Communicating Landscape Freeze Damage to the Public in Charlotte County

Ralph E. Mitchell

Abstract


The freezing and frosty weather of January, February, and March 2010 saw some nighttime temperatures in the 30s and as low as 23 °F in the Charlotte County area. This was the second year in a row with widespread damaging freezes. The 2010 cold spell was worse, however, with longer cold temperatures that certainly laid waste to our local landscapes. Communicating how to deal with our potentially cold weather in Charlotte County is an annual event. Besides communicating verbally to our customers on the phone, in person and in group programming, we expanded our outreach with additional written media releases and by using electronic media and techniques to take advantage of this “teachable moment.” This was an opportunity to market Extension and educate our public as we emphasized EDIS publications through our newspaper articles, used educational slide shows on our website, and took advantage of special press releases by State Specialists. A timely group program on landscape palms, as well as a PolyCom© session with a State Specialist rounding out the educational experience related to freeze damage. In addition to a measurable spike in website hits linked to an increase in customer information searches, an electronic survey of over 500 customers was conducted related to the freeze damage which documented interesting results.

Keywords


teachable moment, EDIS, communicating, radiational, advective

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283