Our residential property services business was listed as “essential” by Connecticut and New York. This has forced us to look at what we do from another perspective – reframing our work in terms perhaps considered as secondary, up until now. Our entire workforce is re-tooling and learning how to speak differently about what we do; and for the folks in quarantine at this time, THEY want to know what we’re doing too!
I remember watching my beloved grandchildren bounding off into the woods behind our house to find Easter eggs; my first thought in that moment was to hope the latest cedar oil tick spray did the trick.
We think differently about our properties today than just 20 or so years ago when tick-borne illness was not as prevalent as it is today in Connecticut and New York.
So, why are landscape services essential?
The landscape and pool industry learned a valuable lesson in 2002 that [I believe] paved the way for our present government response in naming us “essential.”
In 2000-2002 a Florida economic downturn caused an unexpected health crisis in residential neighborhoods that made headlines in our national papers. A massive influx of mosquitoes hitting residential neighborhoods at the time was traced to foreclosed “Zombie Homes” where the pools had been shut down and the water allowed to go green.
This happens to pool water very quickly when no one is maintaining it- actually, it happens in about 3-4 days once sanitizer levels drop to zero. Why? A pool is more like a petri dish than an ecosystem.
A Florida “Zombie Home” quickly became a huge problem after landscape and pool services were abruptly stopped. It was during this time that West Nile Virus was discovered on our coast. This also found its way into prominent national news.
With the very publicized advent and recent increase in tick and mosquito-borne illness it has become crucial to maintain properties clean and well-maintained.
The Essential Local Ecosystem
Another important point to make is in regards to our trade’s increasing contribution to a healthy ecosystem.
In recent years fears of honeybee populations dwindling or dying off has hit home!
The Audubon Society and other Naturalists have studied and concluded that landscape companies can help greatly by planting native species that cause our pollinators to thrive.
In a strange way this pandemic has taught us to articulate what makes us “essential”…
Sure, we make properties beautiful and provide recreational water, but…
- We’re not just mowing lawns, we are controlling tick and mosquito habitat.
- We’re not just maintaining swimming pools, we’re conserving water and preventing mosquito-borne illness.
- We’re bringing back the pollinators and varieties of birds that were disappearing from our area.
It took a pandemic for the average landscape or pool service crew to realize that we are essential to the health and well-being of our residential communities and our ecosystem.
Glengate employees however are not average. As an “essential” residential service we follow CDC guidelines – this has also proven challenging – but so is everything else in this pandemic. “Normal” activities like, buying food at the grocery store or pumping gas are all a challenge! A challenge we have accepted.
We are happy to do our part and serve our community in this way.