by Priscilla Feral
Back in the summer of 2012, I became alarmed when I saw yellow pesticide application signs on the edge of Pinkney Park in Rowayton because it’s situated along the Five Mile River, which provides habitat for aquatic organisms, fish, songbirds, amphibians, and small mammals.
It is also the site of many community events, such as Shakespeare on the Sound, where families and children sit directly on the lawn.
I learned from the lawncare company it used Quinclorac for weed and crab grass control. I then reached out to the national organization Beyond Pesticides to get more information about the product and found out that the chemical is a potential groundwater contaminant and considered toxic to aquatic animals.
I worked with commissioners to make Pinkney Park an organic showpiece for the community in 2013, and other public land areas such as the Community Center property, the Rowayton Dog Park and Bailey Beach all are now pesticide free.
Last summer, Norwalk’s Common Council passed an ordinance banning toxic pesticides and assuring that pesticide-free management would be implemented on all public spaces throughout the city. Their land management pan embraces an organic systems approach to land care, including preventive practices that eliminate pest-conducive conditions.
But Norwalk will not truly be pesticide free until residents stop using toxic chemicals in their own yards. The pesticide free movement is encouraging residents to go pesticide free one lawn at a time.