Monday, January 30, 2017

New Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Cert. Program From Penn State Extension

The new Penn State Extension Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional (CBLP) Certification Program relies on several publications and resources to help landscape professionals learn all they can about sustainable landscaping practices before taking a final exam.
What was missing from the study materials however, was a single resource on how stormwater management and watershed restoration is managed in the Chesapeake Bay Region.
Many state and local publications were available but none that were comprehensive in nature.
With the task defined, a small team worked together to create the new Basic Principles of Watershed Restoration and Stormwater Management in the Chesapeake Bay Region, a 42 page study resource that covers everything from the definition of a watershed to the basics of stream restoration and Low-Impact Development practices.
The authors of this document, Jennifer Dindinger and Amanda Rockler, Watershed Restoration Specialists at the University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension; Kristen Kyler, Project Coordinator at the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center; David Sample, Associate Professor of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech; Laurie Fox, Research Associate at the Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center; and Shereen Hughes the Assistant Director of Wetlands Watch worked cooperatively across state lines to complete the document in time for the CBLP participants to use before their exam.
The document's backbone comes from the Total Maximum Daily Loads: A Citizen’s Guide To The Chesapeake Bay TMDL and the Virginia Urban Nutrient Management Manual, but was developed to be easy to read, educational for a diverse audience, and comprehensive of all the management tools used in the Bay region.
Included in the guide are two tables describing and showing pictures of the many Best Management Practices that are commonly used in the Bay Region.
"In our minds, this was a win-win situation and another great example of the amazing support we've received, with the co-authors pulling together to support  the certification and their professionals goals in the process" said Shereen Hughes who is also acting as the Virginia Coordinator for the CBLP program.
The document, while needed for the CBLP program, also provided a great opportunity for the writing team to learn about the practices used in other states and to form new working relationships across state lines.
Kristen Kyler shares, "It was a neat experience working collaboratively on this document. Because we were all spread out across the region, we never actually met but worked together through phone conversations, email, and Google Docs. It was a new way of working collaboratively, for me, at such a large scale."
Throughout the process team members noted how much they were learning about different states and different practices. Different terms are used more commonly in different states for Best Management Practices and regulations can be very different depending on location.
Jennifer Dindinger observed, "We hope that this document will help landscape professionals become more fluent in the language used across jurisdictions and in doing so expand their business opportunities."
While developed for the CBLP program, the team plans to get the document peer reviewed and published as a regional Extension document.
For more information on the program and the training calendar, visit the Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional (CBLP) Certification Program webpage.
(Reprinted from the Jan. 30 Penn State Extension Watershed Winds newsletter. Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

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