A growing number of Minnesota cities are declaring "No Mow May" and encouraging residents to opt for untidy lawns in efforts to save pollinators.
West St. Paul joined the effort last year, and "No Mow May" will be formally observed for the first time this year in Edina, Mendota Heights, Vadnais Heights and New Brighton.
In participating communities, local ordinances pertaining to lawn maintenance are temporarily suspended to allow for untidy lawns.
The natural growth help bees and other pollinators safely leave hibernation and find critical nectar and pollen resources at the start of the season.
Within "No Mow May" cities, participation from property owners is optional.
In 2020, Appleton, Wisconsin became the first U.S. city to adopt "No Mow May", according to Wisconsin Public Radio. More communities in Wisconsin and elsewhere have since joined the effort.
In Minnesota, there are more than 400 native bee species, according to Board of Water and Soil Resources.
Minnesota's state bee, the rusty-patched bumble bee, is among a list of pollinators threatened with extinction due to loss of habitat and other factors, such as the use of pesticides and insecticides.
The orange and brown Poweshiek skipperling, formerly one of Minnesota’s most common prairie butterflies, is nearly extinct, according to the Minnesota Zoo's Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program. Another butterfly, the Dakota Skipper, has also nearly vanished.
In addition to ditching the mower, native plantings are encouraged to help replenish pollinator habitat. The zoo recommends milkweeds, purple coneflowers, Black-eyed Susan, meadow blazing star and New England aster.
Bring Me The News has a guide on how to convert your yard to native prairie:
Online resources to download: