Teaching a homeowner class

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by OrganicsMaine, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    OK guys,

    I've decided to put together a little class through our community services program to teach people how to get their lawn on to an organic program (hopefully mine!) I won't be teaching it until March, but the deadline for the winter/early spring catalog is Nov. 1.

    I've got a couple of questions on this. First, how many sessions do you think it should be? I'm up in the air about how long to make this. Obviously, I will keep it pretty basic so as not to overwhelm people.

    On that last thought, how far do you think I should go with it? My thoughts are to first go over the basics of what an organic program is and what the difference is between an organic approach vs. synthetic. Then talk about what happens to the soil when it is treated synthetically over a long period of time and then into what the steps are for getting it back in shape.

    I will also talk about different weeds and how to control them. I can contact Paul Tukey and see about getting a deal on his book(he lives one town over from me) for the participants but I don't really want to promote Safelawns since they have a franchise nearby.

    I guess at this point what I really need to figure is how long I should make the course so that I can reserve the time and space for it.

    More questions to follow....!
  2. tadhussey

    tadhussey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    Paul's movie, "A Chemical Reaction" might be a good starting point too for getting people fired up to switch to organics. I think he only charges a dollar per person for public showings...

    Depending on the size of the class you could probably get a deal with Timber Press for Jeff's book.
  3. HayBay

    HayBay LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 846

    After listening to Paul Tukeys Movie, call a few of the Municipalities in Quebec and ask what pesticides are legal to use on lawns to this day. They will tell you Dicamba, Imadicloprid, Fenoxaprop-Ethyl and a bunch more.

    I do think you are very kind to help out in the community.
  4. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 795

    Is the movie about Quebec?
  5. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    1. Have fun

    2. Have more fun

    3. Keep it simple

    4. have a silly prize

    5. encourage seeding, seeding, seeding

    6. encourage back yard composting

    7. explain water management around the house including rain gardens and rain water storage for garden use

    8. I'll be back
  6. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Hey guys,

    We have already had a showing of Paul's movie in town, and it was shown to show how bad the chems can be. I'm not that educated nor do I have the time to get educated on the specifics of which chemical causes which ailment. What I want to do is work with the people to enable them to either do it themselves, or have my company come in and treat their lawns organically.

    My thoughts for the course outline:

    Day 1: Overview of organic lawn care. How to read a soil test and general fixes for the deficiencies shown. (1hr)

    Day 2: Steps that will be needed to fix the example soil test(provided by me) and a rough time frame to achieve full organics. Talk about the different composts that are available in our area and what to look for in compost. How to compost at home.

    Day 3: Different types of grasses and what they need. Talk about seeding when and how. Maintenance practices.

    Day 4: Long term maintenance of the lawn once it is organic. Prizes and gifts with my logo on them.

    I'll leave extra time each session for Q/A period.

  7. Keegan

    Keegan LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 614

    Who did you go through to teach the class? I contacted my local adult ed and no one returns calls.
  8. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Just our local community services...basically our rec. department. Being in a small town, its pretty easy to get stuff done.
  9. Hissing Cobra

    Hissing Cobra LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 705

    With all due respect, how can you teach a class on Organically grown lawns while focusing on the negative, damaging aspects of pesticide use if you do not know anything about them, nor have the time to learn about them?

    Over the years, I've read COUNTLESS articles in newspapers and magazines about the dangers of these pesticides, yet there's no hardcore evidence to support the claims. Just last week, I read an article on how ADD and ADHT is now being linked to pesticide use. In the article, it stated that Organophosphates are to blame for the dramatic increase in both of these sicknesses. However, they had no data to back these claims and did not post anything at all in regards to "proof". It was just a general statement to bolster their news article. As for Organophosphates, they are a very small type of pesticide and one in which most people do not use and haven't used for years. Yes, there is still some on the market but they play a very small role in pesticide use in the grand scheme of things.

    As with anything in life, there is a risk to using pesticides. If you mix them accordingly and use the necessary PPE when mixing and applying, the risk is dramatically reduced. Also, at the time of application, they're in diluted form and that lessens the risk as well. Most are designed to "wear off" within a certain amount of time and no longer carry the long residual timeframes that they once did.

    I like the fact that you want to teach a class but instead of focusing on the negative aspects of pesticides, I feel that you should be focusing on the positive aspects of Organically grown lawns. It's won't hurt to discuss pesticide use if you know all aspects and their results but if you choose to do so, make sure that you've done your homework beforehand.
  10. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    I appreciate your point, and as I said, I'm not going to focus on the movie because I don't have the time to get effectively educated on all of the details about pesticides and their negative effects.

    My plan is to simply pose the question "Why not do it organically if the results are comparable?" While I think both sides of this argument will greatly exaggerate their information when possible, I also feel that it is common sense to not use chemicals whenever possible.

    That is my approach, and I am finding that people are much more receptive to the organic argument without me force feeding them the horror stories.

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