This spring, led by its LIVEGREEN program and with assistance from University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners, District 197 will put its pollinator-friendly plan into action.
As a pollinator-friendly community, District 197 will:
“We’re excited to get started!” said Lisa Johnson, district sustainability manager and LIVEGREEN program coordinator. “It’s the right thing to do for the environment and sets a great example for our students. It’s a win-win for the pollinators and our schools.”
- Minimize the use of insecticides and pesticides
- Maintain existing and create new pollinator habitats
- Establish lawn mowing schedules that protect pollinators and promote pollination
- Use native plants to support pollinators in landscaping, when possible
Many of the new pollinator-friendly lawn and landscaping practices will not be noticeable to the public, however, community members may start to see shifts in mowing schedules. Some grasses (not including athletic fields and playgrounds) will be allowed to grow longer in the spring in order to promote the growth of clover, which is a source of food for pollinators.
Other areas will not be mowed at all to create habitats for native pollinators who nest in the ground and can find food in un-mowed areas. View the maps below to see where changes will be made at each school.
The District 197 School Board passed a resolution to become pollinator-friendly in February 2016, becoming the first school district in the state of Minnesota to adopt this designation. Several cities across the metro area, including Mendota Heights, have also pledged to be pollinator-friendly communities in the past few years.
“For more than a decade our district has been committed to Green practices, with active recycling, composting and energy-efficiency programs in our schools,” said Mark Fortman, district director of operations. “Changing our approach to grounds maintenance so that it supports a healthy, more natural environment for wild pollinators is a great addition to our sustainability initiatives.”
Online resources from the University of Minnesota Extension and others:
District 197 LIVEGREEN Webpage - www.isd197.org/district/sustainability