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Natick Healthier Lawn Project: Pesticide Reduction in Residential and Municipal Lands

Project Details

Year: 2016
Location: Natick
Project Manager: Jillian Wilson Martin, Sustainability Coordinator
Partners: Natick Land Facilities and Natural Resources, Natick Board of Health, Bacon Free Library, Friends of the Bacon Free Library, Lake Cochituate Watershed Council, Natick Recreation and Parks, and Natick Engineering


In 2015, the Town of Natick began a two-year pilot of organic land care practices across three public properties: the Bacon Free Library, Memorial Elementary School soccer field, and John J. Lane Park. The Town worked with Osborne Organics to develop a customized plan for each property, and has worked to train staff on organic soil management. Natick has also sought to engage local turf professionals and residents on its journey, and used a variety of media and outreach tools -from newspapers and social media, to in-person presentations and on-site signage -to educate the public on the benefits of pesticide reduction.


In March 2016, Natick received a full technical review of the three pilot properties from Osborne Organics. The 38 page plan provided findings from soil and site analyses and recommendations for a long-term transition plan, customized by pilot property.  Natick implemented the recommendations of Osbome Organics in June 2016 and will now monitor the pilot properties for a period of two years. Monitoring efforts will include soil tests to determine the efficacy of the inputs during year one and weed grids to monitor weed populations. At the end of year one, two, and three, the Town will refer back to the photographs taken at the start of the pilot to see the physical differences that may or may not appear.  Natick will use this data to determine its ability to transition the additional sixty seven acres of school properties, playing fields, and other land managed by the Town.  Additionally, the Natick Health Department disseminated organic lawn care brochures to residents with the Town's water bills. The Health Department also has the brochures available at their customer service desk and has received positive feedback on the program from a number of Natick residents.

They also engaged the public by offering a tour of one of the transition sites.  The Bacon Free Library garden tour, which highlighted the pilot properties and local, private homeowners' organic gardens, occurred on June 12. More than 200 people purchased tickets for the event, and each was given a copy of the Health Department's organic lawn care brochure with their program guide. As part of the tour, Natick's Land Facilities Supervisor and Sustainability Coordinator were on-site at the JJ Lane Park property (a pilot location) to answer participants' questions. For more information, visit Natick's sustainable land care page.   

This page updated Monday July 23 2018
Project Materials