|Ocean Friendly Gardens Activist Toolkit|
When you have gotten your OFG Sub-Committee capacity developed through sharing and posting information as well as conducting Lawn Patrols, you can scale up your work to sponsor an OFG Series or one of its components. The OFG Series template is made up of these components:
People who have attended OFG Basics Classes or participated in some other way in an OFG program have repeatedly expressed interest in wanting to attend hands-on events to learn by doing -- practicing on another person's garden to build their skills and confidence before starting on their own landscape. The Series provides both in-class and in-field opportunities to understand and experience the steps to creating a successful OFG.
Just as with putting on other Surfrider events, hosting an OFG Series requires volunteer time, staying on top of coordinating components and making sure there are enough funds at the start.
The OFG Series is typically taught by a landscape professional. Professionals will likely expect compensation for their time. This time includes preparing for and leading the Class, Workshop, Workday and Patrol. Other Series costs can include: room and audio-video equipment rental, handouts, food, etc. Based on experience in South California, a chapter can expect a Series to cost between $3-$5,000.
Putting on the first Series can take a good chunk of time, between choosing a professional, gathering materials and doing outreach. Coordination is key so that tasks get done and are achieved on time. So before getting started on a Series, a chapter will want to be sure they have sufficient volunteer time commitment and monies in the bank or are prepared to hold a fundraiser.
Surfrider has a Basics Class template of PowerPoint slides, posted on the Resource tab of the OFG Program page: www.surfrider.org/programs. The Class covers CPR principles and practices, weaving them into a six-step process for creating a successful OFG:
The class also covers OFG Series Program components.
In Appendix B, there are templates for Class slideshows, Class flyers, in-class "quizes" and resource handouts.
Surfrider was fortunate to kick off the OFG Program in Southern California with a sustainable landscape consortium (“G3” aka The Green Gardens Group, www.greengardensgroup.com) that was already teaching and practicing OFG principles and practices. G3 has developed a "Watershed Basics Class" curriculum and it is used by G3 teachers when teaching, under contract, for Surfrider chapters.Qualifications to teach may include but are not restricted to:
A step-by-step timeline and worksheet is provided in the Appendix. OFG volunteers and co-sponsors: Minimum 8 weeks out - Identify the site to hold the class and confirm what resources are provided by the site - e.g., audio/video (projector, screen for slideshow), chairs, tables – and what will need to be brought by the teacher(s).
G3 has developed Hands-On Workshops (HOWs), which are a professionally led, 3-4 hour advanced class with hands-on learning through either evaluating existing gardens or actually installing OFG components at an OFG installation. The 4 core HOWs include: Site Evaluation, Rain Water Harvesting and Sheet Mulching (remove turf, remediate soil), Plant and Irrigation, and Maintenance.
HOWs are a training ground in sustainable landscape and “green infrastructure” practices for Surfrider Chapter OFG leaders, do-it-yourselfers (DIY), landscape professionals and agency representatives. In order to cover the cost of the professional’s time, participants can be charged a marginal fee.
The HOW on the topic “Site Evaluation” is the one a Chapter OFG Committee would likely hold after conducting a Basics Class. The host site is typically chosen from one of the Class attendees that are ready to go (determined by what is written in the Class evaluation form and follow-up discussion). The site can also be a public or commercial site. Two important factors to consider:
This is an opportunity to train the Basics Class attendees, the chapter OFG Sub-Com’t members and any others (landscape professionals, non-profits, government) in how to evaluate a site as a first step to designing an OFG. This just requires a site (home or commercial and public space with a home-like building) with no or few improvements and has turf. Landscapes professionals like those at G3 may have developed a HOW: Site Evaluation worksheet that they use during this HOW to:
This HOW can help attendees go home and do it themselves or communicate with a professional they hire to use the HOW: Site Evaluation worksheet to do a similar type of evaluation at their own home.
OFG volunteers and co-sponsors:
In contrast to a HOW, the Garden Assistance Party (GAP) is more like a barn-raising. It is co-led by the applicant and chapters, with SF volunteers providing physical assistance in exchange for the applicant promoting themselves as a model for the neighborhood. In the Series model, the GAP is optimally held at the same location as the HOW. The GAP can also be done independently of a Series.
The concept here is to spark change in neighborhoods by helping those:
You and the host can use the GAP Agreement Form (Appendix D) to reach agreement on the responsibilities laid out for the host:
The host needs to prepare and fund a budget for items that may not be provided by GAP volunteers:
Applicants must use the GAP Questionnaire (Appendix) to help determine how far along they are in meeting GAP Agreement requirements. A prep sheet (aka, GAP Questionnaire) and associated tasks/jobs is provided in Appendix D.
Surfrider Chapters can work with professionals to conduct the Program components. Here is a possible breakdown of tasks:
Spending Chapter monies demonstrates your seriousness to government agencies and water districts to step up and match it, and more. Surfrider has worked with our Southern California partner, G3, to develop a menu and price list of conducting an OFG Series. This can be useful in budgeting for working with professionals in your area to offer such services. (Note on Lawn Patrol – The first Patrol could be conducted by a professional to train future Patrol leaders, and that is why there is a cost associated with it. If you have a competent Patrol leader, then there should be no cost.)
You can seek co-sponsorships of a Series with a government agency, non-profit organization and/or private sector company. Co-sponsorship helps build bridges between chapters and others. It can also help create the political pressure and “political space” for water quality and supply agencies to step up and work with you. Staff within these entities may want to collaborate, and could benefit from you showing the value and public interest in OFG. If we are going to heal watersheds, we have to act like watersheds and make connections.
Outdoor recreation companies - like Patagonia - offer store-based grants that have funded OFG programming and projects.
People pay for all kinds of classes and workshops, e.g., adult or continuing education, professional development, etc. It has been written elsewhere that people tend to value a service more when they have to pay for it, whether in cash or with their time. Also, chapters have limited funds and charging a fee can help recoup costs of sponsoring an event or Series.
Chapters have charged attendees to individual Basics Classes and HOWs, and have charged a Series fee. A fee to a Class or HOW might be $15, and a Series fee might be $40. Chapters may charge extra for the OFG book, covering the remainder of the cost with Chapter funds. Other organizations also charge for events. For example, Bay Friendly Gardens Program in Northern California charged $50 for a HOW on sheet mulching.
Chapters can set up online payment accounts such as PayPal to make it easier to deal with money.
Your chapter might have an existing organizing model that works, so try that. There isn’t just one way to organize an OFG program. You can scale it to meet your capacity and interest. For example, other organizations use a Tupperware Party-like model to put on an event: the interested party has to demonstrate sufficient participation for a (OFG) representative to come to an event. An interested party can host a “mini OFG class” in the comfort of their own home if they gather a certain number of people – say 10-15. The OFG Sub-Committee would agree to provide them with a speaker and OFG materials.