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Leave the leaves on the ground: Nature Conservancy says to stop raking your lawn

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is suggesting people let their lawns go "au naturel" this fall. The group says letting the leaves carpet the lawn will create a space of sorts for insects and other creatures to seek refuge over the winter. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, this recommendation is giving people carte blanche to put their rakes away.

Leave your rakes in the shed and your leaves on the ground. That’s the message from the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

It’s encouraging people to work a little less hard for the sake of the environment.

“We all love to look at the colour of the leaves but we don’t necessarily like to clean them up,” Nature Conservancy spokesperson Jessica Panetta said.

READ MORE: Beaconsfield moving to ban leaf blowers

The not-for-profit conservation group says leaving fallen leaves in your yard is a small helpful act that can support backyard biodiversity.

Leaf piles help native insects, including pollinators, and other backyard wildlife hibernate through the winter.

“It can create a habitat for insects who, just like us, are trying to tough out the winter,” Panetta said.

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She says that by providing shelter for insects and critters, you also help larger fauna such as birds who are looking for a quick snack come springtime.

“By having those insects underneath those leaves and in your garden it’s a chance for you to reconnect with nature and see those birds and butterflies,” she said.

Many, like Kate and Tory Matoga, will happily choose to be lazy for nature’s benefit.

“I’m a-OK with it. Why not, if it’s good for the environment?” NDG resident Kate Matoga said.

READ MORE: Fall leaves on your lawn can improve soil, biodiversity and environment, experts say

While the leaves provide a natural mulch when decomposing, some worry about their lush grass come spring.

“It sounds great to not have the annual chore of raking leaves but I also go to the thought that my lawn is going to die,” said Moni Orife.

The conservancy says homeowners can still keep their lawn tidy and help the flora and fauna in their neighbourhood.

Panetta suggests clearing the front lawn of the home while leaving the back lawn peppered with leaves.

She also says to place the piles of leaves around tree roots and in flower beds instead of throwing them out.

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“It will still provide the same benefits, but at the same time, keeping your lawn tidy,” Panetta said.