No mowing: P.E.I. towns letting some areas go natural to help environment
Cornwall, Stratford say some residents wondering why dandelions, grass not cut
The P.E.I. towns of Cornwall and Stratford are ditching the lawn mowers and growing natural areas to help benefit the environment and wildlife like bees.
Students at Eliot River Elementary in Cornwall got a hands-on lesson in the town's efforts to return some of this land to nature.
The school's new naturalization gallery contains tiny trees and other plants that will someday become an Acadian forest.
There are no lawn mowers or whipper snappers — they're just letting it grow.
For years, beekeepers on P.E.I. have been asking Islanders to leave dandelions on their lawns for the bees.
The Cornwall and Area Watershed Group has been lobbying the Town of Cornwall for more of these naturalized areas, and for residents to create their own.
The natural look has led to some phone calls from concerned residents, said Karalee McAskill of the watershed group.
"Certainly we do get a lot of questionable looks. They definitely wonder what we're doing, why we've allowed the dandelions to come up."
The Town of Stratford is also creating more natural areas, including a pollinator garden in a local park and native shrubs as buffers around a pond.
As in Cornwall, residents were not always happy with the changes, said Robert Hughes, chief administrative officer for the Town of Stratford.
"It may look unsightly for a short period of time but after it grows up and plant a few trees it actually becomes quite a beautiful area. So it's just more education is required."
Hughes said the natural areas not only help the environment, but also save money.
"We don't have to have staff or contractors out doing the mowing, so it's a money savings as well as greenhouse gas savings."
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With files from Nancy Russell