An old sign of spring in New Paltz is back: hanging baskets of flowers again adorn Main Street. Council member Alex Baer described the coordination that was required among members of the Community Improvement Team, Highway Department, and Town Council that was needed to get this traditional splash of color returned. Baer also thanked members of the Ferrante family for growing these flowers at Wallkill View Farm, and Louie, who is responsible for watering the baskets.
A new sign of spring is diminutive amber waves of grain, characteristic of those who participated in “no-mow May” in the community, an initiative to encourage delaying of the first mowing in order to support local pollinators by allowing early spring flowers to bloom. Despite this effort being supported by resolutions and declarations, it appears that property under direct town or village control was mowed just as frequently as ever. Those private property owners who took the month off, including Supervisor Neil Bettez, are discovering that putting off that first mow means it takes a lot more effort to cut down what is essentially a crop without a product. In confirming that this brief experiment is now over, Bettez encouraged residents to speak to and have patience with neighbors before considering calling town personnel to complain.
While the no-mowing initiative was focused on pollinators, presumably widespread adoption would also reduce noise and air pollution. In a 2001 study, it was determined that running a four-horsepower mower for an hour produced similar hydrocarbons to driving a car 93 miles. New Paltz officials have been trying to rein in greenhouse gases as part of broader statewide efforts to curtail the impacts of human-caused climate change before those impacts are irreversible.