The objectives of the Edina Goes Green 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, MN 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 was to bring about a change in Edina residents' lawn care by teaching about proper timing and rate of application of all lawn inputs, as well as cultural techniques for producing a healthy lawn. The lawn care techniques taught in the program were drawn from the Minnesota Extension Service publication, LILaC: Low Input Lawn Care (Mugaas, 1995).
The educational campaign consisted of several parts. Six informational articles were published in Edina' s AboutTown quarterly community magazine
and the local SunCurrent newspaper. Nineteen demonstration sites were established in which volunteer homeowners worked with Master Gardener
mentors learning low-input lawn care techniques. A WWW page containing information about lawn care and the project itself was posted, and a free public
seminar entitled Lawn Care for the 90s: A Pinch Not a Pound was held in March, 1996.
To measure the effectiveness of the program, two surveys were distributed, each to a random sample of Edina residents. The first survey was mailed at the start of the project to 800 residents. The second survey was mailed a year later, at the project's end. This survey was sent both to the same group that received the first survey and also to a new sample of 800 more residents. The surveys measured lawn care knowledge and current practices, attitudes concerning pesticide use and the environment, as well as the effectiveness of the Edina Goes Green program. By the end of the year-long project, 59% of respondents who received both surveys and 36% of respondents who received only the second survey indicated that they were at least vaguely familiar with the project. Of these, for both groups of respondents, the informational articles were selected as the most utilized educational tool (66% and 44%, respectively).
Recommendations for other community educational programs are based on the survey results as well as feedback from the Master Gardener and Demonstration Site participants and the residents of Edina who initiated and helped carry out the project.
Edina Goes Green: A Community Education Project in Low-input Lawn Care.
University of Minnesota.
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