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OUTSTANDING River Friendly Yard Award

OUTSTANDING River Friendly Yard Award 2019 River Friendly Yard Award Contest Partners (Earth Works, Florida Native Plant Society Ixia and Paw Paw Chapters, DeBary and Twinflower Nurseries, UF/IFAS Florida Friendly Landscaping Program, and Volusia Water Alliance)

SHELLEY GILL: 2019 OUTSTANDING RIVER FRIENDLY YARD AWARD WINNER!


BILL BERTHET - 2019 FINALIST BEST YARD: WILDLIFE HABITAT 

COWFORD REALTY - 2019 FINALIST BEST YARD: SMALL BUSINESS 

2019 CONTEST

Annually, St. Johns RIVERKEEPER partners with local environmental nonprofits and native plant experts to recognize individuals or businesses that have implemented River Friendly landscaping and maintenance practices to reduce their impact upon the health of the St. Johns River and our environment. Eligible candidates for the Outstanding River Friendly Yard Award help to protect our waterways by using low-maintenance native plants, preventing stormwater runoff, and minimizing the use of irrigation, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. 

HOW TO ENTER
Residents and businesses should meet most of the River Friendly criteria based on the Florida Friendly Yards and Neighborhoods 9 principles.

  1. Submit a photo and statement about the yard to kelly@stjohnsriverkeeper.org, OR
  2. On social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) using the hashtag #SJRiverFriendlyYardAward.

Participants may nominate themselves, a neighbor, family member, or business.

PRIZES

  • Winner of the contest will receive a $500 gift card and a complimentary landscape analysis with a native landscape expert, compliments of Earth Works Jacksonville.
  • OUTSTANDING RIVER FRIENDLY YARD signage for your home.
  • A recognition photo session with leaders from St. Johns Riverkeeper, Florida Native Plant Society Ixia Chapter, and other native plant experts;
  • Coverage in the local news and in St. Johns Riverkeeper social media and communications.

DEADLINE AND JUDGING PROCESS
The contest runs from March 1, 2019 - April 22, 2019. The deadline to submit a photo and statement is Earth Day on April 22, 2019. Based on the information submitted, three finalists will be selected that best exemplify a commitment to River Friendly Yard practices.

WE'RE LOOKING FOR YARDS THAT USE RIVER FRIENDLY PRACTICES: 
Right Plant, Right Place – your plant selection should match the yard’s soil, light, water, and climatic conditions to create a drought-tolerant, low-maintenance yard. Landscape your yard with drought-tolerant plants and groundcover, including at least 50% or more native plants. Avoid invasive plants. Find the right plants for your yard at Florida Native Plant Society.

Water Efficiently – Follow your local irrigation ordinance and only water as needed. If your home has an in-ground irrigation system, ensure it is as efficient as possible by utilizing water efficient components and individual plant needs. Inspect and repair the system in accordance to changing weather patterns.

Use Fertilizer and Chemicals Sparingly – or not at all. Only use slow-release fertilizers (50% or more of Nitrogen is slow-release or water-insoluble) with little or no phosphorous to minimize runoff into the river or leaching into the groundwater. Adopt Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques to spot-treat, use natural products, and minimize the use of toxic chemicals.

Use Mulch – Mulch retains moisture, slows runoff, and controls weeds. Don’t use Cypress for mulch as the harvesting of cypress for mulch destroys living trees and important habitat for wildlife. Recycle your yard waste and leaves by using as mulch and compost.

Attract Birds and Bees – Use right plants to provide valuable habitat for birds, pollinators, beneficial insects and other wildlife.

Protect Waterfront - Maintain a 10’ buffer next to waterways or directly adjacent to impervious surfaces where chemicals and fertilizers are not used. Also, use berms or swales when feasible. Point downspouts toward yard/garden and away from driveways and sidewalks. Use permeable materials when possible for walkways, paths and patios. All of these practices can help reduce runoff that can pollute our waterways.

Benefits of a River Friendly Yard include:

  • Reduces the exposure of people, pets and wildlife to harmful chemicals.
  • Reduces nutrient pollution and helps prevent algal blooms and fish kills.
  • Provides important habitat for wildlife.
  • Conserves water.
  • Creates beautiful yards, while saving time and money by reducing the need for water, fertilizers, chemicals, and mowing.

Questions? Please contact Outreach Director Kelly Thompson at (904) 256-7614 or kelly@stjohnsriverkeeper.org

2019 RIVER FRIENDLY YARD AWARD CONTEST PARTNERS:  

Earth Works
Florida Friendly Landscaping Program
Florida Native Plant Society Ixia Chapter
Florida Native Plant Society Paw Paw Chapter
Twinflower Nursery
DeBary Nursery
Volusia Water Alliance

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