New national campaign encourages Canadians to rethink turfgrass lawns

MONTREAL | TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE KANIEN’KEHÁ:KA FIRST NATION — Today marks the launch of LawnShare, a groundbreaking campaign urging Canadians to rethink traditional lawns as vibrant habitats for local insects and wildlife. Led by the David Suzuki Foundation, Dark Matter Labs, Nouveaux Voisins and a dedicated team of volunteers and researchers, LawnShare aims to revolutionize how we view and care for the millions of turfgrass lawns throughout the country.

Traditional turfgrass lawns have long dominated Canadian urban and suburban landscapes, but their ecological impact often goes overlooked. While they provide leisure space, these lawns come at a steep environmental cost, with excessive water usage, chemical reliance and minimal ecological value. LawnShare seeks to change this by promoting sustainable alternatives that support native flora and fauna.

“Rooted in colonial history, these barren, thirsty, high-maintenance landscapes have become ingrained in our culture and communities,” said Jode Roberts of the David Suzuki Foundation’s Rewilding Communities program. “Yet, this vast tapestry of yards, fields and roadsides represents a landscape of great opportunity for cultivating healthier environments for wildlife and humans.”

Although lawns cover vast expanses of land throughout Canada, their exact extent remains uncharted. LawnShare’s research team has developed innovative methods for mapping lawns in Canadian cities, laying the groundwork for local conservation efforts and identifying opportunities for habitat restoration. The preliminary findings suggest a range of 8.2 to 22.7 per cent of the seven mapped communities are blanketed in turfgrass. The heavily urbanized City of Toronto has 80 square kilometers of lawns – 50 times bigger than High Park, one of the city’s largest green spaces. Montreal’s 97 square kilometers of lawns represents an area of about 34 times bigger than Mont-Royal Park.

“Through innovative mapping techniques, we’re shedding light on the extent of lawns across Canada,” said Maxime Fortin Faubert, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow with the David Suzuki Foundation. “This data not only informs conservation efforts but also reveals opportunities for habitat restoration within our communities.”

Despite their prevalence, traditional lawns remain underutilized and resource-intensive. LawnShare offers a pathway to change, empowering individuals, companies and communities to adopt sustainable lawn-care practices. Participants receive a comprehensive toolkit, including maintenance tips, habitat creation guidance, regional plant lists and access to educational webinars.

“Our lawns are more than just blankets of grass; they’re a blank slate with untapped potential for biodiversity,” said Philippe Asselin, directeur general at Nouveaux Voisins. “With LawnShare, we’re unlocking this potential and creating healthier ecosystems for wildlife and humans.”

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LawnShare, and it’s French-language partner project Partage ta Pelouse, is a national initiative dedicated to transforming traditional turfgrass lawns into vibrant habitat that supports native plants and wildlife. Join the movement at

Founded in 1990, the David Suzuki Foundation is a prominent Canadian environmental non-profit. We partner with diverse stakeholders to advance a sustainable Canada. Our mission encompasses scientific research, engagement and policy innovation to safeguard nature’s diversity and promote wellbeing.

Dark Matter Labs pioneers social innovation globally, addressing complex challenges through collaborative solutions. We use cutting-edge methods to catalyze transformative change and promote resilient, equitable societies.

Nouveaux Voisins fosters community connections and sustainable living through grassroots initiatives. We empower individuals to build vibrant, inclusive communities focused on environmental stewardship and social wellbeing.