Urban Environments | Turn lawns into a “biodiversity net”.

The green spaces that are plentiful in the suburbs could be rich “biodiversity webs” if they were a bit more diversified. Salaberry-de-Valleyfield tries to change the “laws of the lawn” and mobilizes the children to form a Sower Troop.

Posted at 6:00 am

Jean Thomas Leveille

Jean Thomas Leveille
The press

Without pollinators there would be no Nutella.

With this concrete illustration by Magali Joube, children immediately understood the importance of biodiversity, without which the cocoa used to make the famous spread would not exist.

The third class of “Mr. Sébastien” from the Sainte-Agnès School attended the presentation of the Communications Advisor of the City of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield on a rainy June morning.

“What is biodiversity for? she asked her.

“To make nature stronger,” summed up little Alice, 8 years old.

Photo Marco Campanozzi, DIE PRESSE

Magali Joube, Communications Advisor for the City of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, leads workshops and distributes native plant seeds in schools to increase biodiversity in the city.

But that strength, as the name suggests, comes from biodiversity, which is sometimes poor in urban settings.

To remedy this, the city of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield wants to enrich the most common green space in the suburbs: the lawn.

And to achieve that, it involves children by conducting workshops in schools and distributing a mix of clover, shamrock and yarrow seeds, native plants.

“If your parents agree, you can sow your land,” she told them.

virtuous circle

Salaberry-de-Valleyfield wants to create a “biodiversity network”, contiguous areas that have a high ecosystem value.

Because peat (pre-cultivated grass) that is massively rolled out in urban areas generally has low biodiversity, explains Magali Joube.

“It’s a monoculture,” specifically Kentucky Bluegrass, the true name of the pristine turf.

Adding clover, shamrock, and yarrow will provide some flowers that pollinators will appreciate, and will fix nitrogen to enrich the soil.

“There is so much potential, all private land can have great ecosystem value,” enthuses Magali Joube, who specifies that lawn mowing can be kept, distributed or abandoned at will – and if municipal regulations allow it!

Increasing plant diversity is affecting the diversity and volume of insects and wildlife, she says.

It’s a virtuous circle.

Magali Joube

The idea for this project, entitled Sowing Biodiversity, arose from the observation that conferences on this topic attracted an audience that was already interested in these topics.

“We preached about converts, we need to reach a wider audience,” said Magali Joube The pressafter his presentation.

“Children are naturally curious and they are future citizens,” she says. We turn them into actors. »

Photo Marco Campanozzi, DIE PRESSE

Supervised by her teacher Sébastien Daoust-Charest, Magali Joube gives Alice Arseneau seeds of clover, shamrock and yarrow.

To show the way

Around forty classes from three of the ten primary schools in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield were visited in this first year of the Sowing Biodiversity project.

However, diversifying your lawn isn’t as easy as it might seem since the seeds of native plants can be hard to find. The city had to have the mix it sells made by a specialized company.

“People ask for it, but it’s hard to find,” says Magali Joube, who explains that the city wants to use all its weight to “be the leader” to encourage the industry to improve what it offers.

The approach doesn’t stop at the grass; Salaberry-de-Valleyfield now uses native plants in its landscaping.

“The advantage of domestic developments is that when they mature, they are self-sustaining,” which translates into savings, she points out.

The more people ask, the more cities order, and the more industry will deliver, she hopes.

“Buying is voting,” reminds Magali Joube, who points out that Salaberry-de-Valleyfield makes the material of her project available on her website for anyone who wants to use it.

Corrected the caption of the main photo of this text. It has been pointed out that the flower we see there is yarrow. It is, however, bird’s-foot shamrock.

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  • 8.7 million
    Number of living species on earth, according to a reputable study

    Source: Census of Marine Life

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