Today is day two of the Irrigation Association’s Advocacy Day in Washington DC. This is running in conjunction with PLANET’s legislative day on Capitol Hill and Renewal and Remembrance, the day PLANET members volunteer manpower and equipment to enhance the beauty of Arlington National Cemetery. Each year, this event draws hundreds of landscape and lawn care professionals from across the country to Arlington National Cemetery to spend the day mulching, cabling, improving irrigation, installing lightning protection for trees, pruning, planting, liming and aerating more than 200 acres.
Today I met with representatives for the U.S. National Arboretum Turfgrass Demonstration Project. This project is gaining lots of attention. Their goal is to help people understand how to live well with turfgrass. They want to educate the public about turfgrass so we can better appreciate its value. They believe there are facts about lawns most people are not aware of and additional education will help people view lawns in a more positive way.
Below are several key reasons why lawns are important:
- Mowed turfgrass on roadsides provides the best visibility, driver safety and reduce glare.
- Turf provides good firebreak around homes and other buildings.
- Lawns are an important component of the designed landscape around healthcare facilities, where it has been proven exposure to green space promotes healing.
- In public areas, open spaces covered by lawn are welcoming places for people to gather and socialize.
- Science has improved grasses and the way grasses are irrigated.
The National Arboretum receives around 500,000 visitors a year, which creates an excellent opportunity to educate a large number of people on both turf and irrigation. Information provided in the demonstration project is compelling because all statements are unbiased, supported by scientific facts.
A Flash Point
This may bring to light a more meaningful conversation about turfgrass, a topic many professionals steer clear of discussing. The National Arboretum’s reputation and commitment to supporting statements with science offers hope to those who want to increase or maintain the amount of lawns in the U.S. However, there are also people ready to present the other side of the discussion with equal enthusiasm. Susan Harris wrote this post on the blog Garden Rant, and I found the comments both for and against very interesting.
What are your views on turfgrass and a turfgrass demonstration exhibit at the National Arboretum? Please let me know in the comment section below.
Today’s activities at the Legislative Day include meetings with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Look for my next post concerning discussions during those meetings.