2022 – Central District All Faculty Symposium – Horticulture, Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFL)
T. McIntyre, UF/IFAS Extension, Seminole County, Sanford, FL
Situation: As vaccines for COVID-19 were still rolling out in April of 2021, there was a need to celebrate Earth Week in a safe way. Partners at the City of Sanford needed a way to continue the event they had always successfully delivered to the public, educating them on trees and water conservation measures.
Methods: Four virtual webinars launched during Earth Week 2021 educated participants on rain barrels, saving water in the home, landscape design and successful tree planting. Incentives such as free showerheads, trees, and rain barrels were provided the Saturday after during a “drive through” at the Extension office. Supplies were provided by the partnering city to provide participants the tools to implement Florida Friendly practices.
Results: During the four Earth week webinars, a post-webinar reflective survey showed that 98.7% (238/241) increased their knowledge on Florida-Friendly Landscaping and/or water conservation. 100% (237/237) intended to use the information from the webinar to implement Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFL) and/or water conservation principles. In a six month follow up survey, 97% (68/70) of participants were planting for wildlife, 92% (66/72) were properly pruning their new trees, and 96.9% (63/65) were selecting drought tolerant plants.
Conclusion: Virtual education in conjunction with a drive through pick up of free incentives not only increases attendance but also provides them to the tools to actually implement the behaviors and practices they learned. This focus on Earth Week yielded happy customers and increased behavior changes to save water.