Katrina Blair of Turtle Lake Refuge and her team of Lawn Care Professionals have lost their job tending to the City Parks.
Blair, who lives in a rough-hewn log cabin with a solar-paneled roof on the north side of County Road 205, has been pushing Durango city officials for chemical- and pesticide-free parks since 2007. Sallee, who lives on the south side of the road in a neat stucco house surrounded by a moat of lush green grass, owns Scott’s Pro Lawn Service, which has held the $15,583 contract to spray the city’s parks since about 1996
“It would be a lot easier if people didn’t mind dandelions,” said one of Blair’s employees, the one-name weeding wonder, Chako, as he wiped his dark brow. “Dandelions are good – they’re beautiful, you can eat them, and they’re safe for children to play on.”
The city’s experience at Brookside Park, which has been chemical-free for three years, may explain why: The weeds are winning.
Since eliminating herbicides from the park, weed cover has increased from 5 percent to 30 percent, said Ron Moore, the city’s parks and cemetery manager.
“The weeds are slowly crowding out the grass,” Moore said.
Blair’s Turtle Lake Refuge, the organization largely responsible for the local chemical-free movement, took the lead at managing Brookside’s weeds for the first couple of years.
It’s not clear how effective its weed-abatement efforts were, though, and the city asked Turtle Lake Refuge to stand down last summer, Blair said.
“To be honest, that wasn’t our goal,” she said. “Our goal was to harvest and honor the plants.”
Organic Weed Control Efforts failed as usual.
Katarina now claims her intention was to harvest the dandelion not actually kill them.
Knowing that the soil is now healthier [In her mind], she feels confident the job was well done.
Katarina even has friends that spoke infront of City Council about the Cancer inflicted on others from products like 2,4-D and AGENT ORANGE. [Secret Evidence]
The Board conducted a site tour of Brookside Park with staff and KatrinaBlair affiliated with Turtle Lake Refuge. The Board and the publicreturned to the Recreation Center to discuss Brookside Park as achemical free park and the possibility of creating more chemical freeparks in the City. Katrina Blair opened the discussion with the hazardsof 2, 4-D, which is the active ingredient in most herbicides and a knownelement in Agent Orange, to children and animals. She then describedhow Brookside Park is organically fertilized with a locally producedCompost Tea and the preferred method of weed control is by improvingthe health of the soil. Several members of the public spoke and made the following comments regarding chemical free parks: (1) Thanked the City for creating the chemical free Brookside Park; (2) Spoke of knowing people who have cancer due to Agent Orange, a 2,4-D product;(3) Suggested that people could collect the weeds for medicinal purposes; (4) Children don’t just run on chemically treated grass, but rolland lay on it, thereby increasing their exposure to the chemicals; (5) TheCity could use organic fertilizers in all their parks; (6) There is support inDurango to make the community a "Honey Bee safe zone"; (7) Durangohas the opportunity to be progressive and be a model for other communities; (8) There are other communities in the country that use organic products and no pesticides in their parks and a list of these communities were provided; (9) People can get sick from exposure tochemicals used to spray weeds; (10) Spraying pesticides kills worms and sterilizes the soil as well as the honey bees; and (11) Plants thrive with diversity which includes weeds.
Katarina's Dandelion Diddy: