SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (SF Rec and Park), along with San Francisco Environment (SFE) and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), are taking steps to implement park operation policies and strategies to combat the challenges of climate change. The agencies have partnered with the Bay-Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition to provide SF Rec and Park staff training program that offers two tracks: Maintenance Training for Existing Landscapes and Design Training for New Landscapes, which are taught by industry experts in stormwater management, water conservation and irrigation, plant selection and care, soil health, and more.
“The Bay Friendly Certification Training Program helps SF Rec and Park to create a standard of excellence for sustainable practices in landscape design and maintenance throughout our park system,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. “We are thankful to have the support from SFE and SFPUC and the expertise from the Bay-Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition.”
Starting early September, 2014, The Bay-Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition will be conducting a monthly-long certification program that includes a series of weekly training specifically for SF Rec and Park. The trainings will equip the Department to implement sustainable park land management practices responding to the ecosystems found throughout the City’s park system due to the changing weather conditions associated with climate change. The Department’s managers and supervisors are required to complete the certification program and will receive professional certification in sustainable landscape design and maintenance practices once they have completed the program.
The first of the series is Soil Management, followed by Plant Material, Integrated Pest Management & Habitat, and Water Management.
“The great thing about Bay Friendly is that it gives public agencies the leverage to transform the landscape,” said Department of the Environment Director Deborah Raphael. “Because it is an independent certification, we know what we are getting: water conservation, pesticide reduction, biodiversity, improved soils and even recycling and energy use, in one package.”
“We support this innovative training program,” said Harlan L. Kelly, Jr., SFPUC General Manager, “and it is particularly critical as we are experiencing extreme drought conditions. The program’s focus on expanding expertise in water efficient planting and irrigation, stormwater management, and pollution prevention will facilitate the City’s effective management of its parks and outdoor areas.”
Bay-Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition is a California nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable landscaping and gardening practices in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Coalition encourages practices that reduce waste and pollution, conserve natural resources, and create vibrant landscapes and gardens. The primary goal of Bay-Friendly is to lessen the impact of conventional landscape practices on the environment by providing home gardeners, landscape professionals, and local governments with the knowledge and resources to create beautiful, healthy, and sustainable gardens and landscapes.
“The Bay-Friendly approach to landscaping provides many benefits: avoiding use of toxic chemicals which are detrimental to health and the environment, reducing water consumption, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and providing habitat for wildlife,” said Sarah Sutton, Board Chair, Bay-Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition. “Our trainings have been growing in popularity with both public and private-sector landscape professionals and we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.”