By Michael Gutierrez
IrriGator blog is pleased to kick-off its spring/summer season with one of the high points of the spring calendar - UF/IFAS Urban Landscape Summit 2019! Focused on all things urban landscape, this year’s event spans two days and includes an optional Green Infrastructure Field Day preceding the summit for extension professionals. The UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology (CLCE) hosts the Urban Landscape Summit and Center Director Dr. Michael Dukes agreed to an interview with IrriGator to preview the event.
Do you feel there is a more defined theme to this year’s summit than previous years?
MD: Yes, that is the intention. We want the group to intentionally think about landscapes, influence of external forces such as water quality requirements (BMAPs/TMDLs). Specifically, how are external forces going to shape future Florida landscapes?
The structure of the event has changed this year with an emphasis on more presenters and no keynote speaker. Can you give us some insight into this decision-making?
MD: The first day will start with state of the art presentations summarizing research on landscape issues including turfgrass nutrient requirements, water requirements, and breeding as well as soil amendments and water quality associated with urban areas.These presentations will then lead into a panel of external stakeholders that will discuss forces that could change current landscapes into what will become future landscapes. Given the recent red tides and harmful algae blooms, these topics are extremely timely!
There is a lot of great research slated for presentation on both days of the summit. Any highlights you’re excited about?
MD: I’m excited to hear the updates I mentioned above and in particular to hear from the panel. How do we collectively envision future landscapes? What are the implications for the industry and ultimately the public? This summit will go beyond presentations as in previous summits and will serve to synthesize what we know and help us chart a path for future research priorities.
There is still some time left to register. What would you tell a green industry or extension professional on the fence about attending this year’s summit?
MD: Register!! If you want to get a view on the thinking of the people that are closest to the cutting edge research and those closest to policy concerning landscapes in Florida you will not be disappointed!
Is this summit one of CLCE’s final events considering the recent announcement of the Center for Land Use Efficiency’s creation? Can we expect a continuation of the summit or events like it in 2020/the future?MD: CLCE will still exist! The formation of CLUE will serve to link existing programs such as CLCE, PREC, and Ag BMPs. The summit has been a key event for our urban landscape programs and will continue.
The 2019 UF/IFAS Urban Landscape Summit takes place March 20 - 21, 2019 in Gainesville, FL. Register here.