Skip to main content

One small step to help the environment

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


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.



brandywine river museum editorial brandywine conservancy environmental management center brandywine river


You might also like

Carrying out Eli’s wishes

Editorial for the week of August 20, 2014.
Thumb_burchfield-early-spring-2

The Art Spot

The Art Spot: Original art by Dave Eldreth, Sherry McVickay, and others at Wilson Vineyard and more for the week of August 20, 2014.

Radio action

Editorial for the week of August 13th, 2014.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Longwood Fire Company’s annual open house will be held for the first time under the stars on Thur...


  • Sherry Dinner

    10/23/2014
    07:00pm — 10:00pm

    The Yardley Inn is hosting an exclusive Sherry Dinner on Thursday, October 23, 2014. Enjoy a mea...


  • Zoo Yoga: OM’ing Otters

    10/25/2014
    09:15am — 10:15am

    (Ages 4-7 years old) Weekly Saturdays or Sundays, September-November (Classes held in the Educati...


  • Flying Colors Fine Artists Show and Sale

    10/25/2014
    10:00am — 05:00pm

    Flying Colors will host its Annual Art Show and Sale from October 24 to October 26, 2014 at The M...


  • Saturday Zoo Tales

    10/25/2014
    10:30am — 11:00am

    Join us for a fun, animal or nature themed story and a visit from one of our fun program animals!...


  • ChesLen Chase for Open Space

    10/25/2014
    11:00am

    Get ready to run for nature at Natural Lands Trust’s epic ChesLen Chase for Open Space, with 10K,...


  • Flying Colors Fine Artists Show and Sale

    10/26/2014
    10:00am — 05:00pm

    Flying Colors will host its Annual Art Show and Sale from October 24 to October 26, 2014 at The M...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    10/26/2014
    01:00pm — 04:00pm

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • NEWARK SYMPHONY CONCERT

    10/26/2014
    03:00pm — 05:00pm

    THE NEWARK SYMPHONY PRESENTS “Fall in Italy” Simeone Tartaglione, Music Director Sunday, Octobe...


Chester County High School Sports