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2013 Upcoming Events

  • February 11-14: Three Rivers Community College, Norwich, CT
Click here to learn more and sign up.

Refer a Friend
If you refer a friend who signs up and attends the course, you will receive a $25 OLC credit that can be used toward future workshops and your accreditation. Just make sure they mention your name as the person who referred them when they register.

AOLCPs are welcome to attend the Connecticut Accreditation Course for a single day for credit. The course has been updated this year, and AOLCPs are encouraged to refer to our webpage to see if any new material interests them, especially the new specialized tracks: four hours on organic turf care and management with Chip Osborne or four hours of organic landscaping instruction about native plants, permaculture and edibles in the garden! The fee for a single day is $140 and includes morning coffee and lunch. Please call the office at 203-888-5146 to sign up for a single day, and take care of your credits for your 2014 Accreditation now.

NEW Organic Lawn Care Certificate Course

  • February 26: Three Rivers Community College, Norwich, CT
This course gives an introduction to organic lawn care and is only recommended for AOLCPs without experience with turf. The course will begin with two hours of environmental education co-taught by Judy Preston and Diba Khan-Bureau so you can learn about the state of water quality in your area, and how pesticides and excess fertilizers runoff into fresh and salt water creating algae blooms and pollution harmful to animal life. Chip Osborne will discuss soil testing to reduce excess nutrients, lawn cultural practices, addressing insects, weeds and diseases. Frank Crandall will teach marketing organic lawn care to customers.

Learn more about the LISFF grant and our Lawn Certificate Course here. Sign up for the NOFA Organic Lawn Care Certificate Course here.

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Advertise in the CT NOFA Farm and Food Guide

Boost your exposure to potential clients by advertising in the CT NOFA Farm and Food Guide. The Guide is put together in March, so reserve your ad space now. Each year CT NOFA prints and hands out 10,000 copies of the Guide. The events where copies are distributed attract consumers with specific interests in organic living, including landscaping and lawn care. Advertising in the Guide grants organic land care professionals with access to a large pool of organically minded potential clients in Connecticut and the surrounding region.

Do you live and work outside of Connecticut? There are some other ways you can advertise in NOFA chapter publications, and in MOFGA and PASA, that were talked about in the November edition of this newsletter. You can access that edition here.

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There's Still Time to Reaccredit for 2013!

Follow these steps to reaccredit for 2013:

  1. Make sure you have obtained at least 4 continuing education credits. You must have 4 in order to stay accredited in 2013. Not sure how many credits you have? Call us at 203.888.5146 or email us to find out. If you've attended events or taught classes in 2012 that are at least partially dedicated to organic land care, you can apply for credits. Apply for credits online here.
  2. Choose either the $75 Supporter or the $150 Business Tier for your reaccreditation. You can view the benefits of each tier here.
  3. Officially reaccredit. Online reaccreditation is fast and easy - click here for the form. You can pay for your reaccreditation over the phone, online, or by mailing us a check.

Questions? Call us at 203.888.5146 or email us for more information.

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A Full House at our Philadelphia Accreditation Course

Julie Snell (PHS) teaches about design of a large greenroof in Philadelphia
The week of January 14-17 was the Accreditation Course in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). The course is now in it's 12th year, and what better way to celebrate than heading to a new city and a new region! The classroom was pretty full as land care professionals from Pennsylvania to Kentucky to Alabama to Massachusetts came together to learn about Organic Land Care Practices. On the first day of the course the staff from Pennsylvania Horticultural Society brought us to a green roof PHS established on the Pennsylvania Energy Company (PECO) Building.

A number of NOFA's long time instructors traveled to Pennsylvania to teach about the Standards and provide insight on the history of the Program. Mike Nadeau of Plantscapes Inc. taught about site design, mulches and lawn alternatives. AOLCP and Annual Gathering speaker Bernadette Giblin provided the overview of organic principles and practices. Chip Osborne, founder and owner of Osborne Organics taught the introduction to turf, turf pest management and a new four-hour track about turf care. Frank Crandall of Frank Crandall's Horticultural Solutions and our Education Committee Chair taught about planting and plant care and how to operate an organic business. More>

A Testimonial from one of our Attendees
Thank you for the knowledge, experience, information, contacts and more that I received by participating in the NOFA Accreditation Course offered in PA. The course format and offerings were well planned and the speakers were excellent. The proximity of the lodging accommodations to the meeting place and airport was convenient. The healthy and to the extent possible organic meals were impressive and delicious. PHS was a very accommodating and gracious host. The course offerings, time invested and cost is an excellent value.
-Steve M.

