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3 reasons why you should stop raking leaves this fall and never look back.

Fall leaves aren't just pretty. They form their own "mini-ecosystem."

3 reasons why you should stop raking leaves this fall and never look back.

Here's a thought: Skip the whole raking leaves thing this fall.

Heck, stop raking leaves forever.


Photo via iStock.

No, you're not dreaming. And no, I'm not an enabler (when it comes to raking leaves, at least).

There are actual, legitimate, vital reasons (beyond simply preferring to spend a Sunday on the couch) why you can let the leaves pile up outside without feeling a single ounce of guilt.

See this dog? Be this dog. Let your leaves be. Photo by Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images.

The National Wildlife Federation is asking you (yes, you!) to put the rake down for the sake of Mother Earth.

In a post published to the organization's blog, the NWF outlines three important reasons why raking leaves is actually harmful for the environment and the creatures that live in your 'hood. (Side note: The blog post was actually published in 2014, but — as further proof that humans detest raking leaves — has spread across the Internet like wildfire again in recent days.)

Photo via iStock.

Here are three reasons your rake should stay put in the shed.

1. Your raking affects many critters that consider the leaves home.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Fallen leaves are vital for several adorable species — like chipmunks, box turtles, and shrews — and other not-as-adorable-but-equally-important species — like earthworms and various insects.

"The leaf layer is its own mini-ecosystem," the NWF says. "Many wildlife species live in or rely on the leaf layer to find food and other habitat."

Yep, raking leaves can destroy the seasonal housing accommodations that these species need to survive. Don't do it.

2. Fallen leaves are exactly what your garden needs.

Photo via iStock.

Dead leaves are the gift that keeps on giving for your garden. They act as an all-natural, weed-fighting mulch — all while fertilizing the soil as they decompose.

So do your garden good and give your raking a rest.

3. Raking your leaves means fewer beautiful butterflies. And that means less food for birds.

Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

Fallen leaves are a great spot for butterflies and moths to chill during the colder months as pupae (basically, an insect's very lazy, teenage-ish years). Not only will raking up your leaves kill these creatures, but it affects the food supply for birds that are trying to feed their babies come spring.

Bottom line? Put. The rake. Down.

Getting rid of your fallen leaves harms critters, hinders your green thumb talents, and takes up far too many autumn afternoons when you could be doing literally anything else.

Go enjoy your leaves just as they are! (And thank me later.)

GIF via Funnyplox/YouTube.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.