Surveys Show Extension Workshops Improve Floridians' Adoption of Environmental Landscape Management Practices

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  • 1 Univ. of Florida Dept. of Agricultural Education and Communication, Gainesville FL 32611

Environmental Landscape Management (ELM), an extension education program, approaches every landscape as a “system” in which cultural practices interact with each other and the environment. ELM guidelines integrate site conditions, landscape design, plant selection, cultural factors, and recycling in a comprehensive, environment-friendly strategy for managing a landscape. Use of ELM practices by Floridians will conserve resources and protect the environment. The ELM program was evaluated from 1992 to 1994 in 10 counties to measure the program's impact on participants' landscape practices and to provide information on ways to improve program delivery and effectiveness. The evaluation was accomplished by comparing pre-program information on the use of ELM practices with that of a follow-up conducted six months after the program. Responses of this Program Group (n = 473) were compared to those of a Comparison Group of randomly selected Floridians (n = 186). ELM training increased the Program Group's adoption of most practices pertaining to pest management, irrigation, and mowing and pruning. ELM training increased adoption of some fertilization practices and a few recycling and wildlife practices. Energy conserving practices were not widely used by respondents. Respondents maintaining their own yards or those without a permanent irrigation system were more likely to adopt a wide range of ELM practices. The Program Group generally had higher initial levels of adoption of ELM practices than the Comparison Group.

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