Skip to main content

One small step to help the environment

07/24/2013 04:32PM, Published by ACL, Categories: 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.


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


  • Sunny Summer Container

    06/23/2017
    10:30AM — 12:30PM

    Use bold foliage as the focal point for a summer container that steals the show. Interweave softe...


  • Test123

    06/23/2017
    03:30PM

    Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some ...


  • Chester County Balloon Festival

    06/23/2017
    04:00PM — 10:00PM

    The Chester County Balloon Festival is known as a must-attend event! We are proud to be a non-pro...


  • Summer Nights

    06/23/2017
    04:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays in June, Mt. Cuba Center extends its hours for Summer Nights. Unwind from your week an...


  • Classical Guitar Virtuoso Brad Rau

    06/23/2017
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Classical Guitar Virtuoso Brad Rau Friday June 23rd 2017 Kreutz Creek Wine Tasting Room 44 Ea...


  • 1st Annual Reactors Delaware county Comedy Competition. Held every Friday in June with the final...


  • Bird Walk

    06/24/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    Newlin Grist Mill and Wild Birds Unlimited-Concordville are teaming up to explore the wonderful w...


  • Best Summer Kids Camps in Chester County!

    06/24/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    2017 SUMMER KIDS HALF-DAY CAMP IN CHESTER SPRINGS, CHESTER COUNTY: One Week of Half-Day Art & C...


  • Vegetable Breeding Workshop

    06/24/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Over the course of the two days of this workshop you will learn the importance of vegetable breed...


  • Milburn’s Pancake Breakfast!

    06/24/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    Farmer Jay whipping up pancakes!


  • History at Work: "Woodturning"

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Join us each month as we explore historic skills and trades with our "History at Work" demonstrat...


  • Wild Mushroom Foraging

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 12:30PM

    Many species of magnificent mushrooms may be growing in your own back yard. Join Tug DeLuce of th...


  • Milburn’s Very Cherry Harvest Party!

    06/24/2017
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    No Hands Allowed!


  • Pop-Up Naturalist: "Pond Life"

    06/24/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Join Newlin's staff naturalist for an afternoon of exciting environmental activities. Look for th...


  • Test123

    06/24/2017
    03:30PM

    Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some ...


  • Chester County Balloon Festival

    06/24/2017
    04:00PM — 10:00PM

    The Chester County Balloon Festival is known as a must-attend event! We are proud to be a non-pro...


  • The Sin City Band "Unplugged"

    06/24/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    It's a rare chance to hear The Sin City Band perform in an intimate setting and unplugged. The Si...


  • Test123

    06/26/2017
    03:30PM

    Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some ...


  • Art & Inspiration: Summer Art Camp

    06/26/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Join us on four fun-filled nights for Art and Inspiration. Beginning Sunday, June 25th at 7 p.m...


  • Best Summer Kids Camps in Chester County!

    06/27/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    2017 SUMMER KIDS HALF-DAY CAMP IN CHESTER SPRINGS, CHESTER COUNTY: One Week of Half-Day Art & C...


  • Test123

    06/27/2017
    03:30PM

    Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some ...


  • Art & Inspiration: Summer Art Camp

    06/27/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Join us on four fun-filled nights for Art and Inspiration. Beginning Sunday, June 25th at 7 p.m...


  • Test123

    06/28/2017
    03:30PM

    Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some ...


  • Wine and Wheels in New Garden Park

    06/28/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Fourth Wednesday of the Month New Garden Park June 28th 6PM to dusk (Future Dates: July 26th, A...


  • Art & Inspiration: Summer Art Camp

    06/28/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Join us on four fun-filled nights for Art and Inspiration. Beginning Sunday, June 25th at 7 p.m...


  • Best Summer Kids Camps in Chester County!

    06/29/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    2017 SUMMER KIDS HALF-DAY CAMP IN CHESTER SPRINGS, CHESTER COUNTY: One Week of Half-Day Art & C...


  • Milkweeds for Monarchs

    06/29/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Help our monarch butterfly populations survive and reproduce by planting native milkweeds. David ...


  • Test123

    06/29/2017
    03:30PM

    Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some ...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    06/29/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

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


  • Trivia Nights at Kennett Square Applebee's

    06/29/2017
    09:00PM — 11:00PM

    Start your studying for trivia nights at the Kennett Square Applebee’s! Trivia nights will be hel...


Chester County High School Sports