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Appleton creates national buzz about ‘No Mow May’

For the last few years, Appleton has spearheaded the movement to save the bee by asking community members to leave their lawns alone during May.
Experts recommend planting native plants and creating safe spaces for bees.
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 8:20 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - In 2020, Appleton became the first city in the United States to adopt No Mow May, with 435 homes registering to take part.

For the last few years, Appleton has spearheaded the movement to save the bee by asking community members to leave their lawns alone during May.

Through research, Lawrence University professors have found their study to work immensely.

They found that No Mow May lawns had five times the number of bees and three times the bee species than did mown parks.

“So the idea is if we let our lawns grow a little bit higher, these things that we would normally call weeds would actually be, uh, serving as food sources for our native bees and pollinators that are coming out of hibernation right around April and May,” Dr. Israel Del Toro, with Lawrence University said.

At the most recent Common Council meeting, Appleton approved the notion to make “No Mow May” permanent for the city. Meanwhile, More than 20 municipalities across Wisconsin have vowed to participate once again.

While Stevens Point will vote on the notion at their next meeting, the mayor said he would be surprised if it didn’t pass, as it had great success and support last year.

“It’s one of those little things that we can all do to make the community that we live in a better place. There really is no downside. So, when we saw what Appleton had done, we kind of took their lead,” Stevens Point Mayor, Mike Wiza said.

Today Appleton’s efforts are being recognized at the national level, thanks to a New York Times article titled In Wisconsin: Stowing Mowers, Pleasing Bees.

The article highlights the work and success Appleton has seen through this project.

“We’re getting national recognition about participating, uh, on something, um, where you can actually be a little bit lazy in your backyard and still help mother nature At the end of the day,” Del Toro said.

Since its release, Del Toro said he has gotten a handful of inquiries from communities all across the country.

“We’re seeing communications coming in from places like New York and Florida, California. We’re getting all kinds of emails saying that we’d love to try this in our city,” Del Toro said. “It’s more than just about recognition. It really does boil down to just protecting our pollinators and making sure that our biodiversity is safe in our backyards”.

He hopes with the buzz, will come more communities looking to save the bees.

Appleton has pushed No Mow May for the past three years.

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