NORWALK (CBSMiami) — Two women in Connecticut have started an environmental movement that might get you out of mowing your lawn and the idea is growing across the country.
Louise Washer and Donna Merrill showed CBS News a yard in Norwalk, Connecticut, that they admit is a mess, but all the leaves, brush, and weeds serve a purpose.READ MORE: NOAA: 'Above Average' 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Predicts 6-10 Hurricanes
“It’s got all the beebalm and the milkweed that the butterflies and the bees need,” said Washer.
Those native plants give insects and birds a place to gather and transfer pollen to help the ecosystem thrive, even in towns and cities.
In 2017, Washer and Merrill created a non-profit called the “Pollinator Pathway,” encouraging others to let their lawns go wild, stop mowing so often, and avoid using pesticides.
“People read about the insect apocalypse and the bee declines and the monarch butterfly, and this is something positive. This is something you can do,” said Washer.
READ MORE: Insurance Bills Clear Committee, Move To Florida Senate
After signing up online, you can purchase a butterfly marker to let your neighbors know why your yard might not look picture-perfect.
The movement now includes members in over 300 towns across the country, including locations in South Florida in Miami and Plantation.
“It’s seeding all over the United States. It’s moving into the Midwest, into the Northwest, into the Southeast,” said Merill.
Pollinators are so important “because 80% of the flowers and plants on Planet Earth require an animal vector for reproduction,” said University of Montana pollinator ecologist Scott Debnam. He hopes the pathway will one day expand to unused farmland and the sides of roads and highways. “That’s miles and miles and miles of available forage,” Debnam said.
Washer and Merrill are just getting started.MORE NEWS: Florida Tourism Thriving Ahead Of Memorial Day Weekend
“I think we’re really changing something. I don’t think this is stoppable at this point,” says Merrill. Washer and Merrill realize some towns have ordinances prohibiting unkempt lawns. They say if that’s the case in your community, mowing around the perimeter of your yard will help it look neat while letting some of the grass get longer.