The 2020 Community Water Wise Awards, sponsored by Tampa Bay Water, were created to recognize individuals and businesses committed to conserving our water resources and protecting the environment by using Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) principles.
There are nine FFL principles; they include right plant right place; water efficiently, fertilize appropriately; mulch; attract wildlife; manage yard pests responsibly; recycle; reduce stormwater runoff; and protect the waterfront. Many of these principles are used as part of the landscape evaluation process for this award program.
The retention of existing trees and vegetation is evaluated, as are landscape design, utilization of mulch and plant selection. Stormwater runoff prevention and efficient irrigation techniques are reviewed, including the use of rain gardens, rainwater harvesting and functioning rain sensor devices. Winning landscapes balance attractive designs with plants, landscape elements and water efficient irrigation techniques that have a positive impact on our environment.
You can view photographs of past winners at awards.tampabaywaterwise.org and watch a short video that includes several of them. The deadline for entries has been extended to August 31, 2020, so there is plenty of time to complete an application. It takes approximately ten minutes to complete the application and submit online at the link mentioned above. Attaching a photo or two is helpful. On-site landscape evaluations will be scheduled and conducted in June, July and August with homeowners and business owners present. Winning entries will receive a handmade mosaic stepping stone for homeowners or a plaque option for businesses. If you have questions regarding the Community Water Wise Award program, call Lynn Barber, extension agent, at 813-744-5519 x54105.
For more information about the nine principles of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program or for assistance with gardening-related questions, contact the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County at 813-744-5519 and visit http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hillsborough/upcoming-events/ for upcoming workshops.
Lynn Barber is an extension agent at the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County who oversees the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program.