Good Neighbor Iowa is a statewide public education initiative of the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy & Environmental Education. Our program aims to reduce unnecessary urban pesticide use and to transform lawn-culture to encourage appreciation of diverse lawns as a way to protect child health, water quality, pets, and pollinators and biodiversity.

People spray their lawns to be “good neighbors,” but they might be a better neighbor if they didn’t spray!

Find out how spraying could affect you children, pets, pollinators and water. Learn More
Everything you need to know about converting your high maintenance turf to natural, Iowa prairie! Learn More
Learn how to take care of your lawn without using harmful pesticides. Learn More
See pesticide usage in your area and who have committed to be Good Neighbors. Learn More

Our program involves school districts, park managers, childcare centers, and other community leaders who are demonstrating that it is possible and practical to manage large areas of turf without the use of pesticides (weed killers, insecticides, or fungicides). General lawns can be managed without pesticides. Diverse lawns don’t harm anyone, but pesticides can. 

Kids   Children

Children are among the most vulnerable in our community. Pesticides are often used where children live, learn, and play; it is essential that we work to protect their health from everyday environmental hazards. Join us in protecting child health in Iowa!

Waters   Water

When it comes to pesticides, the urban contribution to our waterways is largely ignored. Studies have shown that commonly used lawn chemicals runoff from our lawns into urban waterway. Join us in protecting our waters!

Nature   Pollinators and Biodiversity

Pollinators and pesticides don’t mix. The very purpose of herbicides is to eliminate biodiversity! Pollinator habitat can be supported in lawns where flowering plant communities are allowed to flourish. Join us in embracing diversity in your lawn!

Panther   Pets

Pesticides? More like pets-ticides! Pets spend a lot of time on our lawns and, like children, are vulnerable to environmental toxins. Join us in protecting our furry friends!

                                                                    Join Us

Local leadership across the state is key to the success of this initiative. Contact us to get involved!

"I think all parents want to keep their children safe, and can't do that on their own without the support of their community. This is one way we, as the City, can help create safe environments for all of our children."

Cori Burbach,
Assistant City Manager, 
City of Dubuque

"I think it's imperative to provide the healthiest environmental options possible for our children's growth and development. It impacts their future well being."

Linda Jacoby,
Childcare Center Director
"Natural areas are vital to the health of our ecosystem. Beneficial insects, including pollinators like the iconic monarch butterfly, will thrive in areas where they can find chemical-free host and nectar plants."

Jessie Lowry,
Conservation Manager,
Blank Park Zoo
"It is important that we try to work with groups to make the environment safer. It's been a goal of City Council to make our environment safer for children."

Mark Ripplinger,
Director of Municipal Operations and Programs/Cedar Falls Parks,
City of Cedar Falls