Oliver Nature Park teaches conservation and appreciation

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Home gardening has been on a sharp upward trend for the last decade, with over 42 million homes across the U.S. now growing a portion of their own food in backyard and window box gardens. Just as technology has expanded, so has the desire to connect to the earth, both with growing and conservation.

Mansfield residents have new options when it comes to improving their carbon footprint, and it doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking in either time or cost. Nature Education classes from Mansfield Parks & Recreation teach composting and rainwater harvesting, with simple instructions and materials provided, to make the process easy and fun.

“Backyard composting can be rewarding even with minimal effort,” said Sheila Johnson, Oliver Nature Park nature education specialist. “It can be as easy as simply layering grass clippings and dead leaves into a pile. From there, nature will slowly break down yard waste and kitchen scraps for you. If you are interested in composting as a hobby, you can learn many methods to make the process go faster. Either way you approach it, backyard composting cuts down on waste and results in a useful, natural fertilizer that can help your lawn and garden flourish.”

Johnson teaches two levels of composting classes. Simple Backyard Composting explains the mechanics and beginning steps for someone looking to add a compost bin to their home or yard. Squirmy, Wormy Composting takes the process one step further, using live earthworms to actually decompose and process the waste. Yes, the worms are included in the class enrollment fees.

Oliver Nature Park also offers Rain Barrel Workshops, where participants not only make a 55-gallon rain barrel to take home and begin using immediately, they get a chance to learn why such conservation efforts are so important. Guest instructor Dotty Woodson from the Dallas AgriLife Extension Office guides the students through the entire process, which is designed for adults but can be a fun activity for the entire family.

It’s never too early to learn to love the planet, and Mansfield Parks certainly give residents many reasons to care…and opportunities to make a difference.

For more information about the conservation and ecology classes, visit Oliver Nature Park online or contact Nature Education Supervisor Tiffany Gorrell, (817) 804-5789 or [email protected]

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