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AOLCP Marketing

Spread the word about organic!

If you provide lawn care or landscaping, have your customers spread the word!

Stickers:

  • bumper stickers for $2 each and
  • 4" round stickers for bumpers, kids, or as giveaways to promote organics to customers for $1 each

Signage:

  • The New Lawn Signs are in! $5 each

These signs are an eye catching, flashy tool that you can use to promote organic lawn and garden management in your area.

Educational/ Promotional Books and Brochures:

  • We still have copies of our Introduction to Organic Lawn and Yards booklet for $5 each or $3 each when you buy 5 or more.
  • Brochures are $25 for a pack of 50

View all these products at our store here.

New** Advertising Templates for Business Members

Business members should have received an email displaying the 4 print and 3 web ad templates that are available for your use. Pick two print and one web ad that you'd like to use for your own marketing, and reply to the email with your current business contact information (business name, slogan if you have one, website, phone number, and email) and a copy of your logo, and we'll customize the ads you've chosen. This service is free as a part of the higher cost of being an AOLCP Business Member.

Want to take advantage of the OLC Program's marketing initiatives? It's not too late to reaccredit as a business member! Reaccredit online here, or call the office at 203.888.5146.

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Introducing Our New Guest Blogger

Bernadette Gilbin of Safeground Organic Landcare and presenter at our Annual Gathering last December, will be our newest contributor to the NOFA Organic Land Care Blog. Giblin, an AOLCP since 2005, is presently working with four municipal parks departments in Western Massachusetts, helping them transition a total of 12 acres of parks to organic management plans. She is partnering with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, with financial assistance from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Check out her new posts and leave comments if you feel so inclined!

Love our blog? Want a chance to get more involved?

We are now accepting guest articles to feature on the NOFA Organic land Care Program blog. If you have expertise and passion for organic land care issues, and experience with writing either on a blog or in another journalistic outlet, you can become a guest blogger for NOFA OLC! Interested? Send us an email detailing your relevant experience with writing and sustainable land care and, if our needs match, we'll set you up as either a one-time blogger, or a scheduled guest writer.

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In The News

Green Member of the Dutch Parliament, Rik Grashoff

In September 2011 a Green Member of the Dutch Parliament, Rik Grashoff, put forward a Parliamentary motion proposing a ban on the "commercial use" of Roundup outside agriculture. In the motion, Grashoff cited evidence presented in Earth Open Source's report, "Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?". This report revealed that industry's own studies carried out as long ago as the 1980s showed that glyphosate, Roundup's active ingredient, causes birth defects in laboratory animals. More>

New Connection Links Parkinson's Disease with Pesticide Exposure
Scientific evidence already has connected pesticide exposure with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease. Chemicals like paraquat, maneb, and ziram, commonly found in pesticides have been found in farmworkers and others living and working near the fields, and are tied to an increase in the disease. New research has identified another chemical from pesticides, benomyl, that is linked to Parkinson's. The toxic effects of benomyl are still found in the environment, even 10 years after the chemical was banned by the EPA. This chemical triggers a series of cellular events leading to Parkinson's. More>

Bumblebees Do Best Where There Is Less Pavement and More Floral Diversity
Landscapes with large amounts of paved roads and impervious construction have lower numbers of ground-nesting bumblebees, which are important native pollinators, a study from The University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Berkeley shows. The study suggests that management strategies that reduce the local use of pavement and increase natural habitat within the landscape could improve nesting opportunities for wild bees and help protect food supplies around the word. More>

Rain Garden App Puts UConn on Apple's Stage
The Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has developed UConn's first smart phone app that is designed for use by the general public. The smart phone Rain Garden app, now available from Apple's iTunes App Store, is intended for use by landscapers, contractors, and homeowners to assist in designing, installing, and maintaining rain gardens. More>

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Announcements

Marketing Sheep and Goats as a Land Care Option
Well-controlled browsing animals can accomplish land management goals without chemicals or machines. Sheep and goats can be used to control problem plants, including many invasive species. These agile animals can work on areas such as steep hillsides or very overgrown tracts that are difficult to manage using other means.Check out the ATTRA Newsletter here to learn more.

