Bringing water quality education to the world via eXtension

Susan Haddock

Abstract


The state of Florida and many other states have enacted urban landscape and fertilizer management ordinances as a result of the concern for the protection of bodies of water. In an effort to reduce nonpoint source pollution and its effect on water quality, ordinances require that commercial applicators obtain certification to legally apply fertilizer to urban landscapes. This certification must be renewed every four years with continuing education credits. Ordinances also apply to all urban residents and property owners. Many landscape professionals and urban residents need a better understanding of how landscape and fertilizer management practices are related to the causes and consequences of nonpoint source pollution. Understanding how to manage landscape practices to reduce urban runoff and leaching may encourage behavior change that results in protecting water quality. This Agent developed a program consisting of a series of articles, a series of PowerPoint presentations and five 10–14 minute videos. These educational tools educate fertilizer and pesticide applicators and the public on non-point source pollution, urban storm water run-off and leaching, water quality and conservation issues, and fertilizer practices. Each component is designed to measure knowledge gain and intent to improve or adopt recommended practices. In Florida, the Green Industries Best Management Practices training program estimates that over 100,000 commercial applicators will require certification and need to renew that certification in future years. The Agent’s current program needed to be revised to meet the renewal criteria in a more readily accessible format, to anyone, anywhere and anytime internet access is available. The environment of eXtension Campus provides that format. This article introduces readers to the eXtension Campus environment as an accessible format for an urban water quality education program.


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