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'No Mow May' is gaining popularity but naturalists advise better practices

A ground level photograph of a lawn mower facing a clump of blue and white flowers.
Letting lawns grow in the summer can be a good practice for pollinators.

The trend of "No Mow May" has grown in popularity in the last several years.

What started as a practice in the United Kingdom in 2019 as a way to give pollinators like bees, butterflies, and some birds increased food sources has grown into a widespread practice across the United States, and in particular the Midwest.

In Northeast Ohio, cities like Cleveland Heights are getting involved in the practice on the municipal level. Mayor Kahlil Seren announced at the beginning of the month that he was suspending the city’s code that would enforce tall grass violations. But during Monday's City Council meeting, Seren also said that not mowing one's lawn isn't a "end all be all solution." He remarked that it's only a starting point to supporting pollinators and our ecosystem.

That's a refrain heard more from naturalists as "No Mow May" is becoming more widespread. While the intention is good, they say there are better practices that can be put in place during these summer months to achieve desirable environmental outcomes.

On Thursday’s “Sound of Ideas,” we'll discuss "No Mow May," and how we're seeing shifting recommendations for people who are taking part in the practice.

Later in this hour, we'll hear from David Quammen, who is one of America's top science writers. His work can often be found in National Geographic, and he has a new book out, “The Heartbeat of the Wild."

Finally, we end the program with another episode of our music podcast “Shuffle." This week, Amanda Rabinowitz speaks with reggae musician Carlos Jones.

- Ed Nangle, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Ohio State University
- Sheila St. Clair, Owner, Queen Right Colonies; Greater Cleveland Beekeepers Association
- David Quammen, Naturalist and Science Writer; Author, "The Heartbeat of The Wild"
- Amanda Rabinowitz, Host of Shuffle and All Things Considered, Ideastream Public Media
- Carlos Jones, Musician

Drew Maziasz is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and also serves as the show’s technical producer.
Rachel is the supervising producer for Ideastream Public Media’s morning public affairs show, the “Sound of Ideas.”