By Will Sulahian
Earth Month is officially here! This April, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) shares ways you can help protect the planet and promote healthier living environments. From growing organically to installing rain barrels to collect and reuse stormwater, there are many ways you can help Mother Earth. Besides celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day on April 22 and April 30, here are five simple ways you can make environmentally friendly decisions year-round.
Get in tune with nature this Earth Month by growing organic. You can help reduce soil pollution from pesticides and other chemicals as well as eliminate chemical residue on your food. Growing organic is simple! You can source organically grown seeds and plants, use organic pest control, and replenish nutrient resources by adding compost to your soil to keep it nutrient-rich.
Combat stormwater runoff this April (and year-round!) by learning about rain barrels, rain gardens, and other ways to manage runoff. In cities and urban settings, excess rainwater contributes to river pollution and flooding. Controlling stormwater is essential to protecting cities and the environment.
After participating in a one-hour PHS Rain Check workshop in conjunction with the Philadelphia Water Department, attendees can contact PHS approved subcontractors to get rain barrels, rain gardens, or downspout planters installed. Best of all? Rain barrels are free!
Bees, birds, and other pollinators are vital to our ecosystems, as they help a large variety of plants reproduce during the growing season, including many of the plants and crops that we eat. They need a place where they can thrive! Planting a pollinator garden supports the environment by giving pollinators food and shelter while also allowing them to naturally fertilize other plants. If you are new to gardening, check out the PHS Gold Medal Plants Database to find plants that will flourish in our region.
Did you know that the United States has around 40 million acres of “unproductive” green space in the form of lawns? These patches of land may look nice, but they require a lot of water, cutting, and other resources to be maintained. PHS will be hosting the virtual “Say ‘No Mow’ to Your Lawn,” event on Thursday, April 22. Join Jeff Lorenz, principle at Refugia Design/Build, and exhibitor at this year's Flower Show in June, to learn about attractive, low-maintenance alternatives to traditional lawns.
One of the most popular days of Earth Month is Arbor Day on April 30. Arbor Day began as a Nebraskan holiday to celebrate trees in 1874 and has grown into a beloved national holiday. There is no better way to observe this holiday than by becoming a PHS Tree Tender. Don’t have the time to become a certified Tree Tender? Come and join your community at a volunteer tree planting, where volunteers of all experience levels are welcome. This month, tree distribution and planting for Tree Tenders groups and general volunteers will take place from April 20 to April 25.
When the month of April draws to a close, remember to keep these earth-friendly practices in mind moving forward. Help PHS protect the Earth’s nature and beauty for generations to come. Whether it’s planting a tree or growing your own plants organically, everyone can contribute in some small way to keeping the Earth healthy and happy.
Want to learn more? Sign up for PHS's monthly newsletter for more environmental tips and tricks.