Sustaining Landscapes: A program of the Sustainable Hanover Committee
The Sustainable Hanover Committee has launched a multi-year initiative that will demonstrate ways to minimize environmental impacts with home landscaping and maintenance practices that mimic natural systems. The principles of Permaculture will inform these efforts. There are numerous benefits to landscapes that utilize the patterns of local ecosystems. They help to reduce water runoff and air and noise pollution, to improve biodiversity, create natural habitats for wildlife, and require less maintenance.
Selected sites in town, as well as private property, will demonstrate various ways that homeowners can improve their landscape's sustainability. These methods include: reducing the impacts of stormwater runoff with rain gardens and detention ponds; using native plants to sustain wildlife native to our region and climate; creating pollinator habitats; incorporating edible plants including fruits, vegetables, berries, and nuts into ornamental plantings; reducing the environmental liabilities of lawns; increasing the beneficial effects of composting and reducing the negative impact of non-natural fertilizers and pesticides; and reducing the impacts of invasive plants. The demonstration sites will contain educational signage that will be linked to a website where more information on sustaining landscape principles and practices will be found. Sites on public lands will provide peaceful refuges from an increasingly noisy world.
"SWAT" (Sustainable Works Around Town) teams of volunteers will plan and develop each project. "Friends" groups will be developed to help maintain each of the low-maintenance public sites. The advancement of community through landscape is an additional and important goal.