County works with partners to offer free Earth Day Workshop on pesticide-free gardening

In celebration of Earth Day, Clackamas County Water Environment Services (WES), along with partners Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) and Oregon State University Extension Service, is offering “What in Carnation? A How-To Workshop for Organic Gardens and Landscapes” on Saturday, April 21, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Happy Valley Library located at 13793 S.E. Sieben Park Way, Happy Valley, OR 97015. Pre-registration is required due to limited space at www.pesticide.org/what_in_carnation or by calling 503-704-0327.

“WES encourages property owners, residents and businesses to minimize or eliminate pesticide and herbicide use in their landscaping in order to protect water quality.” said Gail Shaloum, WES’ Watershed Protection Program’s Technical Services Coordinator.

The workshop will offer pesticide-free approaches to gardening and landscaping and will cover practical steps to promote healthy soil, organic care for lawns, landscape beds and gardens, and pesticide-free methods to handle azalea lace bug, aphids, rose black spot, spotted wing drosophila, and other common challenges.

With thousands of property owners using pesticides on their yards each week, Sharon Selvaggio, the Healthy Wildlife and Water Program Director for NCAP, a nonprofit dedicated to ecologically sound alternatives to pesticides, is hoping that more area homeowners will commit to organic management techniques for lawn and garden care. “It adds up to enough chemical runoff to harm fish, bees, and even children and pets,” said Selvaggio.

Weston Miller, who leads Oregon State University Extension’s Master Gardener Program in Clackamas County, will teach at the workshop, which will also feature interactive pest management problem-solving scenarios, demonstrations, and new resources for home pest management. 

The Clackamas River is the drinking water source for over 300,000 people. Using ecologically-sensitive techniques protects drinking water from chemicals that can pollute ground water and surface water runoff that enters local rivers and streams.  

This workshop was made possible through a WES RiverHealth Stewardship Program grant to support watershed restoration, education, and stewardship activities.

For more information, members of the media and public may contact WES’ Gari Johnson at gjohnson2@clackamas.us or 503-742-4631.