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🌱 Consider a more eco-conscious yard


Consider a more eco-conscious yard

Incessant wildfires, megadroughts, unseasonable heat — I often wonder: How can someone like me make any kind of useful impact against the effects of global warming?

Then, a reader wrote in suggesting I look into alternatives to grass lawns, and it sounded like something I might actually be able to do. So I gave the Butterfly Pavilion a call and spoke with Community Habitats Manager Ashley White. Here’s what I learned:

Why would you want to get rid of your deliciously green grass?
For one, White explains, your traditional bluegrass lawn turfs require a lot of work and a lot of resources — water, fertilizers, pesticides, time. “Native plants don’t need all these extra resources. Look to nature for what works, instead of manipulating the conditions of your yard.”

Plus, you might not have a choice soon anyway.
More and more municipalities are moving toward turf restrictions as a way to conserve water. Right now, Aurora City Council is considering bans on decorative grass and caps on the amount of turf you can have in your lawn. Earlier this year, Gov. Jared Polis doubled down on turf buyback programs where you’re paid per foot for turf you rip out of your yard. Even Denver is eyeing turf limitations.

What are the alternatives?
Consider mimicking plants found in the shortgrass prairie, White suggests. That’s the natural ecosystem that used to make up most of Colorado. “It’s this amazingly resilient system that hosts really amazing plant life that’s adapted to our super harsh conditions here in Colorado, you know, those long periods of drought and then the sudden cold snaps and the intense periods of heat.”

(Credit: Jim Tolstrup via Colorado Native Plant Society)

Ok, your interest is piqued — what’s next?
You can start small. There’s no need to rip out your entire lawn just yet. “What I usually encourage people to do is just start looking at Colorado native plants,” White says. “Look at a plant list, see what looks pretty to you and what you feel excited about. Maybe if there’s certain butterflies you love, you can figure out what associations those particular butterflies have with certain plants and put those plants in your yard. Start small that way.”

Can you start right now?
Unfortunately, not right now. “It is a bit too late to start a full transition from a turf grass lawn to a native grass lawn, since those species will usually have to be grown from seed – best to start in either fall or spring. But it’s not too late to pull out sections of turf and replace them with native flowers and shrubs,” White says. “Mingling native plants in with existing plants is a great low-commitment start. Ideally, you just want to avoid planting things in the dead of summer.”

Where can you learn more?
White recommends checking out the programs at the Butterfly Pavilion, like the Urban Prairie Project or the Colorado Butterfly Monitoring Network

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More News You Should Know

🏊🏽 Still two more weeks ‘til swim time: Denver Parks and Recreation is pushing back the opening date for their outdoor pools by one week, to June 13, due to a lifeguard shortage across the city. They are also temporarily closing the indoor pools at Ashland, Central Park, Scheitler, Twentieth Street, Washington Park, and Montclair. [Denver Parks & Recreation]

If you know anyone interested in becoming a lifeguard this summer, Parks & Rec is offering certification classes and a starting rate of $15.87/hour.

🪧 Texas shooting, Northfield lockdown prompt anti-gun rally: Three days after the tragic mass killing at an elementary school in Texas and one day after reports of a gun on campus sent Northfield High School into a lockdown, dozens of Denver Public Schools students rallied on the steps of the Colorado Capitol on Friday. They called for gun control and an end to school shootings. [Chalkbeat]

🌆 Innovative shelter program upsets neighbors: Residents of luxury condos downtown are calling on Denver City Council to end the city program renting rooms at the Aloft hotel tofor people who are experiencing homelessness and are vulnerable to COVID-19. Seventy people have moved on from Aloft into permanent housing since the pandemic began. The neighbors say that the program has hurt the downtown economy and caused safety and sanitation issues. [Denverite]

🚐 A new way to get to the mountains – Pegasus: On Friday, the Colorado Department of Transportation launched a new express shuttle service, called Pegasus, which is running roughly every hour from Union Station to Avon, with stops in Lakewood, Idaho Springs, Frisco, and Vail. Trips cost between $6 and $20, and the Wi-Fiwifi is reportedly “super fast,” according to one Reddit user who hopped on the inaugural trip. [Denver7]

— Paul Karolyi, Lead Producer

A Sneak Peak At Our Climate Apocalypse

“Some people who come to the show will probably be very agitated, and perhaps leave not getting the experience that they expected. Some, I think, will be totally transformed.” — Krista Zozulia

Way back in 2018, the theater wizards behind Control Group Productions started dreaming about what it might feel like to live in a not-so-distant-future Denver wrecked by climate change. This weekend, they are premiering The End, an immersive bus tour of our local culture and ecology — just, you know, a heck of a lot drier, meaner, and set in that imagined future. Today, join City Cast producer and resident theater buff Lizzie Goldsmith for an early preview of the apocalypse.

This Week’s Things To Do

🍲 TODAY: Free hot lunch
Every Tuesday at 11 a.m. the Jordan Chapel AME offers a hot meal to anyone who needs it. [Free]

⚾ TONIGHT: Play ball!
The Colorado Rockies play the Miami Marlins at Coors Field tonight. The game starts at 6:40 p.m. If you’re not going TO the game, here are 10 of the best bars to watch the game at, according to Do303.

🏒 TONIGHT and THURSDAY: Avalanche vs. Oilers
After beating the St. Louis Blues, the Colorado Avalanche are moving on to the Western Conference finals this week, where they’ll face off against the red-hot Edmonton Oilers and arguably the best hockey player in the world, Connor McDavid.

🏳️‍🌈 WEDNESDAY: First day of Pride Month
June is packed full of local Pride events, and to kick it all off, Academy LGBTQ is hosting an educational discussion on social justice topics and mindful practices around the LGBTQ+ community. [$5]

🚩 WEDNESDAY: The start of Gun Awareness Month
Last week, Denver City Council officially proclaimed June as Gun Violence Awareness Month. Friday, June 3, is already National Gun Violence Awareness Day. June 3-5 is Wear Orange Weekend, raising awareness about gun violence.

🎭 THURSDAY: Fundraise for Phamaly
Phamaly Theatre’s annual fundraising event will be an evening of entertainment starring local musicians and comedian Christie Buchele. Funds from the night will support Denver’s leading disability-affirmative theater company. [$30-$125]

👉 Stay tuned for more: Don’t miss Friday’s newsletter for our regularly scheduled weekend event roundup!

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