CSU Selected as New Partner for National Sustainable Landscaping Program

Colorado State University has been named the new institutional partner of Landscape For Life, a program that provides training in sustainable landscaping practices.

Developed in 2011 by the United States Botanic Garden and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin, Landscape For Life is based on the principles of the Sustainable Sites Initiatives.

The program will continue to be in partnership with USBG and will be delivered by CSU Extension, a division of CSU’s Office of Engagement and Extension.

“USBG is thrilled to partner with CSU to continue Landscape for Life and the important work of teaching people about sustainable home gardening,” said Susan Pell, USBG’s Acting Executive Director. “CSU’s commitment to sustainability through action and education makes it an excellent fit for this program. We look forward to working together to expand knowledge, access and resources for sustainable gardening practices across the country.

“We are proud to be a part of the program’s history and are pleased that CSU is fostering its future,” said Lee Clippard, executive director of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. “What started as an initiative to provide education on sustainable gardening practices has grown into an opportunity to inspire lasting impact and change.”

For over 10 years, Landscape For Life has provided resources and training opportunities for those interested in climate-resilient landscaping techniques for gardens, farms, or common areas of all sizes. While conventional gardens can go against nature, sustainable gardens support natural ecosystems and conserve resources. They improve the environment’s ability to clean air and water, reduce flooding, combat climate change, and provide other natural benefits that support life on earth.

Landscape For Life uses these benefits as central themes and areas of focus for the course curriculum. The program also teaches the fundamentals of Sustainable Site Initiatives, the nation’s first comprehensive rating system designed to distinguish sustainable landscapes and measure their performance.

CSU Extension assumed responsibility for the stewardship, management, growth, and ownership of the program in May 2022. The first charge of the new CSU-USBG partnership will be updating content to ensure the latest scientific research remain at the core of the program, followed by enhancing deep learning opportunities through accessible online programming and in-person training in Colorado.

Leveraging the institution’s experience and expertise in building scalable learning platforms, combined with strong national connections to the cooperative extension network, CSU plans to reach audiences at national scale. The program’s longer-term priority goals emphasize linguistic justice with an initiative to translate course content into Spanish, both in print and live.

“We are excited to continue the work started by USBG and the Wildflower Center, and to integrate CSU’s resources into this next phase of the program,” said Blake Naughton, vice president of the Office of Engagement and popularization of CSU. “Partnerships like this are fundamental to engagement where together we increase the value we deliver to individuals, industries and communities.”

To cater to different learning styles, personalized learning paths are being developed. The course modality will include options such as free online content, modular online courses, and customized, fee-based training delivered online or in person.

Depending on the learner’s desired outcomes and anticipated enrollment goals, course content will address two audience segments within the landscaping industry: those who install and maintain green spaces (landscape companies landscaping, municipal staff, owners/gardeners) and those who discover the landscapes. (landscape company clients, HOA boards, municipalities, homeowners/gardeners).

“We recognize that sustainable landscape education, to be most effective, should include different experiences based on how the individual interacts with landscapes,” Naughton said. “With CSU’s access to some of the nation’s top science and sustainability researchers and scholars, we will build on the existing curriculum and develop new modules that tailor the learning experience to consumers or providers.”

To learn more about Landscape For Life, explore the course curriculum, or find out how to get involved, visit landscapeforlife.colostate.edu.

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