AOLCP October 2010 News
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Corridors to Sustainability: Designing With the Natural Context 


2010 NOFA OLC Annual Gathering  -  December 7th, UCONN campus, Storrs, CT

 Keynote Speaker: Doug Tallamy


This Annual Gathering will explore biodiversity related to our role as landcare professionals.  Join us for this  year's outstanding line-up of speakers.

Many of us have heard Doug Tallamy's talk on "Bringing Nature Home" and understand the importance of using native plants to increase and support biodiversity.  Join us for Tallamy's take on how to create biodiverse, beautiful and socially acceptable landscapes. Hear research conservationist, Dr. Michael Klemens, speak about maintaining and enhancing opportunities for wildlife through informed landscaping and how to and promote ecological resiliency and Carolyn Summers, author of Designing Gardens With Flora Of The American East on how native plants form the basis of the food web. Catherine Zimmerman, author of Urban and Suburban Meadows, will also speak on creating meadows and how to get the word out on organic.  We are also thrilled to have entomologist, Kim Stoner, one of the founders and former chair of the OLC Program, speak to us about pollinators and the landscape.

This is NOFA OLC's largest event of the year and is a great way to meet up with old classmates and meet newer Accredited Professionals. 

Course cost with the early registration discount is $75 for AOLCPs.  This is the last NOFA course offering before the reaccreditation deadline.  This is also the only course offered in 2010 that can be applied to your 2012 accreditation.

Interested in exhibiting or becoming a sponsor of the event?  Contact John Weedon at

Online information and registration will be posted at the end of this week.
Register now by calling 203-888-5146

This course is worth 6 AOLCP credits


Have you been an Accredited Professional for 5years?  

Join us at the Annual Gathering to receive your 5 year Acorn   pin award!                                                                                                

 acorn 2010


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Reaccreditation Reminder. 
 All accredited Organic Land Care Professionals need to renew their accreditation on  an annual basis.
 AOLCPs, including those who were newly accredited in 2010,  must have proof of credits and payment postmarked by January 1, 2011, in order to reaccredit for 2011.  To reaccredit you need the following:
  1. A completed re-accreditation form with evidence of four hours of approved continuing education credits, signed off by course instructors OR evidence of two hours of teaching organic land care. Teaching credits must be approved in advance by the NOFA OLC Credit Subcommittee.
  2. A check for $100 made out to NOFA OLC.
  3. Mail check to: NOFA OLC, PO Box 164 Stevenson, CT 06491
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Clara - Accreditation Manager, at 203-888-5146, or email at
The benefits that you receive by being an accredited professional:
  A respected credential to use with potential clients, employers, and others that shows you have been educated to the highest standards available by the leading U.S. organization in organic landscaping.
  Flexible personal and business listings on the online searchable AOLCP database.
  Listing in the online and print versions of the annual NOFA Guide to Organic Land Care.
  Use of the NOFA Organic Land Care logo, lawn signs and other promotional materials
  Discounts at NOFA OLC courses.
  Satisfaction of working to improve the health of the planet and its creatures.
  Support of an organization whose mission is to promote organic lawns, gardens and landscapes in the U.S., and who provides professionals and the public access to cutting edge science, education and outreach.
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Good Customer Service

Our office received an email from a homeowner that attended one of our Homeowner's Workshops, the homeowner told us that she used the OLC Guide to find a couple of organic land care professionals in her area. Her email also stated that she had difficulty reaching people, and getting calls returned.


To maintain and grow your customer base, visit this site for helpful tips on customer service.

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Out and About -  Ginger Wells-Kay 

 From DDT to "Do No Harm" 
 By Kathy Litchfield

 Every Friday night, in the tiny western NY town of her childhood, Ginger Wells-   Kay's yard was sprayed with DDT so that her family could enjoy the weekend pest-free. The spraying was a perk of her mother's position as vice president of an agricultural equipment company that manufactured crop dusters.

On the flip side, she grew up with a deep interest in plants, nature and art, and spent long days with her father and sister at a nearby Indian reservation where they'd look for wildflowers, admire young dogwoods and hike in the woods and fields.

          "It was not lost on me that my education was paid for by the manufacture of machines spraying not only DDT, but also defoliant in Vietnam - a war I protested in college," said Wells-Kay (AOLCP from MA course, '04). "It was all very ironic."

