When my kids were little, we referred to lawns as play lawns or pesticide lawns (identifiable by the diversity present, or lack of it; hint — look for clover, a nitrogen-rich legume that actually used to be present in grass seed mixes). They knew to stay off pesticide lawns. (Fun fact: My older daughter even noticed which type of lawns were at colleges she visited and determined — rightly –which places were more sustainable as a result.)
Our lawn has been toxin-free for more than 10 years now, and I hoped our city park lawns would be play lawns, too, especially since it adopted a policy for integrated pest management, native plantings, and minimal toxic inputs (part of what earned it its Gold-level designation as an Atlanta Regional Commission Green Community).
But no. When I rode my bike through parks where kids were playing yesterday, these signs (pictured) were everywhere. I don’t think today’s kids know that there is another way that lawns can be. These are the same kids who will soon be playing on artificial turf across the street from these parks at the middle school. I continue to be Stumped.
(For more sustainability insights while kids are growing up, see Food for My Daughters.)