I have good news, great news, and not-so-awesome news.
The good news is that at the last BOD meeting, a motion to award $1.4K for fall-time “green” activities on the test plot was passed. All but one member voted in favor of setting aside these funds to aerate, overseed, and apply lime to the Green Initiative’s test plot. So, YAY! Progress! My understanding is that we will try to roll as much of the work as possible into community clean-up day (not sure of that date yet), so the community will have an opportunity to see just how simple natural turf care is and, also, get involved if they wish.
The great news is that the chair of the Landscape & Grounds Committee (L&GC) is the one who really pushed this through. This is important because it shows that the high-level buy-in the Green Initiative may require in order to succeed IS HAPPENING!!! Although a small but persistent group of community members has been working toward this for a long time, it really seems that at least for now, for better or worse, this is the way this community recognizes the need for change and ultimately makes changes: from the top down, rather than the other way around.
One of the main things that turned the L&GC chair around, from what I’ know, is that he visited Burke Lake Golf Course and spoke to some folks there about how they keep it looking so green. I did the same and learned that they rely mainly on natural turf care w/ little to no use of pesticides, fungicides, etc., on the fairways (the largest part, proportionately, of a golf course) to get their awesome results. More info on their practices to come, but for now, I think this development was super critical for the chair — mainly because he often says that “what people want here is to maintain a golf-course-like appearance.” Now, I don’t happen to agree with this myself, but maybe this is what some people want. If so, I think we can all agree that this is NOT what we now have. And so the idea of “maintaining” such really does not hold much water for many of us. On the other hand, though, the idea that we might achieve something closer to that aesthetic without using harsh chemicals could be quite an exciting revelation to some!
The not-so-awesome news is that even though we are making progress, the Green Initiative (as things stand) will still have to “demonstrate” results comparable to those of current practices before natural turf care becomes the norm for all of our common grounds. And we have to achieve these results at the same or better cost, which doesn’t take into account the fact that transitioning from one turf care approach to another may mean additional expenses initially. So it could be years before we get the pesticides off the rest of our recreational areas!
I for one do not want our children or pets, us, to have to wait years before we have a safe play to live, grow, and play — and I know, based on all the folks who share their concerns with me, that I’m not alone in this. The problem is that even now it’s hard to see a difference between the test plot and the pesticide-treated areas. Everything looks pretty much the same. Look at it, please! So what exactly are our “comparable results” supposed to entail? How will we measure them, prove them? How can we know when we’ve succeeded if we haven’t yet clearly defined success?
Concerned? I think we should be. So please, show up at Landscape & Grounds Committee meetings (first Monday every month, 7:30 pm, community center) and BOD meetings, let your opinion be known, talk to your neighbors, etc. We’re making progress, yes, but this is far from over. We still need you!!!!
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