By Thea Hassan:
The musing generally begins with “why, when I was a kid…” as we’re lectured on how prior generations did things better. Some people are beginning to take heed of these ruminations.
Take Olmsted Naturally, for example, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s group of employees who are trying to make their park system a greener, more natural place. Olmsted Naturally is attempting to cut out the artificial- reducing mowing, pesticide and insecticide use, removing non-native plant species to be replaced with native ones, and composting waste.
Olmsted Naturally was born when the CEO of Olmsted, Thomas Herrera-Mishler, asked if anyone was interested in making the parks greener. Olmsted employees began to meet to discuss environmental issues within the park system, and how they could be improved.
Buffalo Rising reported previously on maintained meadow areas that would be implemented in the parks, and other initiatives planned. But Olmsted Naturally is more than that.
Certain insects native to Buffalo, such as the mason bee, only hang out with native plants, according to Jeff Krajnik, of Olmsted Naturally. But the mason bee has lost its habitat. Olmsted Naturally is attempting to restore these plants, some of which are on the endangered species list, in order to help the native bee populations rebound. Krajnik expressed his vision of what the parks system could be one day- similar to a zoo, but instead of marveling at exotic animals, visitors can marvel at native plants and insects.
Country in the city
With the Olmsted Naturally initiatives, Jeff Krajnik said he hopes visitors can experience the country inside the city. Visitors can walk through the meadow areas, see the insects, the birds, the bees and the butterflies, and experience nature despite the urban surroundings.
A stigma may exist within our society that lawns must be perfectly manicured, pesticides sprayed to keep the bugs away. Olmsted Naturally offers park visitors to observe and learn from what natural operations could offer. Krajnik said he hopes to promote the understanding of the importance of keeping the environment in balance.
The Olmsted Natural initiatives have just began, but small changes can already be observed. Native plants are thriving in the two parks where they have been implemented, Delaware and MLK.