TOXICS INFORMATION PROJECT (TIP)

P.O. Box 40441, Providence, RI 02940

Tel. 401-351-9193, E-Mail: TIP@toxicsinfo.org

Website:  www.toxicsinfo.org

(Lighting the Way to Less Toxic Living)

 

For Immediate Release, August 2, 2004

 

GARDENER OR NOT – THE LESS TOXIC LANDSCAPING CONTEST

COULD BE FOR YOU!

 

We all have a stake in less toxic surroundings.  Many are concerned about the use of lawn pesticides  - and feel good about the fact that they themselves don’t use them.  It would be nice if they were therefore safe from the health effects of such chemicals.  Unfortunately, we don’t live in non-toxic bubbles – we live in a world where we share the air and water with many others who don’t see things the way we do.  Especially, neighbors may be using lots of toxic chemicals on their property.  And they are likely to be quite touchy about any criticism of their lawn care practices.  Often as not, they don’t want to hear unpleasant or scary information about health consequences or environmental effects of pesticide use.  Yet, your children or pets are likely to wander onto the neighbor’s yard, or his spray can blow onto yours.  What to do?

 

There are no quick, simple answers.  However, this year, Providence-based Toxics Information Project (TIP) is running a “Less Toxic Landscaping” Campaign to educate people about the need to reduce the use of lawn chemicals and on healthier alternatives.  They have gotten a resolution supporting these goals endorsed by both houses of the General Assembly, and around 360 individuals have signed an LTL pledge.  They have offered LTL workshops at the RI Flower Show and at their own LTL Gardening Fair, and have brought their exhibit to environmental fairs and Earth Day events.  The goal this Spring and Summer is to come up with additional helpful, informative materials for passing along to neighbors, friends and family, to add to the TIP website, www.toxicsinfo.org  and to include in their upcoming LTL Resource Guide.  To this end, the just launched “Less Toxic Landscaping” Contest will invite Rhode Islanders of all ages to compete for prizes by addressing the three big questions about Less Toxic Landscaping:  WHAT is it?  HOW can it be done?  WHY care? 

 

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THE LESS TOXIC LANDSCAPING CONTEST

SUBMISSION CATEGORIES

 

 

ENTRY FORM AVAILABLE ON THE TIP WEBSITE: www.toxicsinfo.org

 

DEADLINE FOR CONTEST ENTRIES IS SEPTEMBER 15.

 

 

I.  WHAT? - EXAMPLES OF HEALTHY LANDSCAPE DESIGN

 

The WHAT question can be answered resoundingly with a photograph of your own beautiful lawn or garden, lovingly tended without harmful chemicals.  However, you can also just dream up a wonderful less toxic landscape design and send us a drawing of your concept.  Another way of showing what can be done with native plant species and/or healthier lawn types and methods is through building a model of one. 

 

A.     Photographs of actual attractive, interesting, healthy yards or gardens. 

B.     B.Drawings, models or descriptions of landscaping designs utilizing site specific planning and/or native species – that can be maintained without chemicals.

 

II.  HOW TO DO IT? - GARDENING TIPS

 

The HOW-TO category is really good for anyone who has ever gardened organically.  All you need is one little tip on something that you tried that worked for you.  To make it even easier, you could even piggyback on someone else’s wisdom – submit an idea that you got from someone else, or read somewhere.  If it makes sense, and seems practical, it could win.

 

A.     Descriptions of LTL gardening methods, problem solving and success stories.

B.     Photographs of your organic garden, with a brief comment on how it works.

 

III. “WHY LESS TOXIC LANDSCAPING?” MATERIALS

 

Finally, contestants can address the very important WHY? question.  In a sense, each of us committed to less toxic living knows a good answer to that.  Something convinced us of the importance of not using pesticides – what was it?  Information about environmental pollution, about human health effects, the illness or death of a beloved pet after going on the neighbor’s lawn?  This category actually focuses on aids to convince and convert the overly toxic. 

 

A.      Letters to the editor, to your neighbor or a government representative (State legislator, congressperson, mayor, town council) or just to us (TIP) about the environmental and health effects of lawn pesticide use, and the advantages of creative landscaping alternatives and organic gardening. 

B.     Posters or cartoons about the pitfalls of having a chemically based yard and/or the joys of a less toxic one.  Can focus on health effects of humans, especially children, or on pets and native animals or birds.

 

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THE CONTEST TIME LINE

 

AUGUST & SEPTEMBER:  Entry forms are being accepted.  Anyone who is not sure what you might do or has questions about a possible entry should call Liberty Goodwin, TIP Director, at 351-9193, or E-Mail:  LTL@toxicsinfo.org  It’s time to be completing Contest projects, whether gardening and lawn examples or “Why” materials! 

Judges will be looking over preliminary descriptions and some early entries to begin the evaluation process.  COMPLETED CONTEST ENTRIES SHOULD BE SUBMITTED BY SEPTEMBER 15.

 

OCTOBER:  The judging will be completed and prizes will be awarded at a special event tentatively planned for the first week in October.

 

Rhode Islanders of all ages are being encouraged to participate in the Contest.  Teachers can submit proposed lesson or activity plans about  the What, How or Why of Less Toxic Landscaping for consideration, without needing to have used them in the classroom.  Some of the best entries will be included in our upcoming Less Toxic Landscaping resource guide.  Decisions about prizes, judges, where and to hold the LTL Contest Awards ceremony are in process.  Some prizes are already confirmed, from the following donors: 

 

Recycle-A-BikeOne bicycle free, without 4 hour work requirement.  winner to

pick out bike at location.

E/The Environment MagazineThree subscriptions. 

Green Circle Design, Landscaping consultation - $75 one hour.

Landscape Architect Carol Julien.  .  Contained garden.

Ocean State Scuba - Two half-day single kayak rentals – 4 hours. 

RI Resource Recovery Corp. (RIRRC) – Free garden composter. 

Natura-Lawn of America  One full lawn program, including fertilizer applications,

value $139.90, and a soil test, value $24.95.

RI Solar Energy Association  Free membership, including quarterly newsletter. 

Frog & Toad.  Rope hammock! 

 

For more information, contact Liberty Goodwin,

Director, Toxics Information Project (TIP), 401-351-9193,

E—Mail:  LTL@toxicsinfo.org or go to www.toxicsinfo.org

and click on the “Less Toxic Landscaping Campaign” logo.

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