Wells-Kay said of reading Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" in her freshman year at George Washington University: "It was a turning point for me. I made what became a lifelong commitment to working towards a healthier environment in many ways, my gardening business being one of them."

For 24 years Wells-Kay worked as an art therapist, clinical social worker, decorative painter and muralist before starting her organic gardening business, Garden Artisans LLC, in 2000. She has grown her business from one to six employees. Garden Artisans initially provided conventional, plant-oriented garden design and organic maintenance services; it has grown to incorporate many tenets of organic land care including use of native plants, storm water management, care of the soil, and a focus on client education. 

"When I started out, if a client asked me to cut down the back woods to create a sun garden, I would do so, carefully using organic methods but missing the big picture," she said. "Now I suggest alternatives, such as 'Why not create a shade garden instead, expose the trunks of trees to be seen from the house, think about animal habitats, consider how much less water will be needed and so on. People are often easily turned around when they see what you see."

A big "a-ha" moment came following the NOFA 5-day accreditation course.

"One of the first things taught was to "Do No Harm".  I had never thought of landscaping as a profession rising to this level of professional conduct. It really struck me how important this is as we carry out our work. It was eye opening and memorable," she said.

           Garden Artisians is a home business; Wells-Kay says her property often looks like a nursery overflowing with plants and pallets of materials. She presently has 43 gardens to care for, most of which she has designed. That is a number she's happy to report is back on the increase, following the economic downturn.

Many of her clients are interested in organics and pleased to have organic methods used on their properties until a problem occurs, she said. "If their roses are being eaten by something and they see the neighbor's roses looking healthy, they want to reach for the chemicals," she said, noting the importance of educating clients without sounding preachy.

"One of our current goals is to increase the educational component of our work.  Teaching about shoreline protection reg's and convincing clients that organic gardening and chemical lawn services do not mix are examples. We have our work cut out for us!" she said.

Wells-Kay has been a UNH Master Gardener since 1999; served on her town's Conservation Commission; is founder and chair of Belmont Citizens for the Environment (biosolids regulation was their first issue); and is a member of Sustainable Sustenance, a local organization promoting sustainable agriculture, energy use, and localism.

She lives in Belmont with her husband, Corgi and cat. When she's not landscaping, Wells-Kay enjoys kayaking and poetry. She believes there is a need for an organic land care education program in New Hampshire and has talked with AOLCP Lauren Chase-Rowell of the University of New Hampshire about this important project.

"Organic Land Care gives me the opportunity to actively do something about what I believe in and to teach others along the way," she said.

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AOLCPs in Action...

Dana K. Millar of Dana Designs, from West Kingston, RI is quoted as saying "Applying synthetic chemical fertilizers, is like taking vitamins without eating." Read the full interview in the Providence Journal.

Catherine Zimmerman was featured in a story on the Today Show "Your Life Calling". To view a segment of the story click here.

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Also of Interest...   

  Pesticide ban - See  article from a follow-up story on the July 1st, 2010 ban on synthetic pesticide use in Connecticut's preschools and kindergarten through eighth-grade school yards. 

  Facebook -  join us on Facebook. Robert Mercede, our Event and Outreach Coordinator, he has been busy updating our Facebook.  Please take a look...    Find us on Facebook      

  For Sale - Complete Compost Tea Application Setup.  It includes: Bobolator Compost Tea Brewer - good for 30-250 gallons of compost tea. 175 Gallon Imperial Poly Tank.  Honda GX160 engine, 5.5 horse.
Centrifugal Pump (best kind for Compost Tea).  300' coil of 1/2" spray hose on Hannay Hose Reel .
LawnJet Gun with 3/4" Fan spray nozzle.  All the fittings, hoses, and connectors needed.
Call Jeff Sullo at (203)931-5621 or email him at

  Birth defects - a study links Roundup to birth defects. To read more about the study click here.

  Connecticut's State Capitol is becoming a greener place - the project aims to reduce stormwater runoff along Capitol Avenue and Trinity Street while demonstrating to cities, towns, developers, and homeowners the value of "green" techniques. Read the  full story.

  Redesign competition - COG design invites entries on redesigning Embassy Park in downtown Waltham, MA .  Go to their  web site  for details.

