Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Accreditation Course in Pennsylvania

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 roof of the Pennsylvania Energy Company (PECO) Building.

The class visits the PECO Green Roof - Notice how we are
"Changing The Game"!
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.

Julie Snell (PHS) introduces Altje Hoekstra to teach about
We were delighted to be joined by Dr. Elaine Ingham, Chief Scientist and renowned soil microbiologist at the Rodale Institute to share her expertise on soil fundamentals, soil biology, fertility, compost and compost tea.  We were lucky to be joined by a number of experts from the Philadelphia area including Altje Hoekstra and Michele Adams of Meliora Design, LLC who taught about hydrology and storm water management, Glen Abrams from the Philadelphia Water Department Office of Watersheds,  Scott Guiser from the Penn State Extension to teach about plant disease, Sarah Low from the USDA Forest Service to teach about invasive species and Suzanne Wainright-Evans, owner of Buglady Consulting. 

The class visits Logan Square, designed and maintained by
the  Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
On the last day of the course the group split into two for two separate 4 hour tracks. The first, taught by Chip Osborne was focused on turf care and maintenance and provided a detailed overview of establishing organic turf, fertilizers and amendments  maintenance, and how to create an organic turf management program for a property.  The second track was titled "Planting Considerations and Green Infrstructure in the Urban Environment" focused on planting considerations and green infrastructure.  Chris Woods, the Director of PHS’ Meadowbrook Farm taught about planting and placement of plants in urban areas.  Linda Walczak, a Program Manager at PHS and Michele Adams, Principal Engineer at Meliora Design taught about stormwater management case studies and examples of projects.  Nancy O’Donnell, a Director of Design at PHS led a site visit to Logan Square where PHS staff brought small groups around Logan Square to teach about the sustainable design of this beautiful public space.

A big thanks to all of our instructors, and to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Staff who were wonderful hosts, coordinators and instructors for the course! If all of this material looks interesting to you, you can sign up for the Accreditation Course in Connecticut! Even if you have to travel a ways we have a reduced block room rate to hopefully make it more affordable for you, visit for more information!