Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lawn Certificate Course at Audubon Greenwich

Diba Kahn-Bureau discusses how water quality is affected by nutrient
runoff from fertilizers.
Program Director Jenna Messier introduces Chip Osborne
On March 19, Audubon Greenwich hosted our second Lawn Certificate Course funded by the Long Island Sound Futures Fund. It was a tough day to plan a full day course, since the northeast was hit with (another) snow and ice and sleet storm. But our attendees persevered to learn more about how organic lawn care contributes to water quality in rivers, wells and Long Island Sound.

Chip Osborne discusses Turfgrass Fertilization
Judy Preston started the day with "Surf and Turf" an explanation of lawn practices and their impact on Long Island Sound water quality. Diba Kahn-Bureau talked more about soil health and water quality after Judy's presentation

Chip Osborne of Osborne organics taught an introduction to organic lawn care. Chip's segment on turgrass fertility focused on the use of organic inputs to improve soil biology, suppress plant disease, improve soil structure and encourage over all plant health. Frank Crandall of Horticultural Solutions taught about pricing of organic services and making organic profitable to sustain a landscaping business.  Chip Osborne ended the day discussing cultural practices with organic turf like mowing and irrigation, and how to address turf grass pests.

The Audubon Center in Greenwich was a great place to have our course - because they have already hosted a number of courses with Chip and are committed to pesticide reduction to benefit wildlife.  Check out these seven reasons to create organic lawns and gardens from Audubon at Home:
1. 67 million birds are killed every year by pesticides.
(U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Audubon, March-April 2007, p. 88)
(Burg, Robert, ed. “The Long Island Sound Study,” Sound Health 2006. EPA Long Island Sound 
Office, Stamford, CT.: p.12)
2. Fertilizers and pesticides from lawn runoff are highly damaging to the ecology of our streams, ponds, and the Long Island Sound.
(Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, U.S. Center for Disease 
Control, January 2003)
Audubon Greenwich - Kimberlin Center
Audubon Greenwich
3. 100% of Americans have traces of pesticides in their body tissue.
(Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, U.S. Center for Disease 
Control, January 2003)
4. Children living in households where pesticides are used have higher rates 
of leukemia and brain cancer.
(Leiss, J. et al. 1995. “Home Pesticide Use and Childhood Cancer: A Case Control Study,” American 
Journal of Public Health 85: 249-252)
5. Three separate studies in 2011 have linked common pesticides to long 
term reduction in cognitive development in children. 
(Bouchard, M.F. et al. 2011. “Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides and IQ in 7-year old 
Children,” Environmental Health Perspectives Online, Engel, S.M. et al. 2011. “Prenatal Exposure to 
Organophosphates, Paraxonase 1, and Cognitive Development in Childhood,” Environmental Health 
Perspectives Online, Rauh, V. et al. 2011. “7-Year Neurodevelopmental Scores and Prenatal Exposure to 
Chlorpyrifos, a Common Agricultural Pesticide, Environmental Health Perspectives Online)
6. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (the 2nd fastest growing cancer in the U.S.) 
is linked to common herbicides and fungicides.
(Zahm, S. et al. 1990 “A Case Control Study of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the Herbicide 2,4-D,” 
Epidemiology 1 (5): 349-356)
7. Dogs whose owners use 2,4-D (common weed killer) on their lawns are 
twice as likely to die of cancer.
(Hayes, H. et al, 1991. “Case Control Study of Canine Malignant Lymphoma: Positive Association with 
Dog Owners’ Use of 2,4-D Acid Herbicides,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 83 (17): 1226)

A big thanks to our friends at Greenwich Audubon, to our presenters, and to our attendees who weathered the storm to learn about organic lawn and turf care!