Russell Council Contemplates Environmentally Friendly Seeds for Green Spaces

By Gabrielle Vinette
Russell Council Contemplates Environmentally Friendly Seeds for Green Spaces
During Russell’s Council meeting on April 29, 2024, Russell Council discusses the idea that all new developments must have a designated green space for the new communities as well as planting native plants. (Photo : File photo)

Russell Council discussed the idea that all new developments must have a designated green space for new communities that includes planting native plants. 

During the Russell council meeting on April 29, the Environmental and Sustainability Advisory Committee asked for council to consider creating a by-law to be implemented in the fall of 2024. 

The new by-law would include all new green spaces and the repair of existing green spaces owned by the Township, with native plants and seeds, like prunella self-heal or wild strawberry seeds, as an alternative to grass, in the hopes of creating more biodiversity that hosts native insects and feeds native birds. 

The native seeds are adapted for the climate of the region, and will self-seed to help maintain the growing area and reduce long-term costs. 

Such plants help clean ground water, prevent erosion, require little upkeep, and can withstand foot traffic while not a breeding ground for invasive insects, such as Japanese beetles. 

In keeping with the Township of Russell’s Environmental Strategic Plan, council discussed restoring the land using native plants to increase biodiversity, and rebuild the natural eco-system, to reduce carbon emissions and long-term maintenance costs. 

“If I go back to our Strategic Plan and the environmental impact, our strategic goals around environmental awareness and working towards a lower carbon footprint,” said Mike Tarnowski, the Russell councillor now appointed as Mayor. “The committee is recommending that we look at replacing manicured green lawns in our parks for a more natural kind of greenery. Which, as we know, green grass does create a significant carbon use and so the committee is recommending to Township to take a look at that. So that’s where the recommendation comes from.” 

The decision during the meeting was to let the committee come back with a report. Council will discuss the subject at a later date. 

It’s “No-Mow May”! 

Throughout the month of May, the Township of Russell, with the support of the Environmental Advisory Committee, is encouraging residents to participate in “No-Mow May”. The event is to let people’s lawn grow for the entire month of May to support our local bee population.  

As part of the initiative, Public Safety and Enforcement Officers will not enforce grass cutting between May 1 to 31 each year. 

The Parks and Recreation Department have decided to participate in this initiative in two parks. The grass in the Jean-Guy Lapointe Park in Embrun and in a section of the Hanover Park in Russell will not be cut during the month of May. 

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