Urbana Grows Green Weekend

Lawn and garden care experts share tips to manage your lawn and garden without pesticides September 7 – 11th


According to the Midwest Pesticide Action Center, a weed-free lawn doesn’t always mean a healthy lawn.

“It often means incomplete,” said MPAC’s Assistant Director and Communications Manager, Ryan Anderson. “Dandelions provide a feast for honeybees and clover produces nitrogen-dense fertilizer for your grass.”

During Urbana Grows Green Weekend, September 7th – 11th, MPAC, the City of Urbana, Urbana Park District, University of Illinois Extension, and others will assist residents with revitalizing their lawns and landscapes by hosting multiple events that demonstrate the natural lawn care and organic gardening approach.

“The City of Urbana strives to keep our community a healthy place for everyone to enjoy,” said Mayor Diane Marlin. “Helping residents reduce use of pesticides and fertilizers provides a safer environment for people, pets, pollinators, and our rivers and streams.”

The City of Urbana and Urbana Park District has partnered with MPAC and its Midwest Grows Green (MGG) initiative for more than a year to demonstrate that landscapes can be managed with limited synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

“The Urbana Park District uses an integrated approach to pest management for its flower beds and sports fields. And we have a long history of promoting sustainability through our natural areas and our organic gardening program,” said Tim Bartlett, Urbana Parks District Executive Director. “We encourage the use of natural control methods whenever possible and support growing that effort in Urbana.”

Concerns regarding pesticide use in urban and residential areas continue to rise. Scientific studies have linked pesticides to various behavioral, reproductive, immune, and nervous system disorders.

“These risks are most dangerous for our children, who do things like rolling around in the grass, that make them susceptible to exposure,” said Ruth Kerzee, Executive Director of MPAC.

Natural lawn care and organic gardening practices applied at the Urbana City Building’s south lawn, a pesticide free site, and Urbana parks focus on disrupting the life cycle of pests and weeds and restoring rich, vibrant soil, the essential building block for healthy plant life.

“The natural lawn care approach stresses and addresses the root causes of weed and pest problems such as poor soil drainage, nutrient deficiency, or soil compaction, as opposed to the symptoms of just applying a weed or pest product,” said MPAC’s Anderson.

Curious to learn more? Urbana Grows Green Weekend (UGG Weekend) offers no shortage of sustainable landscaping engagements. The weekend starts Saturday, September 8th as MPAC’s Ryan Anderson tables at Urbana Market at the Square to discuss upcoming events, answer your lawn and garden questions, and introduce Urbana City Building’s pesticide free South Lawn. Following the Market from 1 to 3 pm, UGG Weekend moves to Meadowbrook Park Organic Community Garden for a FREE organic gardening demonstration with the Urbana Park District (RSVP at The weekend takes Sunday off and returns to Parkland College Monday night, 7 to 9 pm, for a natural lawn care demonstration with the Champaign County Master Gardeners (RSVP at

Visit UGG Weekend’s webpage ( or Facebook page (see to track the events and learn more about the natural lawn care approach. Finally, make an actionable commitment to reduce your own synthetic lawn pesticide and fertilizer use by taking the MGG pledge (visit

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