On Earth Day, the Sisters of St. Joseph expanded their three acre native grass meadow to seven acres with a new seeding. The meadow is in a section of the large lawn area in front of the main buildings. The purpose of the native grass meadow is to restore ecosystems, to provide wildlife habitat for species likely to be found in the Long Island bioregion, to attract insects and pollinators, and to restore native plant communities. It will increase overall biodiversity while also maintaining an aesthetically pleasing campus

Not only will the meadow attract animal species such as butterflies and bees, but it will provide a space where visitors can enjoy a closeness to nature.  Paths through the meadows will enable walking among the flowers, and benches under the trees will be available for those seeking a place for quiet contemplation.

In addition, native grasses are extremely drought tolerant and have a distinct survival advantage over non-natives during the summer months. In hot weather, cool season plants wilt or turn to brown crunch, while native grasses will grow vigorously. This will provide a beautiful and healthy environment during the entire season.

Lawns are often the source of environmental harm – through excess fertilizer and chemical use, and the replacement of productive insect and wildlife habitat with a near monotypic stand of one type of plant — grass.  Lawns don’t have to go away; we just need to think about what our lawns are for, and how we can reduce them and eliminate harmful polluted byproducts from their traditional care (Long Island Sound Study).

Video: Seeding the Meadow on Earth Day