Ocean Friendly Gardens, Basic Class
June 06 2013

OFG Principles Part of Classes To Reach 19 Million People in Southern California

by Paul Herzog

It was great news when Surfrider learned that Ocean Friendly Gardens program partner, G3/The Green Gardens Group, was awarded the contract to teach the "California Friendly Landscape Training" (residential class) for Metropolitan Water District and its member agencies throughout Southern California - that represent 19 million customers; talk about scaling up OFG! Then, we heard that G3 was given permission to re-write a curriculae that had largely focused on water supply, irrigation and plants, but would now integrate in water quality, preventing flooding, creating wildlife habitat, growing food, and more: essentially, OFG's princples of CPR - Conservation, Permeability and Retention!! (The garden shown in the slide, at right, is of an OFG that Surfrider volunteers helped create.

A dry-run of the Training delivered to the majority of the member agencies was well-received (pictured at left). It was cool to see that a sampling of possible handouts to be provided at Trainings emcompassed the DIY tools linked to on the OFG website.

Many of the agencies with which Surfrider chapter OFG programs have partnered had representatives present. Thier attendance demonstrated both the strength of the OFG standards (which G3 helped develop) and the value of developing relationships with agencies. Two agencies who sent reps and with which chapters are partners on grant-funded OFG programming - West Basin Municipal Water District and San Diego County Water Authority - are significant participants in MWD member meetings.

Teacher trainings by G3 has developed a strong contingent of solid communicators that are competent on the subject matter. In fact, South Bay Surfrider OFG Program Co-Chair and G3 Certified Professional, Beth Crosse, is one of those teachers. Beth did a super job in co-teaching the dry-run before the tough audience of knowledgeable agency reps.

Over the next year, close to 200 Trainings will be offered in regions covered by 9 of the 10 So Cal Surfrider chapters (excluding Santa Barbara County since they either rely on local water supplies and are outside of MWD's territory). Here are the agencies who have requested Trainings, grouped by Surfrider chapter region (inland-area agencies are in parenthesis):

  • San Diego County - San Diego County Water Authority
  • Orange County - Metropolitan Water District of Orange County (Santa Ana, Western MWD, Inland Empire MWD, Eastern MWD)
  • Los Angeles County - LADWP, West Basin MWD, Long Beach Water Dept., Santa Monica (Las Virgenes MWD, Central Basin MWD, City of Glendale, City of Pasadena, Three Valleys MWD (Pomona, Walnut Valley, Eastern San Gabriel Valley))
  • Ventura County - Calleguas Municipal Water District

Per the approval of the host agency, the Tranings are a great opportuntiy at which chapters can set up a table and/or provide an intro on Surfrider and OFG, as has been done in the West Basin-Surfrider grant-funded classes (there are tabling materials in the OFG Activist Toolkit). Chapters can reach out to the agencies and make a pitch. Surfrider's presence shows that the agencies want to partner with non-profits and reach a larger audience. Chapters can contact Surfrider's National OFG Coordinator, Paul Herzog, with any questions or ideas.