University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension (URI CE)
Water Quality Program and
Extension Education Center currently play unique roles within
Rhode Island as leaders in both water quality and sustainable
landscaping education using state of the art approaches that
tailor educational programs to local communities. The Healthy
Landscapes Education Program is a partnership between URI
CE’s Water Quality, GreenShare, and Master Gardener
Programs, the Town of North Kingstown, and the private sector.
The goals of the program are to inform residents about the importance of their
water resources and identify steps they can take to protect those resources from
home landscape activities.
Gardening is the number one hobby nationwide. On average, residential landscapes
use ten times the amount of fertilizers and pesticides on a per acre basis
than agricultural lands. In addition, residential water consumption increases
40% - 50% during summer months due mainly to landscape watering.
The improper use of fertilizers, pesticides, lawn watering and the need to
manage and dispose of yard waste and pet waste are occurring on small acreages
with close proximity to “urbanizing” areas or areas with an increase
in impervious surface areas. Polluted stormwater runoff and a reduction in
groundwater recharge threaten water quality and balance in the water cycle.
Many rural homeowners also have pets, horses and other livestock. Improperly
handled, concentrated animal waste from pets, livestock, and other “resident
wildlife” are potential sources of pathogens and nutrients that can impact
water quality. These rural parcels are also subject to erosion, sedimentation,
sparse vegetation, loss or damage to riparian buffers and impacts to drinking
water wells when pastures and animal access areas are improperly managed.
• Maintained three residential demonstration
one “small acreage” farm site. Two additional
demonstration landscapes were used for educational programming,
one being a public-access historic site, the other a private
• Demonstration practices for the URI CE Learning Landscape
were planned for installation during fall of 2004. Preliminary
planning for demonstration practices at the North Kingstown
Town Hall began.
Program information through mass media including TV and print media coverage and electronic
on statewide and local levels.
Healthy Landscapes website at www.healthylandscapes.org
was updated regularly to contain all Program materials,
demonstration sites and TV coverage.
and maintained written materials and an educational display to accompany educational
and events. Initiated development of a set of printed materials
for small acreage livestock owners.
• Conducted educational tours of demonstration sites, workshops,
and participated in community events and organizational
meetings for residents, URI Master Gardeners, 4-H leaders
and landscape professionals.
targeted Program outreach to North Kingstown Homeowner
Associations and citizen groups,
as well as local
garden clubs, garden centers and landscape professionals.
targeted Program outreach to URI Master Gardeners and engaged
them in advanced training
demonstration site development and maintenance and education
training program for landscape professionals, which included
a pre-test and final exam
for a Healthy Landscapes
Trained Practitioner Certificate and window sticker.
educational tours, workshops and training programs contained
an evaluation component
to document and evaluate
Program impacts. General residential
surveys were routinely
collected and tabulated.
materials and information to additional Rhode Island communities
for use in programs
• Attended meetings and training programs as part
of the New England Region Water Quality Program’s Sustainable
Landscapes Focus Area. Presented a talk at the New England
Region Conference and a poster at the National Water Quality
• 50 landscape professionals trained as Healthy Landscapes
Practitioners. In addition, over 80% indicate that they are
interested in attending additional Healthy Landscapes training
people attended Healthy Landscapes workshops and tours.
Display and educational materials
12 events and organizational meetings including the annual
RI Flower Show, annual URI GreenShare field day, and North
Kingstown Environmental fair.
Master Gardener volunteers were trained in Healthy Landscapes
Plant Pro segments have been aired, reaching approximately
250,000 people per segment.
94% of North Kingstown residents receive articles and announcements
on Healthy Landscapes Program through the Town’s
newsletter, The Puddle, which is mailed with quarterly
percent of survey respondents indicate a willingness to
change yard care practices for
• Strengthening of residential pollution prevention
programs with the development of new educational materials,
innovative programming, and new delivery techniques. Training
and sharing of educational approaches and materials within
New England’s Sustainable Landscapes Focus Area.
Master Gardener volunteers applying the skills learned
and using Healthy Landscape
16 volunteers actively participated on behalf of the Program
What’s Next – Year
• Continue local and statewide media campaign.
additional demonstration site tours, workshops and training
programs for residents and
such as landscape professionals, garden center employees,
URI Master Gardeners, 4-H leaders, Homeowner Associations
and garden clubs.
to train and incorporate URI Master Gardeners in education
in events and organizational meetings with educational
display and printed materials.
to develop and maintain printed materials. Complete printed
materials for small
acreage livestock owners
and conduct targeted training and outreach for
4-H volunteers and youth.
to maintain demonstration sites and install new practices
at URI CE Learning Landscape.
of demonstration site installation at the North Kingstown
comprehensive evaluation methods to evaluate and track
information gained and practices
potential benefits to water quality from various landscape
practices using the MANAGE risk assessment tool.
to extend information and Programs throughout the state,
New England region, and