those things to stay wild for a bit longer."

Part of the Truro group’s method for spreading awareness locally about 'No Mow May' is posting signs on intentionally overgrown lawns.

"Grade 5 students actually painted the signs and we passed them out at the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings," says Oberski.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada says if ‘No Mow May’ isn’t possible, cutting back on use of a lawnmower during the month – or 'Slow Mow May' – could still make an impact.

"In Canada there’s an estimated 6.2 million lawns," says Andrew Holland of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. "So just think if you had a fraction of those people across the country rethink how they view their own property, their own lawns, their own gardens, their own backyards."

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