by June Portnoy
“Greening Our Backyards” was the topic discussed by three presenters during Newtown Township’s Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) Environmental Forum on Saturday, June 2nd at the Newtown Township Municipal Building.
The EAC was established to protect the natural resources within the Township and create community awareness. Steve Donohue, Environmental Scientist at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), talked about greenscapes, also known as green landscaping.
“The EPA established this program to reduce the use of fertilizer and pesticides, encourage native plants, protect soil and use water wisely,” said Steve. “We’ve lost a lot of habitats in this area, so our yards are becoming more and more important. Work with nature in your yard. If you have healthy soil, you’ll have healthy plants.”
He recommended that people manage and use water wisely. By reducing the size of your lawn, you won’t need to use lawnmowers for as long a time, which will reduce air pollution. Steve also recommended bringing native plants back to the area.
Native plants are adaptive to this climate, so once established, rarely if ever do they need watering, saving you time and money as well as resources.
“You can also save money on your air conditioning and heating bills by placing shrubs right against your house,” he added. “They will block the wind during the cold months and shade your home when it is hot outside.”
He explained that 85% to 95% of bugs are “good bugs,” and therefore, you don’t need as many pesticides as you might think.