It’s easy sometimes to form an “Us and Them” mentality about members of our community. This is rarely, if ever, a helpful attitude to adopt, as we need every interested party at the table to discuss habits, water, wildlife, and the land. This week, the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks made a great new friend and partner in Ryan Lawn and Tree here in Springfield. A lawn service provider is not always the first partner to come to mind when dealing with issues like stormwater and land management. However, in our ever growing concrete desert the people responsible for making our green islands both productive and attractive offer a viewpoint that is missed by those of us who would like to see everything returned to its natural state. The people who care for and manage our urban plant-scapes bridge the gap between a preservationist and an industrialist; we can have our buildings and parking lots, but we can also have beautiful, water-filtering, air-purifying, green spaces that make everyone happy. The fact is that a well-maintained and productive lawn can do more to absorb and filter stormwater than a vacant lot or a concrete pad will.

Of course, we’d love to see more native landscapes in our developed lands, and we worked on just such an endeavor today. The Greg and Nathan from Ryan Lawn and Tree came out to help us spread the wildflower seeds that we got from Hamilton Native Outpost. With some nice snow to make the seeds easy to see, and a good freeze-thaw cycle ahead of us, with any luck we will have a native prairie oasis sprouting up in the middle of our concrete parking lot this year. What’s more is that in the coming spring and summer, our new friends have offered a great deal of help in clearing some open space in our overgrown savannah and more seed spreading when the time for planting grasses comes along.

In all that we do as an environmentally minded community, we must not fail to invite everyone to the table to talk about how we can work together to achieve a healthy wild and developed landscape that care for the water and the soil that continues to inhabit the land that we have chosen to settle. Please enjoy these pictures of the planting and visit Ryan Lawn and Tree and Hamilton Native Outpost through the links provided below. Thanks for reading.

Rob Hunt, Watershed Center Coordinator.

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