Ocean Friendly Gardens Activist Toolkit/Working With Professionals

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Ocean Friendly Gardens Activist Toolkit
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Chapter 3: Collaborating With Local Sustainable Landscape Professionals

OFG How-To Book

A person’s home is probably the biggest investment of their life and they want to protect that investment and ensure that the landscape meets their image of beauty. OFG info can help with teaching them about the beauty of an OFG, but they may end out hiring a professional to do the work – and one who is not familiar with OFG. We want all the entities involved in a landscape retrofit to want to go OFG, and that includes the landscape professionals that design, construct and maintain it.

So, Surfrider has published the book “Ocean Friendly Gardens: A How-To Gardening Guide to Help Restore a Healthy Coast & Ocean” as a step-by-step design and construction tool. This book can also be a helpful tool for educating professionals about simple design criteria and ensuring all the components of an Ocean Friendly Garden are understood by the landscape professionals we work with. We also strongly recommend chapters get a copy of the book as a resource for understanding the basics of an OFG before organizing a chapter OFG program. See Chapter 5 for book ordering information.

Role of Professionals

Landscape professionals can plan different roles in or for an OFG Committee:

  • Good examples of OFG built - It’s important to the local program for you to have good, well-designed examples of OFGs to refer people to and to go back to for conducting Lawn Patrols. Do some research and connect with sustainable landscape professionals in your area that have created OFGs. Encourage them to apply for an OFG sign for their OFG projects. Also, recruit them to join the OFG Committee or just invite them to attend your events and get to know OFG.
  • Advising property owners - An OFG-qualified professional can provide services to the homeowners in your area and help them meet OFG sign criteria. In fact, many states require landscape professionals (designers, contractors and architects) to be licensed or otherwise qualified to perform certain kinds of landscape work. Professionals offer a menu of work options - advice, site evaluation, installation and maintenance. The client can start with a short consultation and go from there.
  • Training and educating volunteers - Running the OFG program does not require recruiting a landscape professional to volunteer for the program, but having one involved who believes in and practices OFG sure does make it easier to train and educate chapter volunteers. For example, a professional can help lead a Hands-On Workshop and oversee a Garden Assistance Program Workday. A minimal amount of paid professional assistance can aid and perpetuate the OFG program.

Surfrider has developed written agreements for chapters to utilize when conducting a Workshop, Workday or a Basics Class to ensure the professionals involved follow CPR and promote hands-on training opportunities (see Appendix D).

Wherever you can, try to develop relationships with and promote local landscape professionals and associations they belong to to support your OFG Program. There are professional associations for landscape designers, landscape architects, landscape contractors and “green” builders – and there are often “chapters” or “districts” of these associations in many states around the U.S.:

OFG 5.jpg
  • Association of Professional Landscape Designer (APLD)
  • American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
  • American Landscape Contractors Association (ALCA)
  • U.S. Green Building Council Chapters
  • City or Municipality “Green Associations”
  • Green Gardeners
  • Other “Friendly” Landscaping Groups, e.g., Bay Friendly, River Friendly, etc.

G3: Our Partner in So. California and No. California – and Beyond

From the start of the OFG Program in Southern California, Surfrider has partnered with the sustainable landscape design, education and training firm, The Green Gardens Group (G3). G3 has assisted in overall Program development, helped develop OFG curriculum, teach Classes and Workshops and provide design consultation on OFG projects throughout California ( http://www.greengardensgroup.com ).

OFG G3 Logo.jpg

G3 is an organization devoted to educating homeowners, design professionals and the general public in the latest eco-restorative landscaping techniques and promoting the principles of LID. G3 recognizes the importance of building a thriving, knowledgeable cohort of professional landscape designers and related professionals within each city that Surfrider provides its Program. Without the trained professional support group, homeowners are left to navigate the changing environment of sustainable landscaping on their own, and are susceptible to failure. Likewise, city planning and policy-making personnel need to be able to rely upon the knowledge and experience of their local design and implementation professionals to reduce the burden of the ever-increasing ordinances and compliance issues regarding sustainable landscaping, LID, urban greening, and urban watershed restoration.

G3 has developed professional training and certification programs to develop and facilitate professionals and policy makers working together. G3 is interested in seeing their programming spread nationwide, and they are working with state Chapters of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) as well as U.S.E.P.A.’s WaterSense Program. The latter would help with providing a standardized national teaching program. Chapters should consider contacting G3 for assistance during the launch phase to ensure quality training of volunteers and professionals occurs, as well as ensuring that good demonstration gardens are created.

Per their availability, G3 will join the National OFG Program Coordinator at regional chapter conferences. G3 is also a resource for landscape professionals in a chapter’s area, and welcomes contact by professionals for consultation on incorporating OFG principles and practices into projects and into teaching. And these professionals can then become a valuable resource for homeowners and the chapter.