Thursday, April 17, 2014

Out & About with AOLCP Melissa Miles

by Kathy Litchfield

Employing “Common Sense” Principles for a More Positive, Permanent Future

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Melissa Miles shared one word when describing her first job out of college – “awful!”
An environmental engineer at an oil refinery, she spent hours after work freeing geese stuck in oil pits that weren't supposed to be left open and driving them to a bird rescue in Delaware.
“It was perhaps the best example of the worst we've done, but a really good experience for me to see that first hand,” said the Philly native who has dedicated her life’s work to permaculture design, ecological restoration, green building and environmental activism.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Composting really is fun! - by Jenna Messier

I have 3 compost bays in my back yard, the center bay is made of wood and the outside two bays were easily added with wire fencing and a few metal posts.  Honestly, it is extremely easy to make compost. Especially if you have little kids who waste a lot of food, their scraps always go to feed the worms and critters in the compost pile which makes me feel so much better!
3 bays for cycles of compost, boards will cover top to limit moisture

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Embracing Organic Land Care – One Design at a Time Roots…

 Part I:

Embracing Organic Land Care – One Design at a Time Roots…

By Michael McCleese, AOLCP

Twenty-five years ago I took a job on a landscape crew as an out of shape, burned out social worker.  It was a particularly hot summer and I’ll never forget what it was like hefting 24” balled and burlapped boxwoods out of a trailer onto a planting bed.  I was used to carrying a pager, talking on the telephone, and having long lunches with co-workers.  Landscaping was tough. The sun was brutally hot. The work was hard and physically demanding. Sweat and grime soaked my clothes and at the end of the day; I was really, truly hungry.  As the weeks passed, leathery calluses began to replace the blisters on my soft palms.  I noticed something else that summer while I dug holes and mulched and edged and planted. As the calluses got tougher and my body slimmer, I started seeing colors in the garden, not just green, but 40 kinds of green and 20 kinds of yellow and lavender and blue!  I began to notice venation in leaves and that some shrubs and trees had exfoliating bark on their limbs and trunks.  Then the big surprise, I started noticing shapes and textures and grade changes in the landscape. Amazing! A garden designer was born!

Out & About with AOLCP Mike Wallick

Out & About with AOLCPs

Award-Winning Organic Turfgrass at the University of Texas at Austin

by Kathy Litchfield

Mike Wallick
AUSTIN, TEXAS — Someone once asked Mike Wallick if he knew what an “expert” was. The answer he received was “someone more than 50 miles from home, with a briefcase.”

As West Campus Supervisor for Landscape Services at the University of Texas at Austin for the last seven years, Wallick knows that diplomas and degrees carry weight. His brand new NOFA accreditation (PA course, 2013) is increasing his credibility not only among his colleagues and superiors, but within the greater Austin community.

“Becoming accredited is the career accomplishment I am most proud of, as it reveals a holistic approach to the concept of ‘land care’ and outlines the program for us to align ourselves with the natural processes at work and/or help to restore those processes,” he said. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Action Alert for CT residents - Voice your support to extend the Ban on Pesticides at K-12th grade schools


Dear Friends,
CT NOFA is part of the CT Safegrounds Coalition. Today we are writing because we need your help.  Lawn pesticides are some of the most toxic chemicals used where people live, work, and play.  These chemicals are wreaking havoc on our health and the environment.  Children are among the most vulnerable when it comes to toxic chemical exposure, so we must do everything we can to protect them.
This year, there will be bills introduced to ban the use of toxic lawn pesticides at high schools, parks, playgrounds, municipal sports field and town greens where our children are being involuntarily exposed to toxic chemicals that are linked to cancer, birth defects, and are considered endocrine disrupters.  To read more about the dangers associated with toxic lawn pesticides click:
The power is in your hands.  We are asking you to call or email your representatives today and tell them to support legislation that would ban toxic lawn pesticides in all places where children play.  To find your representatives click:
Please state the following or put it into your own words and speak from the heart.
“Please support HB-5330 and SB-46.  I am very concerned about Connecticut’s children being exposed to toxic lawn pesticides and am very pleased that Connecticut now has a law prohibiting the use of toxic lawn pesticides at day care centers and school grounds with children through grade 8.  But why are our young people not protected in other places like high schools, parks, playgrounds, municipal sports fields and town greens where they are involuntarily exposed to these toxic chemicals?  Please support legislation to protect Connecticut’s children wherever they may be exposed to toxic lawn pesticides.”
Thank you for all you do.  We have faith that the Connecticut legislature will do what is best for the citizens of Connecticut, but we need to make sure they know what we want.  Call or write your legislator today.  Together we CAN make a difference!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Out & About with AOLCPs - Swimmable & Fishable by 2020

Out & About with AOLCPs

Swimmable & Fishable by 2020
Two AOLCPs Help Restore the River One Neighborhood at a Time
By Kathy Litchfield

PORTSMOUTH, VA – Reducing lawn fertilizers is one of seven specific things homeowners agree to do when they become a “River Star Home” through The Elizabeth River Project, and it’s one that’s close to the heart of NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professional (AOLCP) Terri Foss.

“I live on the river and have always been environmentally aware,” said Foss, who works hands-on with riverside dwelling homeowners, taking soil tests and educating them about choosing organic lawn care practices through the River Star Homes Program.

“I feel like I’m doing my part to contribute to the bigger picture of a cleaner, healthier river, that I live and work on. We’re having a lot of success and that makes me feel good,” said the former director of gardens and grounds for the Hermitage Foundation Museum in Norfolk, Va., an 11-acre site surrounded by the Lafayette River – a branch of the Elizabeth River.

2013 Annual Gathering Report

2013 Annual Gathering Report

The Annual Gathering was a success on December 11th in Southbury, CT.  175 people gathered to hear current topics in organic land care and to share their experiences with each other from the 2013 landscaping season.  An organic lunch was served with vegetables from New England farms and exhibitors shared information on organic fertilizers, power equipment, nursery stock and more.

Trevor Smith
Trevor Smith started the day off with Green Infrastructure; clearly demonstrating how a small landscaping business can offer permeable driveways, green roofs, and other rainwater catchment systems. Trevor is also very passionate about urban horticulture and increasing the growing space in small spaces with living walls and other systems such as woolly pockets, which hang on the walls and let you plant small herbs and vegetables - perfect for kids. Trevor is the President of Ecological Landscaping Association (ELA), and he will be giving more workshops on these topics throughout the year at ELA programs.
Dr. Jessica Lubell