35 seconds of your time could win you a trip on Lake Champlain

Image of a lawnmower in front of a house with a waterbody in the background and a buffer planted with native vegetation between the yard and the water. The image serves as a link to a 35-second video about grass growth and best practices to help grass health and protect water quality.

Today, with just two more Mo Monday posts in 2020, I am excited to introduce a newly-released 35-second video that shares the key messages of — and reasons for — the #RaiseTheBlade campaign. Click on the image above to watch the video or access it through the Lawn to Lake website. (If you access it through the Lawn to Lake website, choose the “short version” of the two Benefits of Long Grass Growth videos available there.)

We purposefully left one small glitch in the video to see if viewers can spot it. If you find it, email us by October 30, 2020 at seagrant@uvm.edu with the subject line “Mo Monday.” We will randomly select one lucky winner from all email entries received to join a future public trip on Lake Champlain led by Lake Champlain Sea Grant and UVM Extension.

Photo of someone lowering a Secchi disc to assess water clarity off the stern of the R/V Melosira, the University of Vermont's research vessel.

The winner (age 18+) and one guest (minimum age 7) will be invited to come aboard the University of Vermont’s research vessel the Melosira in summer 2021 (pending a COVID-19 vaccine is available and our public trips are able to safely operate). Our public trips give participants an opportunity to learn about the history of the lake and its watershed (the area of land that drains to the lake), and to try their hand as limnologists by studying water quality in the lake.

Meet Mo, the robotic mower

Mo, the robotic mower.

This is a blog about Mo, the things he does, and the reasons why those matter. Mo is actually obsolete, despite his blog just beginning. So it goes. Mo is affectionately named after the famous Mo Farah, the British distance runner, in part, due to my hopes and those of my husband about how great of a job he would do mowing our lawn (emulating Sir Farah in his excellence), and in part, due to his name being the right one for a robot that mows the lawn. (Here is an NBC video clip of Mo Farah winning Olympic gold in the 10,000m at the 2012 Olympics if you don’t know him. He’s amazing!)

Mo – the mower–nowhere near as fast as Sir Farah–is a WORX Landroid M WG794. He came about in our lives when we bought a house, owned no lawn mower, and I was (and actually I still am) working on a project to promote homeowners and businesses to cut their lawns following three key recommended practices that benefit both the grass and the environment: cut the lawn no shorter than 3″ in height; cut only 1/3 of the length of the blades during each cutting; and leave the clippings to decompose on the ground. This Raise the Blade project, as it is called, is part of a broader project called Lawn To Lake. This is a collaborative of organizations in the Lake Champlain Basin working to promote lawn care practices that help reduce polluted stormwater runoff from reaching Lake Champlain.

This blog will be updated weekly (on “Mo Mondays”) during the Mo-wing months to share information about how we installed Mo, how well he does his job, his antics, and the goals the Raise the Blade project aims to reach.