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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Leave free or die: More NH homes put down the rake

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Monday, October 2, 2023   

New Hampshire yards will soon be covered in fallen leaves, but a new survey finds a growing number of people are willing to leave them lie to improve biodiversity.

The National Wildlife Federation found most people know that leaf layers provide a home to moths and insects, which birds need to survive - yet continue to bag them up and send them to a landfill.

NWF Naturalist David Mizejewski said there's a growing trend nationwide towards more natural lawns as wildlife populations decline.

"If we want to have beautiful songbirds and see butterflies flying around," said Mizejewski, "we just absolutely cannot continue on this trajectory of monoculture lawns, pesticide-ridden yards."

Mizejewski said making even small changes like leaving some of the leaves is a great way to help the environment right at home.

It's also great for the garden. Leaves are a rich source of mulch, which helps choke out weeds, hold moisture in the ground and protect soil from erosion.

Sean O'Brien - program manager of home horticulture with the University of New Hampshire Extension Center - said he often fields calls from people asking what to do with all the leaves.

He advises them to spend less on commercial lawn and garden products and take advantage of the free resource in their own backyard.

"You can run them over with a lawn mower," said O'Brien. "That kind of helps break them up a little bit, and they will actually add organic matter to your lawn and your soil - so they can be a big benefit in that way."

O'Brien said too many leaves will smother a lawn and that just a few inches of cover is best for both wildlife in the grass and garden.


Disclosure: National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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