Monday, March 22, 2021

Penn State Becomes Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Consortium Partner

For the past few years an exciting and unique professional certification program has been becoming more widespread throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and now it is growing even more.

The Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional certification has a mission to teach designers, installers, and maintainers of green infrastructure and conservation landscaping how to apply adaptive management and critical thinking to their sustainability projects.

The relatively new program, which seeks to create a community of better stormwater partners and environmental stewards, was started by the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council and is guided by Consortium Partners and a steering committee of diverse stakeholders from across the Bay region. 

Penn State Extension and the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center have recently become Consortium Partners of CBLP, securing a permanent position on the Steering Committee and dedicating resources and support to the program. 

The other Consortium Partners include University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension, Wetlands Watch, and Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Habitat Partners.

Through engaging trainings and workshops, individuals can be certified through a Level 1 or Level 2 pathway. To date, CBLP has certified 664 Level 1 and 99 Level 2 professionals.

Level 1 is a baseline certification in design, installation, and maintenance of sustainable landscapes, emphasizing proper management of stormwater best management practices comprised of two half-day online sessions combined with an in-person field day, and is followed by an online exam. 

Allied professionals who work in government, nonprofits, and academia are encouraged to apply.

Level 2 is an advanced credential in design or installation, focusing on stormwater BMPs. CBLP's active learning program engages participants to develop critical thinking, problem- solving, and collaborative practice skills. 

This pathway focuses on the unique ecology and regulatory environment of the Bay region, but those outside of the watershed are welcome to apply.

The partnership between Penn State and CBLP is not new. Kristen Koch, Penn State AEC Program Manager, is one of only two certified CBLP Trainers based in Pennsylvania. 

Since the first class was taught in Pennsylvania four years ago, seven trainings have been held in Pennsylvania with over 50 practitioners becoming certified in that time. Additionally, Penn State Extension Educators have been involved in teaching Continuing Education field days and the AEC has provided sponsorships for the new CBLP Buffer certificate training.

Moving forward, Penn State will have a representative on the CBLP Steering Committee. The role will first be filled by Vincent Cotrone, Penn State Extension Urban Forester. 

Vinnie is excited to be more involved in the CBLP program and is eager in his new capacity to promote the trainings to green industry professionals across Pennsylvania. 

Interest in the certification is growing in the PA and both Penn State and CBLP are looking forward to expanding the training to new locations across the State. 

Vinnie says, "the skills needed to install and manage green infrastructure are very important, yet many landscape professionals are still unfamiliar with this program and best practices."

"We are so excited about having Penn State join our team as a CBLP Consortium Partner. This addition formalizes and recognizes the ongoing collaboration between Penn State and CBLP. We are looking forward to having Vinnie join the CBLP steering committee. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about stormwater that I know will be very helpful," said Beth Ginter, CBLP Coordinator and Executive Director of the CCLC.

In addition to the professional certifications, CBLP also offers certificate courses, advanced training workshops, and entry-level training for young people.

For more information on the program as well as instructions on how to apply, visit the Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional "Get Certified" webpage.

(Photo: Kristen Koch, Penn State Agriculture & Environment Center.)

(Reprinted from Penn State Extension Watershed Winds newsletterClick Here to sign up for your own copy.)

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[Posted: March 22, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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