South metro organization encouraging residents to rethink traditional lawns

DNR shares tips for alternatives to grass lawns

DNR shares tips for alternatives to grass lawns

As the growing season begins, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other community groups are encouraging residents to rethink their traditional lawns in favor of lawns that support native plants and pollinators.

In a webinar Wednesday, Master Naturalist Dan Schultz broke down the four biomes across Minnesota, making the state a perfect place to let plants and animals thrive.

“What this is all about is rewilding,” he said. “So creating wildlife habitat and in our backyards and urban spaces.”

Beyond the DNR, Richfield and Bloomington residents are joining together in a community-based organization called “Altlawns.” Their mission is to create biodiverse native habitats in place of grass lawns.

Ava J.T. McKnight founded the organization after noticing neighbors in Richfield searching for help in creating biodiverse lawns. Since then, the organization has grown to hundreds of members and volunteers across the south metro.

“I noticed a lack of activity, but online a lot of questions about it,” she said. “So I saw a need to reach out and help people.”

If you’re looking to join the cause but aren’t sure where to start, one of the first things you can do is avoid pesticides. Beyond that, start small and grow from there.

“Even if you plant three plants, even if you do one square foot, it’s going to help the pollinators that need to go from one spot to another and have someplace to land,” McKnight said.