The impact of stormwater runoff on the environment is a growing concern in Montgomery County and the Chesapeake Bay. Community engagement is a key component to mitigating this impact, and active, passionate individuals have the ability to inspire others to change their behavior. It is the intent of the DEP to influence social change by utilizing these individuals to integrate personal fulfillment through watershed protection activities to reduce stormwater pollution. This will results in achieving a stronger sense of community within the County, allowing all stakeholders to reap the benefits of cleaner, healthier watersheds. To achieve the desired social change, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection developed: 1) a "Good Neighbors" Workshop Series, 2) a Stakeholder Eco-Workshop, 3) a Culturally-Diverse Environmental Event and 4) a Sustainable Watershed Forum.


Behaviors: Reduction of impervious surface, Conservation landscaping

Behavior Pattern: Continous

Target Audiences

Audiences: Rowhome/town home/condo owners/renters, Detached single family homeowners/renters

Primary Audience: Detached single family homeowners/renters

Secondary Audience: Rowhome/town home/condo owners/renters

Demographics: Asia/pacificislander, Black or african american, Hispanic or latino, Native american or indian, Other, White

Ages: N/A

Description of Target Audience

Montgomery County- Based on a survey conducted in 2009, 33% of respondents indicated they were not American born citizens. The same percentage indicated they speak a language other than English in their home. The following percentages of demographics are based on a culmination of 3 studies completed from 2007-2010:

African American: 9-16%

Hispanic: 12-16%

Asian: 11-14%

White: 52-56%

This community awareness and engagement project targeted to all Montgomery County residents will be especially focused in identified impaired watersheds with densely populated areas of HOAs, minority groups, and diverse cultures. DEP has determined that engaging these traditionally underrepresented groups is essential to meeting the requirements in its MS4 permit. As DEP and its partners work together, they will determine how to script their message to reach these key communities to become involved in watershed protection. Once this strategy is formulated, tested and evaluated, these projects can be a model that can be transferred and replicated in other urban or suburban areas that are faced with heavy impacts from stormwater runoff. By holding these events and working with existing programs like Targeted Neighborhoods, more residents and community groups will become aware, understand and accept their role in the reduction of stormwater pollution, so that they can take ownership and feel proud that their actions improved and protected the vulnerable watersheds and ecosystems in which they live.

By identifying and forming a bond with the community outreach partners listed in this project, DEP has shown it intends to use the depth and diversity of the community to foster behavior change from within. Partnering with organizations that have a strong presence in the community like the Friends of Sligo Creek, and in cooperation with County Offices including Community Partnerships and Consumer Protection allows DEP to reach a specific demographic population that can then act as mentors to engage their constituency communities to participate in watershed protection activities.

Each aspect of this project is intended to continue after grant funding is exhausted to become a fixed staple in the community. The means for funding this effort in the future will be determined in the POSWP, to be included in future County financial budgets as part of the DEP workplan. Watershed groups often face challenges in increasing membership, self promotion and sustaining activity. The creation and continuation of a watershed forum will expose the groups more readily to the community envouraging membership growth, increasing activity and community participation. As the Good Neighbors workshiop series grows, it can easily be transferred to any count with similar environmental issues, community groups and demographics.


How did you research your audiences: Focus groups

Gaining insight into your target audience

Montgomery County has a history of fostering positive working relationships with community organizations. DEP believes the workshops and events will fortify these growing relationships and sprout new relationships that will prosper in the future. In addition to example provided above, known community activities include:

  • RainScapes for School Pilot program- Developed in 2009, a partnership was created to encourage acceptance of RainScapes techniques on school property to address stormwater runoff. A curriculum was developed through the horticulture and science programs and students are given the opportunity to grow native plants to be used in community rain gardens.
  • The local watershed groups have been installing numerous rain gardens on public and private property and recently have been holding family hiking days to introduce residents to the watershed.
  • Several partners have been discussing adopting a version of Anne Arundel County's Watershed Stewards Academy for Montgomery County to foster volunteer environmental capstone projects.
  • Trash, Road and Stream cleanups have been a staple in the community for a number of years throughout Montgomery County with the help of the Alice Ferguson Foundation, Adopt a Road program, Potomac and Patuxent River Keepers as well as the local watershed groups.

