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  • Author or Editor: Perrin J. Carpenter x
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The objectives of the project were to design and implement an educational campaign on low-input lawn care, measure its effectiveness, and use the information gained to develop a model education plan that other communities could use. Residents of Edina, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis, initiated the project by expressing an interest in reducing the amounts of chemical inputs (fertilizers and pesticides) used on residential lawns. The program's educational goal focused on teaching Edina's residents about proper timing and rate of application of all lawn inputs, as well as cultural techniques for producing a healthy lawn. The educational campaign consisted of informational articles published in Edina's quarterly community magazine; the establishment of 19 demonstration sites in which volunteer homeowners worked with Master Gardener mentors learning low-input lawn care techniques; a WWW page where information about lawn care and the project itself was posted; and a public seminar conducted by a turf specialist. Two surveys (May 1996 and April 1997) were distributed, each to a random sample of 800 Edina residents. The surveys measured lawn care knowledge and current practices, attitudes concerning pesticide use and the environment, as well as the effectiveness of this educational program. Recommendations for other community educational programs will be presented.

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A yearlong community education project was conducted in Edina, Minn., to teach residents about low-input lawn care techniques. Informational articles, a World Wide Web (Web) page, public seminar, and demonstration sites were the four major strategies employed by the project. Each of these teaching methods had a specific objective for influencing the lawn care knowledge and practices of Edina residents. Feedback from surveys at the completion of the project showed that printed articles had the highest familiarity. Based on these results, recommendations are given for other communities to implement low-input lawn care education programs.

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Master Gardeners (MGs) were paired with homeowners who volunteered their lawns for demonstration sites in Edina, Minn., as part of a yearlong community-wide campaign to teach low-input lawn care. Project objectives were to 1) promote locations where community members could see low-input lawn care, 2) provide individualized instruction to homeowners via MGs, and 3) explore the feasibility of home lawns as public demonstration sites. Surveys suggest that participants changed practices because of the individual instruction from MGs. Further recommendations are given for using private homes as demonstration sites.

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Homeowners in Edina, Minn., were surveyed in conjunction with a low-input lawn care community educa- tion project. Surveys were sent at the start and finish of the yearlong project, and asked questions pertaining to the respondent's lawn care knowledge, practices, and environ- mental attitude toward lawn inputs. The responses from before the program, compared with those afterward, show overall that homeowners lawn care did not change signifi- cantly by the end of the educational campaign. Responses are useful, however, in targeting future educational efforts. For example, while >80% of respondents were aware of the benefits of leaving mowed clippings on the lawn, <6% knew how much fertilizer is needed yearly for a medium mainte- nance lawn. Participants indicated a 10% weed tolerance was acceptable, but 25% was not; and disagreed with the state- ment &quot;pesticides are not harmful to the environment.”

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