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 several times more fertilizers and pesticides on a per acre
basis than agricultural lands. In addition, residential water consumption
40% - 50% during summer months due mainly to landscape watering.
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
groundwater recharge threaten water quality and balance in the water cycle.
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
impacts to drinking
water wells when pastures and animal access areas are improperly managed.
• Installed a demonstration rain garden at the North Kingstown Town Hall.
Monitoring and maintenance occurs on a weekly basis.
• Maintained two residential demonstration landscapes and
one “small acreage” farm
site in North Kingstown. Two additional demonstration landscapes in North Kingstown
were used for educational programming, one being a public-access historic site,
the other a private residence.
• Installed demonstration landscape best management practices at the URI
Program information through mass media including TV and
print media coverage and electronic mail
on local, statewide and regional levels.
Healthy Landscapes website at www.healthylandscapes.org is updated regularly to contain all Program materials, events,
demonstration sites and TV coverage.
and maintained written materials and an educational display
to accompany educational programs and
• Developed a series of four
fact sheets and two
self-assessment worksheets for small acreage livestock owners in Rhode
Island. Coordinated review by USDA Natural Resources Conservation
Service staff in RI. The series covers proper management
of livestock for the protection of water resources and
MANAGE Model Risk Analysis to estimate impacts from
fertilizer use and water consumption based on
adoption of recommended BMPs. A fact sheet summarizing the
analysis was developed.
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 outreach to URI Master Gardeners engaging them
in demonstration site development and maintenance
and education program delivery.
training for landscape professionals through the RI Nursery
and Landscape Association Winter Seminar Series
and Pesticide Applicator Training Series.
educational tours, workshops and training programs contained
an evaluation component to document and evaluate
general residential surveys administered from spring 2003
through June 2005 were tabulated and summarized.
Extended programs, materials and information to additional
Rhode Island communities, agencies and organizations. Healthy
Landscapes Program materials, demonstration sites, and
message are being incorporated into several additional
programs and events sponsored by the URI CE Education Center
and Master Gardener Programs, including the “Gardening
with the Masters Tour” and “Summer Gardening
School Series” held at the URI Botanical Gardens.
• Attended meetings and training programs as part
of the New England Region Water Quality Program’s Sustainable
Landscapes Focus Area. Presented a talk on the Healthy Landscapes
Program at a New England Region Sustainable Landscapes Workshop
in October 2004 and at the National Water Quality Conference
in February 2005. Attended a training program on social marketing
and behavior change, April 2005.
• 50 people attended Healthy Landscapes sponsored workshops and tours.
Display and educational materials attended over 11 events and organizational
• 163 Master Gardeners received training on the Healthy
Landscapes Program. 13 Master Gardeners actively volunteered
on behalf of the Program this year.
Plant Pro segments have aired reaching approximately 250,000
people per segment. Four segments were filmed at
three Project demonstration sites.
• 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 municipal water bills.
percent of survey respondents indicate a willingness to
change yard care practices for water quality protection.
• 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.
Next – one year no-cost
September 2005 – August 2006
• Continue to train and incorporate URI Master Gardeners in education program
delivery, including a Healthy Landscapes talk for the URI Master Gardener Speaker’s
• Continue to monitor and maintain the North Kingstown
Town Hall demonstration rain garden through May 2007.
a follow up survey with program participants to track knowledge
gained and actions taken.
exit interview with demonstration site owners.
pilot workshop with 4-H leaders on the use of the small
acreage livestock fact sheet and worksheet series.
to extend information and Program throughout the state,
New England region, and nationally.
a final report of Healthy Landscapes Program.