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  • Author or Editor: Glenn D. Israel x
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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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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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