The MGG Road Trip: Why it’s needed

From April 27th to May 19th, our MGG initiative crosses bridges and builds them to join volunteerism with program implementation and development. MPAC’s Ryan Anderson elaborates.

This April, the City of Evanston will publish a public progress report of its Sustainable Pest Control and Pesticide Reduction Policy passed in 2010. The report summarizes all the practices, products, and policies employed to control pests and weeds, from rats to dandelions, within the city limits.

I had the privilege of attending each of the planning meetings for this report. Two things impressed me the most from this report: (1) The incredible, yet concise, detail of the report achieved by people mostly volunteering their own time, and (2) the action taken by Evanston organizations outside of the jurisdiction of the City (e.g. hospitals, schools, mosquito abatement districts) to report, reevaluate, and improve their Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs after hearing about this report.

I’ve always been a firm believer that institutions and individuals will make an effort to improve their programs and policies if a model program or policy exists and residents or peers actively volunteer to promote those models.  Evanston had both a model policy and active volunteers. Now, IPM has spread to all institutions within the city limits and likely to a lot of its residents.

Many places in the Midwest have examples of effective IPM, natural lawn care, or pesticide reduction policies and programs. And these places, also, have great citizen action groups volunteering to improve their communities for children, pets, and wildlife. Now these communities need to bridge the model policies and programs with their willing volunteer network.

During our Midwest Grows Green Road Trip April 27th to May 19th, we will both cross bridges and build them to join volunteerism with program/policy development and implementation.

It starts in the water rich city of Milwaukee where two schools, Harold S Vincent High School and Highland Community School, and one Village, Whitefish Bay, made efforts to restore soil quality in their properties by implementing the natural lawn care approach. Water conscious groups of Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Sweet Water, Reflo, and many others will partner with MPAC to demonstrate the water quality benefits of the natural lawn care approach during Milwaukee Grows Green Weekend, April 27th through April 29th.

Next, the road trip moves to the small, environmentally conscious City of Stoughton, WI to add a microphone to the City’s newest Pesticide-Free Veteran’s Park. Groups of the Healthy Lawn Team, Sustainable Stoughton, and Healthy Children, Healthy Communities Stoughton assists MGG with Stoughton Grows Green Day Saturday, May 5th.

Finally, the road trip returns home and captures the incredible reach of MGG in both policy and advocacy for Chicago Grows Green Week May 11th to May 19th. A week packed with press events, workshops, Kickoff events, and dandelion pulls. All this activity and buzz will make one message clear: we can manage landscapes with less pesticides and fertilizers, we’re doing it now, and we’ll be doing it in the future.

We hope to see you on our MGG road trip. Keep track of us by following #MGGroadtrip on Twitter. And if able, we’d appreciate your support of the trip by taking the MGG pledge or donating to the trip directly at Thank you!

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