Leave Your Leaves

Why You Should Leave your Leaves

Leave the Leaves poster

Did you know that leaves are natures fertilizers and provide essential nutrients for the trees from which they fall! They also provide shelter for many insects during the winter months and are an essential part of an intact ecosystem supporting wildlife. If we don’t have leaves, most of our butterflies, moths, bees and insects won’t have the cover they need to reach maturity, and our birds and wildlife won’t have the food they need to survive. Leaf litter provides winter habitat for many pollinators and 94% of caterpillars—the two classes of insects we need most. Leaving your leaves also helps reduce flooding, air, water and noise pollution and saves you time and money. For more information about why leaves are so important, read our two blog articles on the subject, Leave Your Leaves! and Littering with Leaves. Also check out this blog from the Xerces Society.

Take the Pledge to Leave your Leaves

Take the pledge to leave your leaves at the Keep Durham Beautiful website to help increase climate resilience and biodiversity. You can make a difference one yard at a time! People who pledge can pick up a free sign while supplies last at the NC Cooperative Extension, 721 Foster St., Durham Monday-Friday 8:30am-5pm.

Luna moths overwinter in the leaf litter in cocoons,
emerging as adults in the spring – photo by Barbara Driscoll

Help Spread the Word

If you would like to offer your time to make presentations to schools, garden clubs or other organizations to spread the word, let us know. Our Leave the Leaves presentation provides a background on how leaves benefit our ecosystem, support our insects, bees, birds and wildlife, improve tree and soil health and reduce flooding, erosion, air, water and noise pollution and save us time and money.

Links to Resources

Brown Thrashers looking for food in leaf litter
– photo by Jim George.

For questions or ways to get involved with this project, send email with the subject line “Leave Your Leaves” to newhopeaudubon@gmail.com.

New Hope Audubon Society was awarded a Sustainable Communities grant from the Triangle Community Foundation in the amount of $15,000 to create and pilot a “Leave Your Leaves” public education program enhancing environmental conservation efforts in our local communities.

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