 "Lawn care products face ban in NJ" -
  was the headline on a September 8, 2010 article.  "A bill in the [New Jersey] Legislature would limit the nitrogen in turf fertilizers to a level exceeded by nearly every product on the market. It also would regulate when and where fertilizer could be used."
 CT's list of endangered plants - the CT D.E.P. has published a list of endangered plants, threatened, and plants of 'special concern'.
  Have you noticed more poison ivy lately? - it could be due to an increase of carbon in the atmosphere. The Washington Post has an interesting article on the possible correlation between higher CO2 and poison ivy growing faster and bigger.


 Mummy Berry Disease of Blueberry -  for those of you that attended the Edible Landscaping with Fruit workshop, you might be interested in this article about Mummy   Berry Disease of Blueberry.  Please go to this site at the University of Connecticut.

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Current AOLCP Credit Opportunities

The following classes and events have been approved for OLC credits.  In order to see a complete description of an event and the number of credits that will be awarded for attendance please go to the credit opportunities page of our website.  When you click on an event title, a complete description, including time, place, registration information, and number of credits will open.

10/12/10 - Ornamental Woody Plants: Broadleaved Evergreens, Bronx, NY
10/14/10 - Working Cooperatively to Manage Invasive Plants, Storrs, CT
10/15/10 - Plants for Landscaping, Bronx, NY
10/15/10 - Introduction to Wetland Regulations, Bronx, NY
10/16/10 - Organic Greenhouse Methods, Bronx, NY
10/16/10 - Best Methods for Planting, CT
10/16/10 - Pond Plant Workshop, MA
10/19/10 - Sustainable Landscapes Conference, PA
10/19/10 - Native Woody Plants, NY
10/20/10 - Northeastern Native Plants in Our Landscapes, NY
10/20/10 - Dealing with Deer, NY
10/20/10 - Practical Pruning, MA
10/20/10 - Ornamental Woody Plants: Broadleaved Evergreens, Bronx, NY
10/21/10 - Plymouth Restoration Renewed Health for Two Rivers, MA
10/22/10 - The Art of Ecological Landscape Design and Management, Bronx, NY
10/30/10 - Tree Management, Bronx, NY
11/1/10 - UMass Extension's Green School, Milford, MA
11/2/10 - Winter Tree Identification, Bronx, NY
11/3/10 - Gardening with Stormwater, NY
11/5/10 - Woody Plant Identification and Natural History in Winter, NY
11/6/10 - Ornamental Woody Plants: Broadleaved Evergreens

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NOFA Standards Review  


The following excerpt on Principles of Organic Land Care can be found on page 5 of the NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care.





Manure is animal excrement that may be used as a nutrient amendment. A manure pile that has not been

aerobically composted is considered raw manure. Raw manure is rarely used directly in land care,

because it is difficult to handle and apply and is highly odiferous. However, manure is processed and

mixed with other materials in blended fertilizers. Manure can contain human pathogens, pesticides,

antibiotics, and growth hormones, therefore it must be completely composted before surface application.

Manure may also contain prions and/or arsenic, which are not eliminated by composting. Manure from

organic sources should not contain any of these substances. Any manure can contain high amounts of

weed seeds, most of which can be killed by composting at high temperature. Unless incorporated, into

the soil, the nitrogen in raw manure can volatilize and be lost into the atmosphere or be leached out by

surface water and become a pollutant. Only well-composted manure should be used within 120 days of

harvest on plants being grown for consumption, or not less than 90 days prior to the harvest of a plant

whose edible portion does not have direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles.




- Aerobically compost manure until it has the characteristics of finished, well-decomposed

compost as defined above in order to minimize the risk of survival of human pathogens

- If an in-vessel or aerated static pile system is used, see the National Organic Standards for

guidelines see:

- Fresh manure, dehydrated manure, and manure slurry may be used only if soil-incorporated

and applied more than 120 days before harvest of any crop for human consumption

- The amount of manure allowed per year should be determined by limits on nitrogen and

phosphorus (see sections under "Fertilizers and Soil Amendments")

NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care 25




- Application of raw manure in fall/winter without actively growing ground cover

- Raw manure applied on snow or frozen ground

- Raw manure applied on sandy, fast-draining soils in absence of ground cover

- Raw manure applied where human contact is probable, even if soil-incorporated

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