Floridians are willing to do their part in conserving water, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Center for Public Issues Education (PIE) website.
In a survey, PIE Center researchers found that about 83 percent of residents rated water as a highly important issue in the state. Approximately 85 percent of Floridians reported that having enough water for cities, agriculture and freshwater resources is also of much importance, according to the website.
The Alachua County Extension Office offers free classes in Gainesville to learn how to become more environmentally friendly. People in neighboring counties can also sign up for the courses.
A class called “Converting to Florida-Friendly Landscape” was held Oct. 1 to teach locals how to create a landscape that is more efficient for Florida’s climate.
“Florida-friendly is a practice that tries to get people to take care of their landscape in an environmentally friendly way by reducing the amount of water and fertilizer they put out,” said Wendy Wilber, Environmental Horticulture Extension Agent.
Through these programs, Wilber explains the steps toward changing their environment, changing their landscape and using less water and less fertilizer.
“I try to do that by giving them the information, trying to do some inspiration, and trying to do a little bit of motivation,” said Wilber.
Besides the courses, Wilber writes a weekly article in The Gainesville Sun and is a personal consultant.
Jeffrey Jones, a creative director for an advertising company, moved to Gainesville two years ago. Jones says he has been wanting to do something in his yard that was Florida-friendly and low on water and maintenance.
“Water conservation is so important to me,” said Jones. “We are losing the volume of water we have had in the aquifers and rivers.”
Wilber said with some changes to the state’s irrigation system and with the amount of turf people have, water can be saved for future Floridans.
“You look at California right now, that is in a real crisis, and they are having to decide, should we water our lawns or should we water the farms?” Wilber said. “I hope Florida never gets to that.”
Russell Crowder, a retiree, wanted to learn what plants are native to Florida so that he’s not planting invasive plants.
“Everything I read says our water resources are growing shorter and shorter everyday,” Crowder said. “We gotta do something to turn that around.”
Editors Note: The featured photo was removed due to inaccurate information.
Coral ardesia was spelled incorrectly, and is a category 1 invasive
plant that is poisonous to livestock.