Firewise Rest Area Gardens – A Creative Approach to Delivering the Firewise Message!

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Oct 20, 2010

http://nfpa.typepad.com/firewise/2010/10/finding-attention-windows-to-communicate-the-firewise-message.htmlhttp://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0133f538674c970b-piLast week, I blogged about finding unique opportunities to educate folks about Firewise when we have their attention.  I invited readers to consider successful examples, and I also want to share one from a recent trip to Michigan that highlights a creative approach to delivering the Firewise message.http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134885e5068970c-pi http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134885e511e970c-popup IMG_3086_jpg

In 2009, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) received a grant from the United States Forest Service (USFS) to create Firewise gardens at rest areas – that is, gardens which feature Firewise-friendly plants and employ other Firewise landscaping principles.  With the help of Michigan State University Extension (MSUE), three Firewise gardens were planted at rest areas in locations with high wildfire risk.  In fact, one rest area near Grayling experienced a wildfire last spring, underscoring the area’s flammability.  http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0133f53e7b19970b-popup http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134885e5467970c-popup

The Firewise rest area gardens target seasonal homeowners traveling to their weekend retreats.  Each garden wraps around the rest area building, and contains professional signage about the project’s significance. Firewise plants are clearly labeled, and other firewise landscaping principles are apparent, such as the rock border surrounding the building and the use of cocoa beans as a Firewise-friendly mulch. http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef013488584758970c-pi

The gardens are a wonderful example of capturing the public’s attention to educate them about wildfire hazard in their environment, and displaying Firewise solutions. The Firewise gardens also protect these structures from future wildfire damage.

-Molly Mowery