Offers District residents assistance with living in greater harmony with the urban environment through such programs as Master Gardening, as well as programs that provide continued professional education to meet licensing and certification requirements for pesticide applicators, water quality technicians and horticulturists.
Environment & Natural Resources and the Institute for Urban Agriculture offer the following, to help improve District residents' quality of life:
- DC Master Gardener Program
The D.C. Master Gardener Program, a component of the University of the District of Columbia Cooperative Extension Service's Environmental and Natural Resources Program, meets the interest in gardening and related areas of horticulture in the District of Columbia, indeed in the urban environment. District residents are trained by Extension horticulturists and other specialists in plant sciences. The Master Gardener program is open to District residents. It includes a 50 hour internship requirement designed to provide individual students with the opportunity to exchange volunteerism with training by professional gardeners. Once training and the 50 hour internship requirement are successfully completed program participants earn national recognition as qualified Master Gardeners and they are issued a Qualified Master Gardener Certificate.
- Soil Testing
The University of the District of Columbia's Environmental Quality Testing Laboratory will be able to service soil sampling needs in the near future.
- Urban Gardening and Forestry Outreach
The Urban Gardening and Forestry Outreach program provides District residents with information about raising food gardens with special considerations given to the challenges and advantages of gardening in an urban setting. The forestry program relays the importance and many benefits of city trees and the natural resources they provide. Residents are educated about tree care, forestry niche crops and the invasive species that threaten the ecosystem. Outreach methods include education materials, demonstrations, technical assistance, site visits, phone consultations and workshops. Publication: Plant Invaders in the District of Columbia | Plant Invaderes II (2014)
- Water Quality Education
Water Quality Education and Monitoring will prepare and disseminate educational information to keep the residents of DC aware of the quality of their surface, ground and drinking water. The program will serve as an unbiased monitor of DC ground, surface and drinking water quality through a random sampling and testing process. A comparative analysis of results will provide confidence to homeowners for utilization of DC municipal water. The program has also initiated the establishment of an EPA Certified Water Quality Testing Lab in the Engineering Department of UDC. This lab will be used to train and certify Water Quality Lab Technicians and Waste Water Operators according to EPA standards.