The development of the Landscape Professional is led by Sarah White, Ph.D. and Dara Park, Ph.D. The initial offering for this course will be in 2015.
Landscape maintenance is a large, rapidly growing, and unregulated small business sector SC. Landscape contractors have the opportunity to manage landscapes in a manner that can protect our natural resources and improve the quality of stormwater runoff. Beyond a pesticides applicators license, no experience or training is currently required to manage and maintain landscapes in SC. A Lever Initiative grant was awarded to develop an online Environmental Landscape Certification Program to help landscape professionals meet client expectations and protect SC natural resources. A survey was conducted to identify stakeholder buy-in including content, cost, and preference on learning style. To increase adoption by contractors and technicians, specific strategic areas throughout SC were selected to spearhead the program. Stakeholder listening-sessions were conducted in March in Charleston, Florence and Greenville/Spartanburg to identify barriers to success, fine-tune logistics, and develop critical program content. Modules in development give detailed information on pertinent landscaping practices. This certification should help to increase the economic viability of the SC landscape industry while helping to protect natural resources.