3rd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Emily Ott
Session Name Posters - Social, Behavioral, and Economic Aspects of Nutrient Management
Category Social, behavioral, and economic aspects of nutrient Management
Poster Number 52
Author(s) Emily Ott,  University of Florida Agricultural Education and Communication, Extension Education (Presenting Author)
  Paul Monaghan,  University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology
  Jessica Kochert, University of Florida Agricultural Education and Communication, Extension Education
  Wendy Wilbur, Alachua County Cooperative Extension
  Stacie Greco, Alachua County Department of Environmental Protection
  Social Research for Water Conservation: Solutions for a Water-Wise Future
  A convenience sample of Alachua County residents exposed to Cooperative Extension landscaping programs were surveyed about their landscaping practices. Many respondents want yards that require less maintenance and use less water and chemicals than the standard yard. Additionally, 34% owned at least one rain barrel. Those respondents who owned a rain barrel were unique as they fertilized, watered, and used a landscaping service less frequently than non-owners. These results indicate rain barrel owners may be adopters of other conservation-based landscaping practices. Based on these survey results, rain barrel owners will be interviewed about their perceptions of the springs and their understanding of their personal landscaping practices on their watershed. This information will be compared with perceptions of springs and connectedness of yards to springs of high water users. I hypothesize that rain barrel owners constitute a unique target audience with specific needs that Extension can meet through its programming. The data from this study will be used by Extension to develop a water conservation social marketing campaign. Social science research is a vital piece of the water conservation puzzle. By identifying sympathetic audiences, assessing stakeholder perceptions, and creating programming that meets constituent needs, Extension can be an agent of change developing ecologically literate citizens.