SUNY Fredonia designates ‘low-mow zones’

OBSERVER Photo by Damian Sebouhian Ten acres of land at SUNY Fredonia has been designated “low-mow zones”. They are meadows that will not be mowed on a regular basis with the rest of the campus landscape.

As part of a “strategic commitment to environmental sustainability”, the State University New York at Fredonia has recently designated 10 acres of meadows as “low-mow zones”.

“Instead of being mowed on a regular basis with the rest of the campus landscape … (these) meadows will only be mowed once a year, right before the winter season,” explained Michael Metzger, vice president for finance and administration at SUNY Fredonia.

“Not only does a low-mow zone reduce our mowing, but it also creates oxygen as (the vegetation) grows and creates environments for pollinators,” he added. “We’ll be putting up bat houses, we’ll be planting native plants in those zones.”

The taller vegetation serves as a natural habitat for bees, butterflies and other native species at the same time that it reduces soil erosion, Metzger said.

The program is part of the university’s Blueprint for Excellence implemented last December by the University Senate.

“As part of our ongoing effort to achieve environmental sustainability, we will ‘review campus operations to develop and enhance strategies for all areas of campus including alternative forms of transportation, food procurement and waste, water consumption and energy us,'” Metzger said. “These zones help us in our effort to become a carbon neutral campus by 2030.”

With less mowing comes less pollution as well as a cost savings to the campus for labor, chemicals and equipment use.