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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Every Acre Counts

Oct 26, 2016 08:20PM

Saving pollinators and rescuing endangered species like the monarch butterfly and the rusty-patched bumblebee aren’t the only reasons to make the switch to native plants and sustainable land practices at our home, church, school and business. The way we use our land can impact nearly every other environmental challenge we face.

         By reducing space devoted to water-guzzling grass treated with chemicals, leaf blowers and lawn mowers and replacing imported yews and boxwoods with native shrubs and plants that are non-invasive and support insects and birds, we reduce water pollution from runoff, maintain the health of the soil and even help sequester carbon to address climate change.

         Chicago Living Corridors (CLC) can help. Unlike most conservation organizations, this alliance of habitat groups focuses on unprotected private property. Private property makes up 95 percent of the land in the Chicago region, and that is a huge untapped resource for restoration of our fragmented natural systems. To address this gap, the  CLC is mapping properties that use native plants and environmentally friendly practices and providing landowners with education, information and the resources they need.

         CLC has applied for a MacArthur 100 & Change grant to create the Living Land Bank, an exchange market for natural plantings, sometimes called “green infrastructure”. Organizations involved with natural systems can participate with CLC to join the executive committee to get their properties on the regional map or coordinate other activities. For landowners and homeowners interested in understanding more about sustainable landscaping practices, CLC provides information to get started and make landscaping more interesting.

For more information, email [email protected] or visit ChicagoLivingCorridors.org.