Hello everyone! One way to brighten your days is to take on a new challenge! For 2022, the Green Initiatives Committee has developed a series of monthly challenges to help us all make some simple changes for a “greener” lifestyle. We are hoping that some of our ideas will interest you, because lots of us making small changes can add up to a BIG difference.
So please look for the new article and challenges each month in the Pulse.
Have you noticed that the days are starting to feel a little longer? Soon we might be looking for the first signs of spring and thinking about the upcoming growing season. It’s never too early to start planning!
A 2020 Forbes article called “Digging in the Dirt Really Does Make People Happier” (what a great title!) includes references to scientific papers which discuss the positive impacts of gardening, including improved mental health. Other outcomes included reductions in depression and anxiety along with increases in quality of life and sense of community.
One way to make a positive environmental impact is to grow food in your yard, since everyone needs to eat! Growing your own food saves on transportation costs and emissions, provides a sense of pride and allows you to enjoy incredibly fresh seasonal produce and often saves money in the process.
If you have kids, it is a wonderful experience to teach them about growing plants and especially food. Fresh carrots, baby tomatoes and shelling peas are often favourites. You can involve your kids in all the steps including picking out seeds, digging and planting, and of course watering when needed. Even the youngest kids love to water plants.
If you’re interested in adding a tree to your yard, make sure you check out the “Branching Out Tree Program” which is back again for 2022. The City of Calgary is working to increase tree canopy coverage and is providing some trees to Calgarians at no cost.
CHALLENGE – Try growing a new edible plant this year! Even if you don’t have much room at all, herbs can be grown in pots. Rarely do many of us need the whole amount of fresh herbs when the purchase quantity is a big bunch. If you grow your own, you can pick a bit at a time, as you need it! And talk about super-fresh!
CHALLENGE – Spend 5-10 minutes on-line looking up information about pollinators. Find one thing you can do to make your yard more attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The City of Calgary website suggests planting native wildflowers with varying bloom shapes, sizes and flowering periods. Apparently, bees are most attracted to blue, yellow, white and purple flowers. Once native plants are established, they usually require very little maintenance.
CHALLENGE – Talk to a neighbour about their garden or something they’re growing. For example, if you’ve noticed they have some colourful flowers that you like, you can ask what they’re called. Most gardeners like to talk to other people about plants! And if you don’t know much or just want to get started, many people are often willing to help or provide advice. Take the time to compliment a neighbour on their nice plants. For example, if you loved their tall purple flowers from last summer, tell them! Many of us look forward to spring and like to anticipate the new growing season.
If you’ve never tried growing anything before, maybe this could be the year! Or if you already like gardening, you could try to think of one small thing you could do differently this year to make your yard or garden more environmentally-friendly. Perhaps you could hook up a rain barrel if you don’t already have one. Or use your new knowledge about pollinators that you gained in the challenge to consider adding bee- or butterfly-friendly native plants.
If you want to get involved and be a part of making Mount Pleasant a greener community, we would love to have you join the committee. Please email email@example.com for more information or if you have any questions. As well please check out our Mount Pleasant Green Initiative Group on Facebook! You can find us on the Mount Pleasant Community Association page. The Facebook group will be a great place to share your completed challenges and check in to see what others are doing.
Have a great month,
The MPCA Green Initiatives Committee