These educational programs work to increase awareness and knowledge of responsible landscape management and natural resource conservation.
More specifically, included are all aspects of the landscape: soil, plants, water, insects, diseases, and wildlife. It aims to foster a better understanding and the proper use of pesticides, fertilizers, other landscape inputs, as well as equipment in order to add the greatest value with minimal negative impact to the managed landscapes. Environmental Stewardship targets plant selection, water quality, yard waste management, erosion control, and other related issues.
Examples of how Master Gardeners are employing the Environmental Stewardship Education program throughout the commonwealth:
Unit – Northern Neck Master Gardeners
Project– Integrated Shoreline Evaluation Assistance
Description– An educational, community service to help homeowners develop an environmentally sound erosion control plan for their property. Nutrient management plans were written for all properties evaluated. Most banks showed low to medium erosion. Turf only covered up to 98% of properties and impervious surfaces covered up to 30%.
Unit – Loudoun County Master Gardeners
Project – Demonstration Garden
Description – The Loudoun County Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden is a one-third acre urban oasis in Leesburg, Virginia. The Demonstration Garden is an expansive garden offering educational opportunities for the entire community and providing bountiful harvests to the local food bank. It is a project for the love of gardening, public enjoyment and community education.
Unit – Central Rappahannock Master Gardeners
Project – Plant Clinics
Description – Master Gardener volunteers speak with residents, advising them on everything from how and when to apply lawn fertilizer to telling them what’s wrong with their tomatoes. These clinics provide MGs with a great opportunity to advertise educational classes, hand out soil kits and encourage residents to practice environmentally sound practices.