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Widening the Circle of Influence. From information to behavior change to societal change. Common Sense Gardening Program. Program began in 1991 as part of Thurston County’s Hazardous Waste Program.

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widening the circle of influence

Widening the Circle of Influence

From information to behavior change to societal change

common sense gardening program
Common Sense Gardening Program
  • Program began in 1991 as part of Thurston County’s Hazardous Waste Program.
  • Common Sense Gardening quickly became a cooperative, co-funded program because the recommendations protect
  • Initial audience was gardeners interested in changing to less-toxic gardening approaches.
  • Next audiences were gardeners and folks interested in their landscape.
  • Secondary audience has always included retailers.
informational materials
Informational Materials
  • Common Sense Gardening Guides
  • Plant signs in nurseries
  • Point of Purchase signs on less-toxic products (discontinued)
  • Fact Sheets
  • Display
  • Web Page
personal outreach
Personal Outreach
  • Garden Rhapsodies Tour
  • Workshops
  • Phone Help Line
  • Training: Master Gardeners, Master Recyclers, Real Estate Professionals
  • Pesticide-Free Neighborhood
garden rhapsodies tour
Garden Rhapsodies Tour
  • Attendance between 500-800
  • Big visibility, news event
  • Helps set Common Sense Gardening as the community norm
  • About 100 community volunteers participate each year
  • Unexpected partnerships have developed
media campaigns
Media Campaigns
  • Natural Lawn Care
  • Think Weed and Feed is Safe? (most response from any media campaign)
  • Diazinon
  • CCA treated wood

In 2003 we conducted an evaluation of the program. Included was both a random telephone survey of 400 county residents and a phone survey of 100 past participants of workshops or the garden tour.

highlighted survey results
Highlighted Survey Results
  • Almost one-third (30%) of Thurston County residents have read a Common Sense Gardening guide. This is over 90% of those who have picked one up and taken it home.
  • 66% of those who read a guide report having changed their lawn or gardening practices because of what they read.
  • The most frequently mentioned change (40%) was using less chemicals or safer alternatives.
highlighted survey results1
Highlighted Survey Results
  • 94% of people who attended a Common Sense Gardening workshop used the information they learned. (12% reported attending a CSG workshop over the last 10 years)
  • When asked about specific behaviors ranging from lawn care to composting to the choice and placement of plants, program participants differ in a statistically significant way to non-participants.
  • 30% of the residents said it was hard to find less-hazardous lawn & garden care products in the store.
next audiences
Next Audiences
  • Folks uninterested in lawn and garden maintenance – “just another weekend chore.”
  • Retailers, distributors & suppliers.
  • Satisfied pesticide users.
market transformation
Market Transformation
  • Research barriers and opportunities
  • NW Natural Yard Days
  • Retail Staff Training
  • Supporting retailers as they make changes
Examining lessons learned from energy conservation programs
  • Looking at business strategies to increase market share
  • Looking for new partnerships
role of regulation
Role of Regulation
  • A report was published in 2004 called: The Impact of By-Laws and Public Education Programs on Reducing the Cosmetic / Non-Essential, Residential Use of Pesticides: A Best Practices Review by the Canadian Centre for Pollution Prevention and Cullbridge Marketing and Communications.
  • It reviewed of the impact of education programs and regulations on pesticide reduction and found that…
“Only those communities that passed a by-law and supported it with education or made a community agreement were sucessful in reducing the use of pesticides by a high degree (51-90%). Education and outreach programs alone, while more popular than by-laws, are far less effective. We could find none that have achieved more than a low reduction (10-24%) in pesticide use to date.”
current county regulations
Current County Regulations
  • Integrated Pest Management Plans are required for certain land use projects located in a Category I or II Aquifer Recharge Area located in areas where drinking water sources are vulnerable to contamination.

IPM plans are required for:

1) Subdivisions of 10 lots or greater (excluding large lots).

2) Any land use project that incorporates maintained open space areas totaling more than five acres.

    • All land use projects located within a delineated well head capture zone for a group A public water supply.
  • Secondary Containment requirements for businesses but not retailers.
quebec regulations on use of pesticides
Quebec regulations on use of pesticides
  • It is prohibited to apply the pesticides (active ingredients) mentioned in Schedule I of the Code on the lawns of public, parapublic or municipal property, and on land where activities for children under 14 years of age are held, except on the following:
  • lawns of property used only for sports purposes by persons older than 14 years of age and that are fenced-in and equipped with a watering system;
  • golf courses;
  • lawns of nurseries and seed orchards;
  • unused parts of street rights-of-way.
quebec regulations on sales of pesticides
Quebec regulations on sales of pesticides
  • Regulations for retail sales
  • Retail sales outlets will have to modify how they shelve and display pesticides so that customers can no longer serve themselves. In addition all products listed in Schedule I of the Code and intended for domestic use must be taken off the market.
  • Ordinary citizens will gradually have to change their consumer habits:
  • by using fertilizers that are neither mixed nor impregnated with pesticides, as of April 2004;
  • by obtaining certain pesticides intended for domestic use from a certified vendor, as of April 2005;
  • by using low-risk pesticides to combat or control lawn pests, as of April 2006.
prohibited active ingredients schedule i of the pesticides management code
Prohibited active ingredients (Schedule I of the Pesticides Management Code)
  • InsecticidesCarbarylDicofolMalathion
  • FungicidesBenomylCaptanChlorothalonilIprodioneQuintozeneThiophanate-methyl
prohibited active ingredients schedule i of the pesticides management code1
Prohibited active ingredients (Schedule I of the Pesticides Management Code)

Herbicides2,4-D (present as sodium salt)2,4-D (present as ester)2,4-D (present as acid)2,4-D (present as amine salt)Chlorthal-dimethylMCPA (present as ester)MCPA (present as amine salt)MCPA (present as potassium or sodium salt)Mecoprop (present as acid)Mecoprop (present as amine salt)Mecoprop (present as potassium or sodium salt)

books and reports
Books and Reports
  • Social Marketing: Improving the Quality of Life by Kotler, Roberto, Lee. Sage Publications, Inc. 2002.
  • Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing by McKenzie-Mohr, Smith. New Society Publishers, 1999
  • Making Health Communication Programs Work: A Planner’s Guide. U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services, National Cancer Institute 2001. (available free:
  • The Impact of By-Laws and Public Education Programs on Reducing the Cosmetic / Non-Essential, Residential Use of Pesticides: A Best Practices Review. The Canadian Centre for Pollution Prevention, Cullbridge Marketing and Communications. 2004.
  • Lots of useful, easy-to-use information about social marketing, including case studies and a planning guide.
  • Provides an overview of education and social marketing tools. Includes reports of barriers and opportunities research.
  • A health education clearinghouse with information on tools that also apply to non-health outreach projects.
  • Quebec’s pesticide management code explained.
Jane Mountjoy-Venning

Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department

Environmental Health Division

2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW

Olympia, WA 98502

(360) 754-4111, x7623

[email protected]