Vol 117 (2004): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Ornamental, Garden & Landscape

Maintaining and protecting the estuarine environment, an educational landscape management program for parks and recreation personnel

Edward A. Skvarch
University of Florida
Published December 1, 2004
  • turf management,
  • tree pruning,
  • irrigation,
  • pesticides,
  • fertilizers


St. Lucie County encompasses 588 square miles, contains three municipalities, and impacts over one hundred miles of estuarine environment, including the Indian River Lagoon and the Saint Lucie Estuary. Within these boundaries, there are three municipal golf courses, 57 recreational parks, 63 baseball fields, and 3 football stadiums all of which are managed by over 200 full time city and county Parks and Recreation landscape maintenance workers (St. Lucie County, City of Fort Pierce, City of Port St. Lucie). Throughout the year these employees have significant impact on the county estuarine environments through their daily landscape practices. These practices include pesticide and fertilizer applications, as well as irrigation management, turfgrass mowing and tree and shrub pruning. As a result, a six part educational training program was developed to assist parks and recreation workers to upgrade their landscape skills and knowledge. The classes for this program were conducted in 4-hour segments, twice a week for three weeks. Topics that were covered included: botany, entomology, ornamental and turfgrass management, pruning, irrigation management, and integrated pest management. The completion of the six-segment class was rewarded for some participants with a 3-5 percent pay increase.