I am deeply dismayed that the will soon apply pesticides to the playing fields at three of our big parks to eliminate dandelions and clover.
If clover is present, it is there to fix the nitrogen the turf is lacking. Dandelions are harmless and fleeting, and actually benefit the garden ecosystem. Pesticides, on the other hand, are connected to childhood cancers; asthma; neurological, behavioral and immune system disorders; endocrine disruption; and reproductive impairment, to name a few. Why are we considering exposing our children to poisonous pesticides in order to eliminate harmless, fleeting, and beneficial plants? Furthermore, some of the pesticides that are not inhaled or ingested will end up in our water supply. Sometimes the solution is worse than the problem.
Folks, this is our park district. This is not the NFL, or Major League Baseball. We send our children to play on these fields for fun, to get some exercise, and to learn how to play a sport. The kids do not need a playing surface of pure Kentucky bluegrass – especially if it compromises their health.
New York and Connecticut prohibit pesticides on school playgrounds, turf, or athletic fields. 80 percent of Canada has banned the use of lawn pesticides because they cause great harm, particularly to children.
The time has come to be more tolerant of weeds. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” In Europe and Asia, dandelions are welcomed, as they are known to be highly nutritious and possess countless medicinal properties. Please look at dandelions and clover in a different way, not as an unwelcome pest, but instead as a sign that the grass is safe for you and your family.
For the health of our children, I urge the Park District of Highland Park to please maintain our community’s playing fields using natural practices.
Highland Park resident