Some of these activities are known in the community but many are not, especially to minorities and residents in home owners associations. The proposed events intend to complement the existing programs by building awareness and enhancing participation utilizing the proven outreach partners and media tools.


Outreach Tactics: How-to-skills, Prompts, Social diffusion, Social norms

What media/communication channels did you use? Events, Newspaper, Online or other digital media, Small group or public meetings, Social media

Products and services

Forums and workshops have been an effective means to educate the public for many jurisdictions including Montgomery County. In Pennsylvania, Lancaster and Lebanon County have held a successful watershed forum for approximately six years involving over 20 watershed organization.s This event is anticipated by the local watershed group members and community as it has become a fixture in their area. The forum has grown every year it has been held from an initial 60 attendees to the nearly 200 residents that attend today. More locally in past years, the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) has held a watershed summit provide networking opportunities for the community and the watershed groups alike to "compare notes" pledge future partnerships and increase membership. Recent financial restrictions have prevented future development of this summit. The Montgomery County DEP intends to build on the AWS regional approach to create a similar forum for newly created watershed groups in the County and link them other members of the community.

Additionally, DEP's RainScapes training workshops have proven to be another great success in promoting DEP's mission. Demand for these training has become quite high to the point that a waiting list up to 40 people for single training can occur. In 2010, demand for more workshops has increased resulting in more offerings and public participation. DEP plans to model the proposed stakeholder workshops in the style of these successful training. Evaluations recently completed requesting feedback of past RainScapes participants indicated that roughly 82% of participants retained the information presented at the workshop and educated their neighbors or friends. Approximately 53% of the responding former attendees had adopted a water quality practice that was recommended at the training.

Adopting the proven techniques from the AWS and RainScapes workshop approaches are expected to enhance the success of the proposed events to achieve behavior change. DEP proposes the following events:

  • Create a Watershed Forum- Through creation of the Watershed Forum, individuals will be provided watershed awareness education packets to be used within the community as well as networking opportunities with members of fellow watershed groups and watershed conscious community groups in Montgomery County to share ideas, promote activities and inspire others to play an active role in their watershed to prevent stormwater runoff.
  • Create a Good Neighbors Workshop Series- Partner with the Office of Consumer Protection and Commission on Common OWnership of Communities (CCOC) on the importance of small-scale stormwater reduction practices and encourage adoption of such practices in their communities. Provide watershed awareness educational packets to Home Owners Associations and Civic organizations to harness the knowledge of how they can be a good neighbor to the environment around them while encouraging behavioral changes and participation in County environmental programs and initiatives.
  • Create a Realtors Eco-Workshop - Partner with and educate local realtors involved in the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors (GCAAR) Green Task Force to broadcast the message of watershed protection to their peers and highlight their role in promoting small scale stormwater runoff prevention to their clientele. Workshop and education materials will be developed to encourage behavior change and further the real estate community's Eco-broker and green certifications.
  • Create an Environmental Awareness Event for diverse cultures through the office of Community Partnerships to promote trash reduction and watershed protection awareness to minority populations in the County.

In order to promote the events to targeted communities, DEP will use effective, proven social media such as community list serves, websites, e-gazette, and newspapers. Social media such s Facebook, Twitter and subject-specific blogs has been effective for the county, especially for the DEP-Division of Solid Waste Services. The DEP blogs experience approximately 30-50 views/day; the Twitter account has a growing following of 300 residents while the yahoo groups and E-scriptions have a following of over 20,000 residents. The Montgomery County's Facebook platform has a following of 1,250 residents since the County Began using the social media tool in 2010.

Press released and other advertising material will be coordinated through the Montgomery County Public Information Office (PIO) which will increase awareness of these DEP-sponsored activities. In addition, advertising and program information will be related via list serves, websites, newsletters of the partner groups as well as through County outreach efforts. The above-mentioned media have all been proven to be effective outreach tools and will be used by partners to advertise the events and envourage involvement.


All DEP communications and activities reflect its mission to protect and enhance the quality of life i our community through the conservation, preservation, and restoration of our environment guided by the principles of science, resources management, sustainability and stewardship.

