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Kingston, Ont. introduces ‘No Mow May’ to help bee, insect populations

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Kingston, Ont. introduces ‘No Mow May’ to help bee, insect populations
WATCH: The initiative is asking Kingston residents not to cut their grass in May to help pollinators in the spring – Feb 8, 2023

There may be snow on the ground right now, but before too long, grass will be growing again, and homeowners will be mowing again.

But this spring, the City of Kingston is asking residents to give a little more time for the grass to grow.

‘No Mow May’ is an optional initiative encouraging homeowners to let their lawns get a little greener during the month of May to help bees and other pollinators.

“We’re in the midst of a climate crisis, I am a climate advocate,” says Brandon Tozzo, who brought forth the motion to council.

“I thought this was a great way for the community to pitch in and help our local climate and help our local pollinators.”

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Kingston isn’t the first place to take up No Mow May.

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It started in the United Kingdom, and has spread from the east coast of Canada into Ontario, sprouting up in communities like Peterborough and Brampton.

The idea has been growing in recent years as bee populations in Ontario, and around the world, have been rapidly declining.

“They have been declining rather dramatically,” says Joyce Hostyn, co-founder of Little Forests Kingston.

“We’ve lost the Rusty Patch Bumblebee. That used to be an extremely common bee in Ontario. They have disappeared, they are no longer here.”

By not mowing your lawn during the month of May, it would allow plants and native species to grow and provide a pollinator-friendly habitat.

While you might think that dandelions are a good source of pollination for bees, they are actually considered ‘junk food’ compared to some other plants people can put in the ground.

“Fifteen per cent protein in dandelions,” says Hostyn.

“Some of our native shrubs that are blooming at the same time, like pussywillows, have 40 per cent protein.”

This grassroots campaign may get off to a bit of a slow start, but Tozzo believes it will catch on.

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“I think in the first year we will probably get a small level of buy-in by people who are really engaged,” says Tozzo.

“I think year upon year it will build.”

So if you’re looking to help out local pollinators this spring, you can keep your lawnmower in the shed, and let the bees do the work instead.

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