Ten Southwest Florida counties, municipalities, and organizations have joined to engage and educate the citizens of Southwest Florida on the responsible use of fertilizer.
The unique consortium consists of Lee County, City of Sanibel, City of Bonita Springs, City of Fort Myers, Town of Fort Myers Beach, City of Cape Coral, Charlotte County, South Florida Water Management District, Sanibel & Captiva Chamber of Commerce, and Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.
"The purpose of the campaign is to provide information on how over-fertilization impacts our water quality, our quality of life and the local economy," said Larry Kiker, chairman of the Lee County Board of County Commissioners. "We want to encourage Southwest Florida citizens to limit the use of fertilizer or at least apply fertilizer properly."
As a result of perceived limited knowledge of the relationship between poor landscaping practices and degraded water in general, the campaign will inform and educate the public about how nutrient loading negatively affects waterways as well as compliance with applicable fertilizer ordinances.
To launch the multi-media campaign, a slime monster character was created to spread the word about importance of fertilizing properly.
"The slime monster symbolizes the effect of over-fertilization and runoff," said Kevin Ruane, mayor of the City of Sanibel. "Our consortium is committed to helping inform Southwest Florida on the dangers of 'feeding the monster.'"
To help publicize the program and message to "don't feed the monster," the partnership is utilizing broadcast, print, and social media with in-store signage.
Organizing the consortium and raising funds for the outreach effort was led by Sanibel City Councilman Mick Denham who noted that he is pleased with this cooperative effort by all the counties, municipalities and nongovernmental agencies.
"I hope we can increase the members in the future which will enable us to continue to share this critical message," he said.
Kiker added that residents of Southwest Florida need to be smarter with the type of fertilizers they use on gardens and landscapes.
For community fertilizer regulations or additional information, visit www.FertilizeSmart.com.