As part of its mission, Montgomery County DEP has embraced its role in fulfilling the new MS4 permit requirements. These new permit requirements include an expanded outreach and education component. A Water Restoration Implementation Strategy (WRIS), currently being developed by DEP, addresses this component through the Public Outreach and Stewardship Work Plan, scheduled for completion in late summer 12010. Realizing the necessity to address these requirements, DEP also hired a Watershed Outreach Planner to implement the POSWP. Initial feedback from the recent "State of the Streams" public input meeting indicate that involving community stakeholders in the education process are essential to the County's success in reducing stormwater impacts and successful reaching its MS4 permit goals within the five year limit. The proposed events will provide a jump start to begin implementing the POSWP by providing additional opportunities for every citizen to gain awareness, increase stewardship, and foster community involvement.

The proposed stakeholder workshops will be used to introduce the public to other important DEP program initiatives outline in its COunty Performance Plan (12/10/2009) as well. In addition to the WRIS, DEP is developing a Green Montgomery website and energy leadership program through an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. The events proposed in this grant will introduce individuals to the Green Montgomery concept and encourage participation as the program and website materials develop, therefore assisting in meeting multiple organizational goals.

The intent of the Green Montgomery website will be to serve as a single place for residents and businesses to go to:

  • Learn about our environment - about the various challenges we face and why it is important to address them.
  • Understand the role residents and businesses play in addressing these issues and the specific actions they can take.
  • Find out how to take advantage of public and private sector programs, including where to get expert advice, how to find and hire contractors, how to apply for incentives, etc.

Additionally DEP has a long history of reaching out to property owners, homeowners associations, and community groups in support of its watershed management projects and programs. Examples include:

  • Routinely meeting with property owners and community groups and scheduling "Stream Walks" to explain restoration projects planned for their local streams.
  • Holding workshops and trainings as well as community presentations of RainScapes Rewards techniques, including rain barrels, rain gardens, and conservation landscaping. In 2009, the first training workshop for landscape contractors and designers was held, gathering respectable attendance.
  • Presenting the community groups within RainScapes Target Neighborhoods program to facilitate the installation of Environmental Site Design techniques on private and community properties in specific watersheds. This year, the first projects are being installed through this program. The proposed educational workshops and watershed forum, especially the Good Neighbors workshop series for HOA's are expected to be key elements to expanding participation in the Targeted Neighborhoods program.
  • identifying and participating in other community-based events and festivals ensuring representation of the environmental element and in developing a larger role in planning such events. For example, in May 2010, DEP took part in the first ever Asian American Festival in Montgomery County and is assisting in the planning of future events.
  • Identifying and reaching out to underrepresented and culturally diverse populations, increasing exposure to watershed protection and stewardship opportunities.

The proposed events will be multi0faceted to ensure they strengthen participation in existing programs and support the broader goals of DEP and will be key factors in the pblic stewardshp component of the WRIS.

Primary Messages

Water Quality if Important to Everyone in Montgomery County- Your actions count! The environmental impacts of stormwater runoff are a growing issue in Montgomery County and the Chesapeake Bay. Community involvement is a key component to reversing the trend.


  • To educate and promote the use of watershed protection best management practices (BMPs) to target communities and stakeholders, create a sustainable educational watershed forum, Good Neighbors Workshop series, stakeholder workshops and environmental event for culturally diverse audience.
  • By educating the targeted communities and stakeholder groups on these BMPs through the above mentioned means, the Montgomery COunty Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) expects to increase general acceptance of these practices. In addition to gaining acceptance, individual behavioral change can occur which will meet the goals outlined in the County's Watershed Resoration Implementation Strategy (WRIS) for the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit, therefore satisfying DEP's requirements.


