Texas Water Star Program workshop for urban water users set for Feb. 14By Katie Heinrich
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Texas Water Star Program will hold an Earth-Kind landscaping workshop Feb. 14, 2014, at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, 3310 N. New Braunfels, in San Antonio.
The workshop will focus on the primary fundamentals of Earth-Kind landscaping, said Jared Beaver, AgriLife Extension program coordinator for water and natural resources with the Texas Water Resources Institute and Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources. The program will include landscape water conservation through efficient irrigation systems, irrigation evaluations and auditing, using best management practices to improve plant selection and conserve water use reduction of landscape waste entering landfills, and landscaping for energy and water conservation.
“The Earth-Kind techniques that will be covered are research-proven and are designed to provide maximum garden and landscape enjoyment while showing how to preserve and protect the environment,” he said.
Bexar County AgriLife Extension Agent for Horticulture David Rodriguez will help lead this workshop, Beaver said.
The workshop is targeting recreational, public and residential landscape irrigators and contractors, ground maintenance personnel, retail nurseries and other users of urban water resources. “Although the green industry professionals are our target audience, there are many in the public who can also benefit from this workshop, so they are invited to participate,” Beaver said.
Participants can earn five Texas Commission on Environmental Quality licensed irrigator continuing education units or six Texas Nursery Landscape Association continuing education units.
Registration is $50 in advance or $60 at the door on the day of the workshop. For more information, contact Angel Torres at 210.467.6575 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Texas Water Star Program is an AgriLife Extension umbrella program to manage existing efforts such as Earth-Kind®, Xeriscape™, Texas Smartscape®, WaterWise, YardSmart and Texas Water Smart in Texas’ seven major urban counties — Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Bend, Harris, Tarrant and Travis.
The goal of the program is to help increase resources and knowledge about conserving water in urban landscapes through educational and training events and ultimately to make every drop count because according to the state water plan, demand for municipal water is expected to increase 71.4 percent by 2060, Beaver said.
“Increased focus and resources to address current knowledge gaps, develop practices and recommendations that significantly enhance water conservation while reducing the risk of contamination in urban activities, particularly landscape irrigation, is necessary to the economy of Texas and gravely needed,” Beaver said.
“Therefore, the Texas Water Star Program is seeking new ways to improve water conservation throughout the state by establishing collaborative partnerships with groundwater conservation districts, green industry professionals, regional water planning groups, water districts and utilities, river authorities, school districts, home owners associations and various other entities and stakeholders.”
Beaver said the program in Bexar County hopes to reach more than 150 landscape professionals in recreational, public and residential urban landscape areas such as golf course and school ground keepers, turf grass managers and city and county park facility managers by the end of 2014.
The Bexar County Texas Water Star Program currently has activities and educational seminars planned through October 2014. Some of those activities include a sports athletic field education workshop, information about irrigation audits and demonstrations on water conservation in landscapes. For information about the upcoming Bexar County program activities, contact Beaver at JBeaver@ag.tamu.edu.
For more information about the Texas Water Star Program, contact Dr.Monty Dozier, AgriLife Extension south regional program director, at email@example.com; Marvin Ensor, AgriLife Extension west regional program director, at firstname.lastname@example.org and Dr. Ronald Woolley, AgriLife Extension east regional program director, at email@example.com.