Have you ever driven past a field of wildflowers and thought how nice it would be to have something similar on your property? Or perhaps a plot of land that seemed in need of a good mowing, and yet appeared intentionally uncut? If so, there’s a good chance you were looking at a meadow and the Montgomery County Conservation District (MCCD) is doing its part to add more acres of these beneficial fields.
Funded through DEP’s Environmental Education Grants Program, MCCD recently partnered with Skippack Church to plant the first seeds of a new meadow during a “Lawn to Meadow” demonstration, held in Collegeville, PA. In an effort to increase naturalized areas on their property, Skippack Church contacted MCCD with specific goals in mind – creating a colorful space the community could enjoy that attracts pollinators. With that in mind, MCCD staff selected a butterfly and hummingbird garden mix for the project.
During the demonstration, County Conservation District staff walked attendees through the benefits of naturalized areas, discussed how to select the best seeds for a project, and demonstrated how to mix and plant seeds using a no-till drill seeder.
So what exactly is a meadow and why do we need more of them? Great questions!
A meadow is typically a field with native grasses and wildflowers, intentionally planted, and maintained in order to achieve various environmental benefits.
- An established meadow can help:
- increase stormwater infiltration
- reduce runoff and flooding
- provide beneficial wildlife and pollinator habitats
- reduce mowing, saving both time and money
These naturalized areas require regular maintenance for at least the first three years until plantings become well established and are not overtaken by unwanted species or are washed away. This includes spot treating weeds and occasional mowing. After the initial few years of establishment, the meadows only require one mowing per year in the early spring.
MCCD’s environmental education efforts include hosting events focused on agricultural and stormwater best management practices to address climate change and local water issues. Participants are those interested in urban agriculture, local farmers, and home gardeners who would like to learn more about the benefits of utilizing cover crops and planting native meadows. This project also supports the no-till drill rental program in Montgomery County, allowing county farmers to increase the number of no-till acres planted.
Administered through DEP, the Environmental Education Grants Program provides funds to support a wide range of environmental education projects including meaningful, hands-on programs for students, teacher training workshops, and community conservation projects for adults. This program, established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, mandates that 5% of all pollution fines and penalties collected annually by DEP be set aside for environmental education. Since its inception, the Environmental Education Grants Program has provided more than $11.5 million to support environmental education throughout Pennsylvania.
Want to learn more about DEP grants, including the Environmental Education Grants Program? Visit DEP’s grant page.
Want to learn more on how to start your own meadow? Contact your local County Conservation District.