Leave the Leaves, Turn Out the Lights

Most people are aware of the global biodiversity crisis, the shocking declines of insects, birds, and other animals, yet many don’t connect it with life in our comfortable suburbs. Because everything is connected, what we do at home is more important than you might think. Anyone with a house and yard can take two actions that will immediately increase biodiversity by helping the creatures that share our neighborhoods: leave the leaves and turn out the lights.  I’ve never understood why sensible people would remove autumn leaves from under their trees and bushes, only to then pay good money to add mulch and fertilizer. Fallen leaves are nature’s combination fertilizer and mulch, full of exactly the nutrients trees and shrubs need. And regarding “messiness,” nobody walks through the forest preserves in autumn wishing someone would clear out all those darn fallen leaves. Those leaves are what make the outdoors comfortable for many animals, providing shelter, food, and habitat. Fireflies d

It's Time for Your Lawn to Make Peace with the Earth!

That's the title of a short, informal presentation about the polyculture lawn I'll be giving on Sunday. I'll have samples of compost, a compost screen and clover seed with me. Too bad I can't bring along some birds, butterflies and bees! Details are posted on the "Talks" page tabbed above.

Comments

Unknown said…
So glad you're taking your message on the road. Have you received good feedback? How did you start your talk series?

Best of luck,

Thomas
Hi Thomas,

Thanks. The talk went really well.

I began by asking people what they think about when they think of a beautiful lawn. This sparked much good discussion and brought up childhood memories and associations. I then talked about the lawn in history (short), some different ways to think about beauty, and why the ecological lawn is better. Also ecological lawn care.

People seemed pretty enthused.

I started giving talks when I worked for the garden center. Garden clubs are always looking for speakers.

These days I try to do a few talks a year, often gratis. Usually someone I know invites me to speak. The groups are always small, but participants seem to respond well.

I'm thinking of applying to give a presentation at the next Chicago Wilderness Wild Things Conference in 2013, which would be a big step up.