County Extension staff launches Neighborhood Best Practices online program

Assistance developed for homeowners associations and residents

Image courtesy Sarasota County

Sarasota County staff has launched a new educational series crafted “to help homeowners associations and residents with an array of challenges often encountered in neighborhoods, from stormwater management to wildlife interactions,” the county has announced.

Developed by the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension Sarasota County experts, “the free, online Neighborhood Best Practices series offers multiple self-help modules that address frequently asked questions and common misconceptions about managing common-area resources,” the release points out.

“Launching the Neighborhood Best Practices online program marks a significant step forward in our community’s access to education, offering resources and expertise to foster sustainable practices to enrich our neighborhoods,” said Ashley Ellis, Sarasota County Extension residential horticulture agent, in the release.

“Balancing resource management for community benefit and environmental protection — along with keeping costs in check — can be challenging for neighborhoods” because of various factors, the release notes. Those include “limited technical knowledge, differing opinions on strategies, changes in board leadership and even navigating regulations,” the release adds.

“The Neighborhood Best Practices educational series provides a valuable resource to help homeowners associations and residents alike work toward that balance,” the release continues. The series covers subject areas specific to living in a planned community, including the following, the release says:

  • Stormwater management.
  • Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM
  • Tree-care management.
  • Irrigation and fertilization.
  • Best practices for living near a preservation area.
  • Wildlife interactions.
  • Community gardening and composting.
  • Coastal systems.

“The self-paced modules provide participants with a deep understanding of various aspects of environmental and community management in Sarasota County and how these elements intertwine,” the release explains. “Participation in the program can help individuals and groups build and foster more sustainable, responsible neighborhoods.”

Further, the release points out, the Neighborhood Best Practices series allows individuals to obtain certification by completing all modules and assessments. However, persons may choose “a non-certification option by reviewing just those modules that best meet their needs,” the release adds.

Registration is available via

For more about the series, visit Learn Best Practices For My Neighborhood webpage, email, or call 311 (or, 941-861-5000 if outside Sarasota County), the release says.

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