Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens – Future Stewards

from a blog Native Plants Wildlife Gardens <carolebrown>

The EPA estimates about 150 million pounds of these chemicals {pesticides and fertilizers} are applied annually, just to American lawns. The combination of lawn, agriculture and animal waste runoff pollutes local surface and ground water, which ultimately travels to lakes, bays, or the Gulf where nitrogen and phosphorous rich nutrients are deposited. An overload of these nutrients causes an algae explosion. The decomposing alga robs the water of oxygen, dropping the available oxygen to a point where marine animals cannot survive, resulting in a dead zone. The Gulf of Mexico has the largest dead zone in the world as a result of these practices.

So how are we going to fix this crazy assault on the land and water? I see a big part of the solution in schools. Schools like Hollin Meadows Elementary in Fairfax County, Virginia where monoculture lawn is minimized in favor of native plantings like a meadow that spans the entire front of the school and is used daily as an out-door classroom. Students explore the meadow, examining all sorts of critters in the soil, on leaves and in the air. They are making connections in the natural world and learning the value of all living creatures in a healthy ecosystem.

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