LESS Mow May Initiative

Click here -THE LINK TO SIGN UP 2024

The name has been changed due to new research setting forth the best way to protect pollinators.

History: Heart of the City proposed, and the City passed, a resolution to withhold enforcement of the mowing ordinance for the month of May to protect pollinators**. The resolution, which passed on February 16, 2021, applied the non-enforcement to backyards only.  The City also designated some spots on city property to leave unmowed, including at the library and in some park areas.

In conjunction, the library offered a “Protect the Pollinators” program for kids. Kristin Halverson–conservationist, nature-fanatic, amateur native-plant gardener, curriculum specialist, and former teacher–offered information on the importance of pollinators, and how to help protect them. A pollinator activity booklet and a free milkweed plug were offered.

The initiative was a huge success, with 123 people signing up to support it.

2022- The city passed the same resolution on March 1, 2022, and Heart of the City is again promoting the idea that residents should leave a part of their green space unmowed, (or mowed to 3 inches less frequently) to help pollinators establish a necessary habitat.  2023-  same resolution passed

Participation in the initiative is voluntary.  Participants are encouraged to sign up to show their support, and put up a sign in their front yard noting that they are protecting pollinators with this practice. Heart of the City will provide these signs, welcoming any donations. Please save signs and stakes or return them so they can be used again.

On March 28, 2022, the New York Times did an article on Wisconsin’s No Mow May movement.

Fort Atkinson is a member of Bird City Wisconsin.  This initiative helps to meet Bird City criteria, as the creation of habitat and protection of pollinators is also beneficial to birds.

Questions?  Direct questions to nomowmay@gmail.com. Look to our Facebook page for updates.

Heart members Margaret Schroeder, Frankie Fuller, and Barbara Brouwer presented about Fort’s No Mow May initiative to enthralled crowds at the Wisconsin Garden and Landscape Expo in Madison in February.


Among the primary threats to pollinators, according to an article from Michigan State’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, are flowerless green spaces, gardens and lawns where pesticides are used, and a general reduction in pollinator habitat. In May, pollinators emerge from hibernation to forage and build up their strength for the season.

If pesticides are used, bees can take them back to the hive putting the hive at risk. When grass is mowed short, bees aren’t getting the necessary nutrition. In addition, bees also nest in grasses. In May, 2020, Lawrence University, through Associate Professor Israel Deltoro’s leadership, coordinated “No Mow May“ in the City of Appleton. Results showed evidence of 50% more pollinator activity than weekly mowed lawns.

By even mowing every other week, or mowing to a higher height, people can improve pollinator resources. This may seem like a small step, but it can make a huge difference. And since one of every three bites we take is dependent on a pollinator, this is all definitely in our best interest.

Here is a list of resources about protecting pollinators.