NoMowMay Des Moines

Here’s your invitation to join this experience! Carolyn Uhlenhake Walker, Joann Muldoon, and myself, Janice Hawkins, want you to join us in inviting our pollinators back to our yards, our cities, and the state. Since the 1970s, the number of pollinators has dropped by 50%, which is a threat to the survival of life on Earth, including human life. Increasing their habitat is one way to bring back these pollinators, which include: butterflies, bees (honey bees & about 350 native Iowa species!), moths & hummingbirds.

How can you participate? Allow pollinators to enjoy the low-growing plants that are an important source of pollen & nectar in April & May before other plants have bloomed. Mow less, mow higher. Use fewer herbicides, insecticides, & fertilizers. Seriously focus on replacing non-native turf with native plantings that will bring visual interest & color to your yard.

We invite you to come to the Gathering Area between Service & Forum (10:30-11:00) on Sunday, Apr 23, and/or Sunday, Apr 30. We’ll ask you to complete a form & provide you with a sign. Or you can save time by completing the form here! That way, yours will be ready to go when you come to church. One sign will be given for each Des Moines address. If you wish for another, a freewill cash offer of up to $5 would be appreciated. If you live outside of Des Moines, a freewill cash donation of up to $10 would be appreciated. If you live out of the area, we’d ask you to honor whatever the weed ordinance has listed for maximum height of your grass. Email with any questions.

We’re offering suggestions for designing a pollinator garden, resources for landscaping with native plants and information on matching funding for a group of closely situated neighbors to improve the front-facing portions of yards & homes. A weekly newsletter will bring your attention to local events & perhaps some impromptu gatherings around gardening & such.

Because someone always wants to know… do I have to turn my whole yard over to this?  Not if you’re uncomfortable. You may designate an area where you’ll experiment with this concept, mark it & maybe place your sign nearby. 

I’m nervous about not using my lawn mower all month!  No worries! Some use scythes to trim or reduce the # of times you typically mow or mow higher. Enjoy the peace!

I contracted with a lawn service … maybe designate a reasonably marked area for not mowing & alert your lawn service.

I live in an apartment building or am an HOA member. Can I do this? You’ll need to talk with the management about what would be permissible.  If a sign for your window would work, let us know.

Will anyone be checking on my progress?  While we likely will know where you are, we’ll ask the math teacher in our group to refrain from whipping out her tape measure!  We’ll be inviting you to tell us how it’s going for you.           

You should know that this initiative is being sponsored by the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF) US mini-grant, the Des Moines Branch donation, and a REACH Grant from the Endowment Fund here at First Unitarian.  This is much appreciated.