How did you measure impact? Attendance List, Other, Tracking

Total People Reached

  1. Watershed Forum:
    1. The 1st annual Community Clean Water Summit took place February 26th, 2011 from 8:00am to 1:30pm at the Silver Spring Civic Building and was quite a success having 175 residents (expectation was 100-200) attend the event, including 5 watershed groups (Friends of Sligo Creek, Neighbors of Northwest Branch, Little Falls Alliance, and Rock Creek Conservancy). It also brought together the Friends of Cabin John Creek Watershed whom had not met regularly in quite some time. A planning committee consisting of members from these groups was formed and 3 meetings were held prior to the event. A total of 11 watershed group volunteers participated in the planning and setup of the event. Their participation was invaluable. Through their input, the focus of the summit changed from solely a watershed group capacity building focused meeting to a public engagement watershed group "Meet and Greet" hybrid meeting. Instead of focusing solely on "How To's" for watershed group members; the public was brought to them. By doing this the watershed groups had to "sell" themselves to the public and it gave them a forum i which to do this. This was a welcomed change and it was illustrated in the evaluations. Of the attendees who answered the survey, 96% rated the event very well. Topics for the summit included case studies of local watershed group success, "How to form a sustainable organization," details of a successful trash reduction campaign from the Pickup America organization; stormwater research from University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and How to use "Water Words that Work" in your outreach message. There were 20 vendors present at the event which ranged from watershed organizations to vendors selling rain barrels and water conservation devices. The audience was not overly diverse as was noted by attendees. This will need to be addressed for future events. Other drawbacks were the need for better acoustics and more time to network with the fellow participants and vendors.
  2. Good Neighbors Workshop Series
    1. This component was the most frustrating component of the grant. It started out with several setbacks as soon as the grant was awarded. Due to funding cuts, the Commission on Common Ownership of Communities and a grant partner, did not have its annual meeting in Nov, 2010 which was to be the kickoff of this program. Over 900 Homeowners associations (HOA) are notified of this event with a typical attendance of 300. A portion of funding was restored in 2011 and the meeting was held on October 15th (requiring an extension of the grant). There were 120 HOA representatives in the audience. DEP was able to present the concept to the audience and hosted a booth in the lobby which garnered inquiries from approximately 30 representatives with approximately 8 interested in scheduling a presentation in the future.
    2. The second setback was in printing some of the educational materials. The newest version of the Good Neighbor Handbook was to be provided by the Nature Conservancy. The files provided were corrupt and much time was spent tracing down a usable copy to no avail. As a result the 2005 version was used and printed for the program.
    3. In lieu of an "official launch" and with these setbacks, DEP moved forward with the program and partnered with the Rock Creek Conservancy to administer a program to interested HOAs in the watershed. A total of 4 presentations were given- which was less than the 15 expected from the proposal, however several successes resulted. With Rock Creek Conservancy's assistance, a joint presentation was held at Wheaton Claridge Park for 2 HOA's. There were about 30 people in attendance from very diverse backgrounds. As a result of this presentation the community was informed of watershed outreach opportunities such as RainScapes and the HOA held a subsequent environmental movie night informing the community of the county environmental programs with special emphasis on the Potomac Trash Free Treaty. Two DEP created trash reduction radio ads (in conjunction with the Alice Ferguson Foundation) were played at the intermission of the movie. Through this effort, two residents formed a stream team through the Rock Creek Conservancy for the Joseph's Branch which receives a high level of trash.
    4. The remaining presentations were done for the TImberlawn and Flower HIll HOA's. Since the presentation to Timberlawn, the president of the association has worked very hard at informing residents about the county environmental programs and has established a small network of volunteers to help improve the stream that runs through the property and re-establish the stream buffer along 15-20 properties. There have been 3 volunteer work days that involved approximately 15 individuals from the community planting 80 trees and shrubs. There have also been 2 scheduled invasive plant removal days. Due to the extent of the invasive plant problem at the HOA, a professional was hired to remove what the volunteers could not handle. This program will continue to develop as more presentations are requested.
