As you walk across the stately lawns of many college campuses, you might not put much thought into what it takes to keep those lawns so neatly trimmed and manicured. Well, that is unless you're being woken up after a long night of "studying" to the sound of lawnmowers under your dorm window. Middlebury College (VT) has come up with a plan to not just help students get more shut eye, but also to save gas, reduce emissions and make the campus a little more "natural" in the process. The "No Mow" program launched at Middlebury College began this year as one more way for the college campus to go green, no pun intended. There are 75 acres of lawn on the main campus at Middlebury. This requires 7 people to mow 7 hours a day for 3 straight days just to get all of that grass cut down. Their plan instead is to save 20 acres from being cut, allowing wildflowers and other native grasses to grow freely. This saves not only gas, but also cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions generated from all of those hours (and days) of driving lawn mowers around. The school estimates 670 gallons of fuel and 1000 hours of labor will be saved simply by keeping some areas off limits from lawnmowers.
Middlebury is hoping to achieve carbon neutrality by 2016 and this will certainly aid in achieving that goal. So far so good, as most people appreciate the native areas, and the school is considering expanding the program to other areas. Cape Cod Community College is also instituting a no-mow policy around campus.
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