Friday, May 20, 2011

From the Be Floridian website:

“You could call us the Society for Preserving Florida for Boating, Fishing, and Drinks with Little Umbrellas. Be Floridian is calling on all Sunshine Staters to help protect what makes Florida so fun. Unless newcomers learn that the rules for yard work are a little different here, we will spoil the reason so many of us moved here in the first place.”

Be Floridian is a multimedia campaign to get the word out on how to maintain Florida yards in such a way as to protect our most valuable water resources.  Through the website, billboards, informational materials distributed at retail establishments, merchandise and more, Be Floridian provides a fun way to get educated on sustainable landscaping.  The campaign is splashed with these types of messages:

Enjoy Florida.  It’s where you live now.
Floridians know better than to fertilize during the summer.
Be Floridian.  Design your yard for the place you live now.

The program was born of the need to take urban fertilizer management up a notch.

Since 2007 when local governments began to pass strict urban fertilizer ordinances, it became apparent that the adoption of urban fertilizer ordinances is only the first step toward wise urban fertilizer management.  Unfortunately, most retailers in the communities where strong ordinances have been adopted have not voluntarily expelled the non-compliant products (those which do not meet the 50% SRN requirement) from their shelves; in addition, nitrogen and phosphorous products remain on the shelves during the summer rainy season application ban period.  Many clean clean water advocates have known for some time that a retail sales component would be the second step to take after a meaningful ordinance was in place.

In 2010, at the recommendation of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP), Pinellas County addressed the retail compliance problem by including restrictions on the sale of fertilizers to enforce the application, content and use portions of their ordinance.  In addition, Pinellas County has worked closely with TBEP staff to create the Be Floridian program to go along with their ordinance.

When you check out the website be sure to go to Yard 911- Emergency Help for Florida Yards – the advice they provide can turn your yard into a tool for preserving our Florida way of life.

Cris Costello