Help Wanted: Gardener / Land Care Associate
Mill River Collaborative, the non-profit city partner in the design, construction and maintenance of a World Class urban park in downtown Stamford, Ct is seeking a motivated, experienced Gardener to provide year round landscape care. Grounds include over three miles of riverbanks and nearly 28 acres of ornamental and restored natural areas. Two or more years of professional Horticulture experience and / or Certification in Horticulture, Organic land care or related field preferred. Must be a motivated team player and be willing to act as a park ambassador as well as lead volunteer teams in our active community park stewardship program. Must have experience in landscape equipment operation and care. Spanish language skills are a plus. Apply here.

Spring Bulk order now open!
Do you buy cover crop seed, fertilizers, mineral amendments, compost, potting soil, potato and allium seed? Would you like to save money on those items? If so, the bulk order might be perfect for you. Early in January, NOFA/Mass organizes a bulk order with popular suppliers for distribution at sites around MA/CT/RI. NOFA members receive a 10% discount, so consider becoming a member today! Learn more about the bulk order here.

Spring 2013 Environmental Issues Seminars
Classes run from 6-7:45 pm and will be held in room C101 on the Three Rivers Campus. Students taking classes for credit should arrive by 5:30 PM; noncredit students by 6 PM. Learn more about class dates and topics here.
Current AOLCP Credit Opportunities

The following classes and events have been approved for OLC credits. In order to see a complete description of an event and the number of credits that will be awarded for attendance, please go to the credit opportunities page of our website. When you click on an event title, a complete description, including time, place, registration information, and number of credits will open.

1/28/13 - Composting, Concord, NH
1/29/13 - Organic Turfgrass Management, New Brunswick, NJ
2/4/13 - Best Native Herbaceous Plants for New Hampshire, Concord, NH
2/7/13 - Natural Turf and Lawn Management Workshop, Pawcatuck, CT
2/8/13 - Natural Turf and Lawn Management Workshop, Pawcatuck, CT
2/11/13 - Best Native Woody Plants for New Hampshire, Concord, NH
2/12/13 - Reducing Pesticide Inputs and Exploring Organic Options for Sports Turf, New Brunswick, NJ
2/21/13 - GEM II Horticultural Business Seminar, Worcester, MA
3/4/13 - What is Permaculture?, Concord, NH
3/9/13 - Bionutrient Rich Crop Production - Session 1
12/31/13 - ONGOING - Natural Turf Pro DVD, Northeast

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NOFA Standards Review

It's getting near the time of year when we can start pruning some of our trees and shrubs. The following excerpt on pruning can be found on page 45 of the NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care.

The optimum time to prune living wood is when the plant's energy reserves are high. For most plants this is in late winter, before buds begin to swell. Pruning in late fall or early to midwinter can result in dieback and disease or insect problems because the dormant plant cannot seal off the wound created by the pruning cut. If pruning is necessary during the growing season, wait at least two weeks after the leaves have matured to allow the plant to make and store energy. When removing woody tissue, it is important to make a clean, smooth pruning cut in the proper location. The swollen area where a branch is joined to the plant at a crotch is called the branch bark collar. All pruning should be done outside this collar, leaving a short stub. Do not tip prune or "top" a plant. This practice only leads to disfigurement and weak plants. Much of the plant's energy for growth is stored in the tips and buds (symplast) and should be preserved as much as possible during pruning. When size reduction is necessary, it is healthier for the plant to remove an entire branch back to the main trunk or leader (drop crotch pruning) than it is to prune back the tips.

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