The Toledo City Council mowed down more than an acre of pollinator habitat, because they thought it wasn’t pretty.
There was a 1.1 acre native prairie habitat on the Anthony Wayne Trail median, near the Toledo zoo. It contained wildflowers and prairie grasses. It increased plant diversity, and provided food for birds and butterflies and bees. It required less maintenance than grass, using fewer of the city’s and world’s resources.
And then Toledo mowed it down.
It seems that some members of the Toledo city council did not like the native prairie habitat. Didn’t include enough native plantings, perhaps? Wasn’t well integrated with the city’s overall biodiversity initiative?
No, the Toledo Blade reports that they just didn’t think that it looked “manicured.” It didn’t look “good.”
Two city councilmen, Matt Cherry and Rob Ludeman, complained about the wildflowers during a city council meeting on September 1, and nine days later, without, apparently, any other discussion or strategizing or problem-solving attempts, city crews were paid to mow them down.
Unfortunately, now passers-by will just see a bare patch in the place where they once could see the diversity of native plantings and catch sight of birds and butterflies. Fortunately, the native plantings should be established by now, and they’ll come back in the spring.
By the time they do, I hope that some organization in Toledo has undertaken the onerous task of educating the Toledo city council about the way that the world actually works. Perhaps they should show Councilmen Cherry and Ludeman the city’s budget, and explain that it costs money to pay for city crews to mow medians, unless, of course, you plant that median with a native habitat that doesn’t require mowing.
They should probably also show Cherry and Ludeman a map of the world, explaining first that the world is round so that they don’t get frightened by the edges of the map, and show them where the gas for those city mowers come from, and that we don’t get that gas for free.
Perhaps they can take Cherry and Ludeman on a field trip, along with whatever first grade class is also going, to a local greenhouse, where a nice botanist can explain to them that the “regular flowers” that Ludeman wants so much also cost money, and will likely require pesticides to maintain. The first graders can even explain to them why pesticides are bad, and bees are good. If they still have trouble with that concept, I can recommend a couple of good coloring books that might help.
And in the spring, when the native habitat on the Anthony Wayne Trail median grows back, perhaps the Toledo city council, instead of using up more than the city’s fair share of time and money and ignorance to mow it back down again, can instead do one simple thing that will allay their fears that passers-by will find the wildflowers “unsightly.”
Just put up a sign, Toledo. Have the sign read “Native Prairie Habitat.”
Problem solved. You’re welcome.
Photo credit: wildflowers image via Shutterstock