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May 2023

Homes Plus

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Eco-friendly From Page 1 recognition of the village's "Bee City USA" designation, which was earned in 2020, according to Nicci Sternitzky, chairperson of the Elm Grove Beautification Committee. "We're a group of residents looking to get involved with things ecologically-minded," said Sternitzky, of the committee. "No Mow May" is a phrase that has circu- lated more in recent years, and got its start in 2019 in the UK, according to an Associated Press article. "Bee City USA" and "Bee Cam- pus USA" are initiatives by the Xerces Soci- ety for Invertebrate Conservation, according to the organization website. The Elm Grove group's effort passed the village board unanimously in 2022. Sternitzky said the beautification commit- tee had a goal of getting 1.5% of lawn owners in the village to participate last year, match- ing that of a similar effort in Appleton. "We had 3.3 percent," she said, noting this included 75 homes. The group had informational yard signs available for those participating and are offering the same this year. The theme for this year's campaign is, "The More You Know, The Less You Mow," the group's state- ment said. The effort during May is just one compo- nent of an ecological strategy, according to Sternitzky, who described "No Mow May" as a catch phrase to bring people's attention to the bigger mission. "Our early pollinators, including the rusty- patched bumble bee, need food to get nests started," she said, noting the bee is on the list of federally endangered species. "The whole mission is to get homeowners to thinking about how they affect the ecosys- tem," Sternitzky said. Homeowners can pursue other methods throughout the year, like leaving the stems of plants standing in the winter, Sternitzky said. She has removed portions of her lawn to make space for native plants, like swatches of Virginia bluebells. Last summer, she saw her first rusty-patched bumble bee in her yard. "It was the highlight of my summer. Just knowing this is an area this bumblebee is in gives our committee hope that our actions to protect the pollinators will make a differ- ence," Sternitzky said. She said the beautification committee's efforts have drawn "a ton of positive com- ments." "It's heartwarming to see people come for- ward and be so excited that there are other people in the community that care about these same issues," Sternitzky said. For others looking to coordinate similar efforts, Sternitzky recommended working with local municipal leaders to ensure every- thing is done legally. The Elm Grove Beautification Committee will hold its first plant sale on the first Satur- day in June, according to Sternitzky. "We have 57 varieties of native perennials and five native grasses," said Sternitzky, who said the committee works with area compa- nies like Johnson's Nursery in Menomonee Falls that have an ecologically-minded mis- sion. HOME MAY 2023 2 Distributed by: ©2023 by Conley Media Waukesha County Home is published monthly by Conley Media - Waukesha County, 801 N. Barstow St., Waukesha, WI 53186. Contents of this publication may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher. A publication of Conley Media Sales Director: Jim Baumgart 262/513-2621 jbaumgart@conleynet.com Editor: Dan Muckelbauer 262/513-2626 dmuck@conleynet.com Production: Patricia Scheel 262/513-2690 pscheel@conleynet.com Home Volume 12 ■ Number 4 ■ May 2023 Ecological yard ideas Lawn care ideas for those looking to support the area ecosystem, from the Elm Grove Beau- tification Committee: ■ Choose not to mow your turf grass until June. ■ Mow your turf grass later in spring than you would otherwise. ■ Mow your turf grass less often than you would normally. ■ On a section of your turf grass, choose to not use pesticides, delay or minimize pesticide use, or delay yard cleanup. Delaying yard cleanup allows overwintering invertebrates to emerge in spring once it's warm enough to for- age, according to the committee. ■ Remove turf grass around keystone tree species and plant perennials. ■ Remove turf grass and plant a pollinator bed. ■ Remove invasive species from your land- scape. ■ Add plants that support pollinators.Visit nwf.org and enter your ZIP code to find plants ranked by pollinator support. "It was the highlight of my summer. Just knowing this is an area this bumblebee is in gives our committee hope that our actions to protect the pollinators will make a difference." – Nicci Sternitzky, Elm Grove Beautification Committee chairperson, on seeing a rusty-patched bumble bee in her yard last year "The Beautification Committee's goals in promoting this initiative is to remind homeowners that their actions at home matter to our native pollinators and the need for early season forage." – The Elm Grove Beautification Committee, on its natural lawn care efforts Photo submitted by Nicci Sternitzky A portion of lawn removed to allow for the planting of native plants in Nicci Sternitzky's lawn. All cut sod was placed upside down, covered with newspaper and compost, then planted into, Sternitzky said.

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