Adoption of Landscape Management Practices by Florida Residents

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  • 1 Program Development and Evaluation Center, University of Florida, P.O. Box 110285, Gainesville, FL 32611-0285.
  • | 2 Program Development and Evaluation Center, University of Florida, P.O. Box 110285, Gainesville, FL 32611-0285.
  • | 3 North Florida REC, University of Florida, P.O. Box 110285, Gainesville, FL 32611-0285.

The Florida Cooperative Extension Service (FCES) teaches residents the importance of proper landscaping practices. FCES offers several educational programs that teach residents how to integrate energy and water conservation, pest management, and waste recycling practices into their home landscapes. In 1997, extension staff and volunteers planned and conducted environmental landscape management (ELM) programs resulting in >800,000 customer contacts. A survey was conducted to measure the adoption of recommended best management practices by program participants and nonparticipants. Results show that, of 39 practices examined, Master Gardener trainees increased the number of practices used by an average of 7.3, while educational seminar and publications-only participants increased by an average of 4.5 and 2.8 practices, respectively. Nonparticipants showed essentially no change. When practices are examined one at a time, the Master Gardeners made statistically significant increases in 28 of the 39 recommended practices. Educational seminar and publications-only participants made similar gains in 31 and 6 practices, respectively, and the nonparticipant comparison group made significant increases in 2 practices and decreases in 8. The results suggest that the publications-only strategy for delivering information to homeowners is less effective than strategies combining educational seminars or intensive training with relevant publications.

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