  3. Realtors Eco-Workshop
    1. Two realtor workshops were held instead of the one that was originally planned in the proposal. DEP staff worked with the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors and gave a presentation to the GCAAR Green Task Force. From this meeting, a presentation framework and outline was generated and group moved forward with getting the presentation approved as a class for the areas realtors. By getting the class approved by GCAAR, DEP is set to provide the class for 3 years with the option to renew or be dropped by GCAAR based on popularity and need.
    2. The realtor Eco class was broken into 5 main parts: Stormwater 101, Environmental Site Design and maintenance, RainScapes, and Energy Efficiency/Green Business Certification plus a group activity. The activity consisted of having Realtors examine a Multiple Listing Service sheet for a number of various properties. Once the basic information and property photos were reviewed the realtors were instructed to identify potential stormwater retrofit opportunities on the property and explain why they felt they were good choices. The class reviewed the suggestions as a group and they were asked to create their own MLS sheet for this designated property which included the features they just described as potential retrofits. The realtors were tasked with incorporating these potential retrofits into the MLS sheet and describing them as selling features. At the end, the groups reconvened and each group described their MLS sheet and how they incorporated an environmental site design practice into their description as selling features. Although confused at first, the participants really seemed to enjoy this activity as it made the connections back to the normal activities associated with their job..
    3. The classes were 3 hours long and were completed in March and June of 2011. Between the two classes, 35 realtors attended (short of the expected 50) but a decent number nonetheless. The Green Task Force and Education and Outreach group were instrumental in getting the class approved and assisting to advertise the class to their constituency. A basic GCAAR class evaluation was given to the participants as well as a stormwater specific evaluation which will be described in Project evaluation section. Advertising was done through the GCAAR website, through the GCAAR Green Task Force Listserve and the DEP event calendar. it was also advertised at the Community Housing fair held in Gaithersburg in fall 2010.
  4. Environmental Awareness Event for Diverse Cultures
    1. The World of Montgomery Event was held on October 16th 2011, 12-5pm (also requiring the extension of the grant) at the Wheaton Triangle and had an attendance of 2,500 residents. This event did not go as initially planned as a solely environmental event set for June 2011 as described in the proposal but turned out to be a highly successful event despite pushing back the date twice (June 2011, September 2011). With additional collaboration and advice from staff from the Office of Community Partnerships (a grant project partner) this "environmental event" was combined and rolled into the World of Montgomery event that focused on celebrating cultural diversity in Montgomery County, ethnic traditions, minority health concerns and community volunteerism. This event marked the 25th anniversary of community service in Montgomery County and the partners felt it best to include the environmental theme into this event with one advertising plan rather than having a competing event focused solely on the environment. This way the environment was brought to them on a proven platform rather than the other way around. While the environmental theme was slightly downplayed, the overall result was positive. Including the environment in an event with topics that are staples in the lives of minorities such as health issues, cultural traditions and a sense of community proved very beneficial. The environmental groups had their own section at the event and included DEP watershed management, recycling services, solid waste services, and Green Wheaton, just to name a few. For the watershed management booth, 2 multilingual volunteers translated materials and assisted with discussing program details with minorities. TO attract more attendees the volunteers organized a rain barrel raffle, face paint table and environmental "plinko:" game. This proved very popular and attracted many attendees to the booth, especially children. When playing the plinko game, attendees were asked questions about their awareness of key watershed concepts. Questions were seperated into categories (child vs adult). Questions were multiple choice and wen answered, the participants received prizes. Since this was a very family oriented event it also gave prorgam staff the opportunity to speak with parents about County environmental programs, rebates and incentives and ask watershed related questions while the children played games or got their face painted. Approximately 650 residents came through the DEP watershed management booth representing Latio, Asian American, South American, and African descent.

