Claire Lewis to lead the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program

Claire LewisClaire Lewis has been selected to lead the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program (FFL) as a state specialized agent. Lewis has worked for the FFL program for more than a decade and served as interim director for the last year. She was selected after a four-month search and will be the first UF/IFAS Extension state specialized agent (SSA) to lead the program.

Lewis graduated with a master’s in landscape architecture from the University of Florida and was a practicing landscape architect before joining FFL in 2011. Prior to becoming director, Lewis held the role of Florida-Friendly Communities statewide coordinator. She focused on providing science-based sustainable landscape education to encourage builders, developers, and HOAs to adopt Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles, aiming to preserve and protect Florida’s water and natural resources.

As FFL director, Lewis will continue to lead the program in promoting sustainable alternatives to “conventional” landscaping by providing guidance to homeowners and industry professionals on low-impact, environmentally friendly and science-based landscape practices that use less water and reduce pollutant loading to Florida waters. Sponsored in part by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the overall goal of the FFL program is to reduce nonpoint-source pollution through proper fertilization, irrigation, and pesticide use on residential and commercial landscapes.

“I’m thrilled to lead the FFL program during such a critical time for Florida’s environmental sustainability,” said Lewis. “Our collective choices in landscape design and maintenance can have a profound impact on preserving the natural beauty and resources of our state for future generations. I look forward to strengthening our existing partnerships and building new ones to further our mission.”

Lewis says she will focus on working with the green industry, governmental agencies, utility providers, and other environmentally focused groups that aim to use sustainable practices to preserve and protect the natural wonder of Florida.

“I see partnerships as a key component for the future success of the program and I look forward to finding new opportunities to collaborate with all of these groups,” said Lewis.

UF/IFAS Associate Dean for Extension Michael Dukes says Lewis is ideal for this position. “I am confident that Claire will lead the program to new heights, especially since water quantity and quality issues are at the center of the FFL program and key factors to the economic engine of the state,’ said Dukes.

Dukes also serves as director for the UF/IFAS Center for Land Use Efficiency (CLUE), which oversees Extension programs including FFL, and he will work closely with Lewis as the center continues its work to protect water resources across Florida.


Jennifer Sykes
Posted: April 9, 2024

Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, UF/IFAS Extension, Water
Tags: Center For Land Use Efficiency, Claire Lewis, CLUE, FFL, Florida-Friendly Landscapes

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