A Letter from Executive Director, Cynthia Randall
Dear CoS Library Partners, Supporters of Science, Great Ideas and All Things Curious,
Oh, spring is in the air. As nature rubs her eyes and wipes away the residue of winter, the ground is exposed once more to the warming rays of sunlight. Our eyes begin to catch the colors of crocus pushing upwards and the shifting colors of the land from brown to green. Our nostrils start to twitch as we begin to smell the fresh, moist soil in the air. Our primeval brain fires as it means only one thing, â€œThis is the year for the perfect lawn!â€ Ask yourself this question, â€œWhy do we love our lawns so much?â€ It is more than just curb appeal we seek. Our lawns are a status symbol of ownership, an expression of time, leisure, and a hallmark of our society.
A call to action is sounded as we go to great lengths to protect the green velvety blades from the wicked weeds and irritating insects. Some estimates put lawn care at a $40 billion-a-year industry in the United States, in chemicals, fertilizer, seed, water and energy. Maineâ€™s lobster and clam economy is foundering under this very situation. The run-off of fertilizer and pesticides from lawns, among other places, are increasing the acidification of our bays. The fertilizer creates algae blooms which in turn creates more carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide mixed with water creates carbonic acid which in turn, is stunting the growth and dissolving the shells of clams. Like the Butterfly Effect, if someone asked you, that the actions you take in the name of your lawn, today, was going to seriously harm the rivers, oceans, the fish and shellfish you eat, tens, hundreds and thousands of miles away, now and into the future, would you stop?
The good news is that you can have your lawn and have your lobster, too. For those interested librarians, wanting to share the science of lawns, with your patrons, there are a number of great organizations that can instruct the lawn enthusiasts on a variety of natural solutions and ways to stay green, such as: Friends of Casco Bay and their Bayscaping program (www.cascobay.org) or Lawns to Lobsters, a joint collaboration between the Cape Neddick River Association, the York Rivers Association, York Land Trust, the York Water, District and the Conservation Commission and others, as well as the expertise that resides at your local County Cooperative Extension. If you would like assistance with setting up a program in your library, Cornerstones would also be happy to assist you with setting up a program. Please contact Cindy Randall or Dave Carpenter.
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