URI to offer spring gardening, composting, invasive plant management training sessions

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KINGSTON, R.I. – February 12, 2013 – The University of Rhode Island’s Outreach Center will host several series of gardening and environmental training programs this spring designed to improve the knowledge and skills of beginning gardeners, homeowners, landscape professionals and environmental educators.

• A five-session Gardening Skills Workshop geared toward beginner and intermediate gardeners will introduce participants to propagation techniques for perennials, gardening tool selection and care, pruning shrubs and trees, and two sessions of vegetable gardening tips. Beginning March 23 and continuing the next four consecutive Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m., the program will be led by Rosanne Sherry, URI’s urban horticulture educator, and several URI Master Gardeners at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center in Providence.

• URI’s popular Master Composter Training will be offered in three evening classroom sessions and four Saturday field trips scheduled throughout the month of April. First offered in 2005, the program covers such topics as the importance and benefits of composting and recycling, how to create a home composting process, the science and art of composting, worm and innovative composting methods, and engaging communities to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill.

“Most people don’t realize that over 23 percent of what is sent to the state landfill is organic material that could be composted in our own backyards or at a centralized facility,” said Sejal Lanterman, the Outreach Center’s soil and compost educator and the Plant Pro on NBC 10. “Composting is cheaper for society and better for the environment. So we’re looking to train interested individuals to help us spread the word and get the job done.”

• For those who are already experienced composters, Lanterman will offer URI’s first Advanced Composting Series on March 21 and 28 at the Kingston campus, followed by a field trip on May 4. The program will include discussions of the chemistry and microbiology involved in effective composting as well as advanced practical tips for composting.

• Landscape professionals, environmental consultants, homeowners, educators and students interested in learning about habitat restoration through invasive plant management in coastal and upland areas are encouraged to attend the two-day Invasive Plant Management Training co-sponsored by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council. The all-day sessions on March 13 and 14 at the URI Kingston campus will cover such topics as the value of planted buffers, the ecology of invasive species, restorative planting techniques, site assessments, and CRMC rules and regulations. Successful completion of the certification part of the program earns participants a two-year state certification as an invasive plant manager, though participants may enroll on a non-certification basis as well.

For more details and costs for any of these programs or to register online, visit http://cels.uri.edu/outreach or call 401-874-2900.