5 Western MA Parks Go Organic!

5 Local Parks to Implement Organic Lawn Care Practices

Look Park in Florence offers recreational opportunities for walkers, runners, bikers, and other users. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Five municipal parks in the Hampshire and Hampden county areas will transition from using synthetic petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides to using organic practices and materials. These parks attract thousands of visitors each year, creating an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the benefits and beauty of organic lawn care.  This is GREAT news for families, pets and our natural environment!

Participating Western MA parks include:

  • School Street Park in Agawamwithin walking distance of the Connecticut River, School Street Park features 50 acres of land with four multi-purpose athletic fields, a handicap accessible playscape, a basketball court, shuffleboard and bocce ball courts, walking trails, picnic tables, and a historic barn. The park has a high volume of adult and children using its facilities.
  • Look Park in Florence —Look Park offers recreational opportunities for walkers, runners, bikers, and other users. One of its focal points is a grass 2,200-person capacity outdoor concert theatre. Earlier this year, using a Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) grant, this outdoor theater transitioned to a petrochemical- and pesticide-free venue.
  • Greenwood Park in Longmeadow—the park abuts Greenwood Center, which houses the Council on Aging and the Longmeadow Park and Recreation Childcare Center. The Childcare Center uses Greenwood Park daily for its outdoor activities, as does the Council on Aging for certain seasonal events.
  • Town Center Park in Ludlow—the Town plans to use TURI funding to transition this park, which hosts a summer community concert series, into a pesticide- and petrochemical-free space. The park is located in a highly visible area in the center of Town and the concert series is well attended.
  • Wistariahurst Museum Grounds in Holyoke—in 1959, Wistariahurst was given to the City of Holyoke for cultural and educational purposes. The grounds contain extensive ornamental gardens and an expansive lawn. The museum is home to the Master Gardener’s Association and hosts weekly meetings and multiple plant sales and regional conferences throughout the year.

In addition to their actual lawn care programs, each park will participate in an extensive public awareness and promotion campaign including workshops and seminars, display banners, lawn signs, brochures, and promotions at local park events.

Funding for this project is provided by a grant from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at UMass Lowell to the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. To learn more about this project or organic land care practices, visit www.thinkbluema.org.

[Submitted by Pioneer Valley Planning Commission]

2 Comments

  1. May 8, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Write a letter, Leigh! You’ve made some excellent points and it’s always good to empower those in charge of making decisions with facts & figures!

  2. May 8, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I wonder if any of these parks would even start to consider going with human powered reel lawn mowers? The gas used in mowers have emissions that are as bad in ONE hour of use if you drove an SUV for 20,000 miles. This is from an EPA report. I started using one this week and it’s around the same effort for me. I’m sure with their investment in gas driven mowers etc they’d have to spend a LOT more on the human cost of paying someone per hour to do this, but they would save later on gas costs and the costs of those tractors. I hope someone recommends that to them! Maybe I will write a letter! This is VERY encouraging news – thanks for posting!


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