The local group Bee Habitat has dedicated nearly a year to persuading community leaders to adopt alternative methods for maintaining school grounds, parks, and playgrounds. This week, they organized a training session at City Hall to promote pesticide-free maintenance practices. The nonprofit organization Beyond Pesticides supported this initiative by covering the costs of the training, which focused on pesticide-free park and turf management.

Both Beyond Pesticides and are committed to collaborating with the cities of Reno and Carson City, as well as the Nevada State Legislature, to implement these pesticide-free practices through ongoing training and hands-on work.

The training session attracted significant interest, with 58 people registering and 44 attending. It was aimed at the technical details of non-chemical lawn care. Attendees included representatives from several city and county departments, educational institutions, and local businesses, demonstrating a wide community interest in sustainable landscaping practices.

Sandy Rowley from Bee Habitat shared insights from the session, emphasizing the dangers of conventional pesticides and the benefits of organic alternatives. Key points included the longevity of pesticides in non-organic plants and seeds, the necessity of using organic soil, and the high risks associated with landscaping jobs due to pesticide exposure. Noteworthy was the fact that over 300,000 people in the U.S. died last year due to pesticide exposure.

The meeting also highlighted that moving to pesticide-free practices is not just about substituting one product for another but involves a comprehensive change in how landscaping is approached. The recommended steps to establish a successful pesticide-free turf program include soil testing, using organic treatments like compost tea, setting proper mowing heights, optimizing watering schedules, choosing resilient grass varieties, and eliminating synthetic fertilizers to protect soil microorganisms.

These practices underscore the holistic approach needed to maintain healthy, pesticide-free environments in urban spaces.