Posted by: Deryn Davidson, Horticulture Agent, Boulder County
As many of you know, and for those who don’t, CSU Extension is a community-based resource found in counties across the state of Colorado. We are part of the larger Cooperative Extension Service that can be found across the country at land grant universities. CSU Extension’s mission is to empower Coloradoans to address important and emerging community issues using dynamic science-based educational resources. To that end, we have an exciting announcement! CSU has been named the new institutional partner for Landscape for Life, a program that provides education on sustainable landscaping practices. As resources like water become scarcer and interest in pollinators, native plants, and gardening with purpose grows, this program will work to meet the demand for education in sustainable and climate resilient landscaping. Modules include information on soils, water, plants, materials, health, pollinators, and maintenance.
Developed in 2011 by the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin, Landscape for Life is based on the principles of the Sustainable Sites Initiatives (SITES), the nation’s first comprehensive rating system designed to distinguish sustainable landscapes and measure their performance. The program will continue to be in partnership with the USBG and will be offered by CSU Extension.
“USBG is thrilled to collaborate with CSU to continue Landscape for Life and the important work of teaching people about sustainable gardening at home,” said Dr. Susan Pell, USBG acting executive director. “CSU’s commitment to sustainability through action and education make for a great fit for this program. We look forward to working together to expand knowledge, access, and resources for sustainable gardening practices across the country.”
“We are proud to be part of the program’s history and are pleased that CSU will foster its future,” said Lee Clippard, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center executive director. “What began as an initiative to deliver education on sustainable gardening practices has grown into an opportunity to inspire lasting impact and change.”
For over 10 years, Landscape for Life has provided resources and training opportunities for people interested in climate-resilient landscaping techniques for any size garden. While conventional gardens can work against nature, sustainable gardens are supportive of natural ecosystems and conserve resources. They enhance the environment’s ability to clean air and water, reduce flooding, combat climate change, and provide other natural benefits that support life on earth. Landscape for Life uses these benefits as core themes and areas of focus for the course curriculum.
CSU Extension assumed responsibility for management, stewardship, growth, and ownership of the program in May 2022. The first charge of the new CSU-USBG partnership will be updating content to ensure the latest, science-based research remains core to the curriculum, followed by improving in-depth learning opportunities through accessible online programming and in-person training in Colorado.
Through leveraging the institution’s experience and expertise in creating scalable learning platforms, mixed with strong, national Cooperative Extension network connections, CSU plans to address audiences nationwide. Longer-term, high-priority goals for the program place an emphasis on language justice with an initiative to translate course content into Spanish, in both written and live translation.
To be responsive to different learning styles, personalized education tracks are in development. Course modality will include options like free online content, modular online courses, and customized, fee-based training delivered either online or in-person.
Based on the learner’s desired outcomes and intended goals for registration, course content will be directed at two audience segments of the landscaping industry: those who install and maintain green spaces (landscaping companies, municipal staff, homeowners/gardeners), and those who experience landscapes (clients of landscaping companies, HOA boards, municipalities, homeowners/gardeners).
To learn more, explore the course curriculum, or see how to get involved, visit Landscape for Life