Skip to main content

One small step to help the environment

07/24/2013 04:32PM, Published by ACL, Categories: Opinion, In Print



Anyone who has looked out a window at their lawn on a blisteringly hot summer afternoon has had the same thought: Why am I going out to mow this again?

The seeding, nourishing, watering and cutting of lawns accounts for an incredible amount of harm to the environment when you factor in the pesticides for weeds, the gas to run the mower and the amount of water sprinkled on grass each summer. Not to mention the drudgery of maintaining a lawn that is usually just for show.

Lawns are a recent development on this planet. Two hundred years ago, only the wealthy had the idle time – and the servants – to maintain smooth expanses of manicured grass. Regular people, if they had any land, did the sensible thing. They grew food where they could, and let nature take care of the rest.

Anyone who has visited the Brandywine River Museum has noticed the wild state of the parking area. The unpaved lot is surrounded by a tangle of flowers and grasses that may strike people as untended weeds, but it's actually a carefully constructed habitat that is allowed to grow as nature intended.

The museum is one branch of the Brandywine Conservancy, an organzation that oversees the stewardship of the environment in Chester County, so the turf grass lawn around the Environmental Management Center, next door to the   museum, has been something of an anomaly. This week, staffers and volunteers decided to tear up most of the labor-intensive lawn and put in plants that would blend harmoniously with the surrounding woodlands and the mini-nature preserve in the parking lot.

Combining locally grown plants and carefully chosen plant purchases, the small team of diggers will be putting nature back in charge of this little patch of land near the Brandywine River. Once things are completed at the end of this week, there will be little upkeep required, and the Conservancy will have taken one small step to help the planet.

If we all followed suit – by replacing unnatural grass in our yards with plants that were meant to be there – it would go a long way toward healing a planet that is increasingly out of balance. We probably will do no such thing, since nobody wants to be the first one to violate the suburban mandate for a well-manicured lawn. But wouldn't it be extraordinary if Mother Nature – and not bags of chemicals and smoke-spewing lawnmowers – did our yard work for us?

The next time you drive down the narrow lane to the parking lot at the museum, look to your left and appreciate what the butterflies, birds and local wildlife already know: Nature knows best.

Maybe we all should listen.


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline



brandywine river museum editorial brandywine conservancy environmental management center brandywine river


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Drop in on Nature

    12/08/2016
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, September 15th thru Thursday...


  • Holidays at Hagley: A Child's Delight

    12/08/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    The 1803 du Pont family ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills, will feature holiday decorations and i...


  • Christmas by Candlelight

    12/08/2016
    01:00PM

    Christmas by Candlelight, a heartwarming celebration of the yuletide season, is back by popular d...


  • Nature Studio

    12/08/2016
    04:00PM — 05:30AM

    Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts J...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    12/08/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto

    12/08/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto By Pete Pryor & Samantha Reading Music & Lyrics by Alex Bech...


  • The Road: My Life with John Denver

    12/08/2016
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    The Road: My Life with John Denver By Randal Myler & Dan Wheetman Directed by Randal Myler Dec...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Holidays at Hagley: A Child's Delight

    12/12/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    The 1803 du Pont family ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills, will feature holiday decorations and i...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    12/12/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


Chester County High School Sports