Most significant lessons learned

  1. Watershed Forum:
    1. For this event, the services of "Water Words that Work" was acquired to identify target audiences, assist in marketing the event and better utilize social media outlets. As a part of this slight change in focus, a watershed group webinar was held with the 5 participating watershed groups (8 volunteers) and Eric Eckl, founder of Water Words that Work. This was done to better illustrate ow the groups could utilize the event to engage the participants in not only the subject matter but their group as well.
    2. As part of his role in the program Eric Eckl developed the registration process through Eventbrite. This provided the opportunity to pre-survey participants as they resisted. He also developed advertisements and a marketing strategy through Facebook by linking clean water summit ads with an individual's "like" pages. This action garnered a disappointing 3 attendees. He also utilized market research on purchasing history to identify 3000 residents (ages 45-75) living in the Anacostia watershed who may have been interested in attending the event and possibly volunteering. This age group was targeted as the most readily associated with having disposable income and the free time needed to volunteer and support watershed groups. Postcards were sent to these individual's residences, notifying them of the event. Unfortunately, from this activity only 5 residents registered for the event. Both approaches were interesting but proved unsuccessful given the limited funds and the short timeline of the advertising (one month). I believe this could be much more effective for a larger event given a wider advertising window. It seems the short timeline proved to not quite be enough time to "get the word out," however many different techniques were used and appealed to different audiences. One lesson learned is to not over utilize listservs. Members can get burned out when they continue to see the same post-reposted by different individuals. There were a few individuals who were members of multiple listservs and they complained about seeing the CCWS advertisement repeatedly. This can be viewed as a positive or negative in my opinion. Registrations picked up dramatically during thelast two weeks with nearly 100 people registering during this period. Over 50% of the attendees found out about the summit via direct email, a watershed group listserv or through the newspaper. In reporting their expectations for the summit in the pre-survey, three common themes rose to the top: 1) Increasing general knowledge, 2) networking, and 3) learning about how they could help their local area. The majority of attendees were from the Silver Spring, Bethesda and Rockville area, which is where the advertising was focused. The event was advertised through the DEP events calendar, Potomac Patch, online news & blog; through a leader board and down down ad on gazette.net (local news), county facebook page and press release, multiple environmental and non-environmental listservs, the local newspaper and the Potomac Almanac Magazine. The event received media coverage as notice of the event was picked up by Voice of America via the press release, Facebook, and community listserves. DEP director, BOB Hoyt; Rock Creek Conservancy president, Beth Mullin; and Pickup America co-founder, Davey Rogner; were interviewed about their community watershed outreach efforts from the media.
    3. A written evaluation was used for the event. The attendees were asked about their knowledge of certain key concepts prior to and after the summit. Prior to attending the summit, 58% of attendees understood community watershed outreach efforts; after attending the summit, 83% of attendees understood community watershed outreach efforts. The other most noticeable change was with the attendee's knowledge of the local watershed groups- attendees increased their knowledge of the local watershed groups by 54% after attending the summit. Because of its success, the 2nd annual summit is currently being planned and these lessons learned are being applied to the second installment of the program. Many people are already aware of the date of the event and attendance is expected to increase. DEP will compare 2011's survey results with 2012's when they become available and is happy to share these results.
    4. DEP plans to send out a followup survey through Survey Monkey at the one year anniversary of the event to determine what actions participants have changed or taken part in since attending the summit. Again, DEP will analyze these results and be happy to share when they become available i early spring 2012. While it is difficult to determine if watershed group membership has grown solely based on this summit, there have been a number of successes since the event occurred. One attendee went on to start a watershed group called the Muddy Branch Alliance which received the non-profit of the month award from the CBT. With the guidance from individuals met at the summit, the president of the organization has gone on to establish a 501c3 group with a functioning board of directors, participate in the National Capital Area watershed stewards academy and hold many watershed improvement events and cleanups since beginning in March 2011. Another attendee has made significant strides in re-establishing the Seneca Creek Watershed Partners. With the help of DEP and an outreach contractor, a Seneca Creek Stakeholders meeting was held with an attendance of nearly 40 people. Volunteers are just starting to take action for this group. Lastly, members of the Friends of Cabin John Creek Watershed made initial efforts to become more active in the community once again. This effort is in its infancy but this event seemed to get the ball rolling.
  2. Good Neighbors Workshop Series:
    1. A written evaluation was not developed for this program since it did not get its official launch until October 15th, 2011. Of the presentations that were made in conjunction with Rock Creek Conservancy over the course of 2011, no official evaluation process was developed. However, successful projects/behaviors resulted as the HOA's where presentations given, took it upon themselves to organize the community to address items luike stream health, watershed awareness, and invasive plant removal. AS additional DEP outreach staff is added, this program will grow. This component had several setbacks and no links were made between increases in Rainscapes installations or other activities as a result of giving these presentations other than the ones mentioned in section 1. Since attending the CCOC meeting in October, however, 8 HOA's have expressed interest in hosting a good neighbor workshop but scheduling still needs to be determined.
  3. Realtor Workshop:
    1. Attendees at both workshops received a standard GCAAR evaluation and a follow up stormwater related evaluation. Attendees were asked to rate their opinions on the subject matter. Based on these results, 90% of attendees stated they would relay RainScapes information to their clients; approximately 84% of attendees rated the MLS activity highly; approximately 75% felt they would be able to comfortably point out stormwater features on a property to clients after having taken the class and approximately 89% of attendees increased their knowledge about stormwater and watershed issues. Unfortunately a follow up survey tracking how many attendees actually promoted the programs highlighted in the class has yet to occur. This task was not developed within the time frame of the grant and will need to be created. Project partners (Green Task Force) intended to meet after the classes to review the outcomes and create the post survey. Unfortunately, this has not occurred to date. DEP will continue to partner with GCAAR on delivering and improving this course and developing post surveys. Since the course is scheduled to be held for three years, DEP will refine the course and create a post survey to be completed by past participants to evaluate their action after taking the course. This can be considered a success as little effort was made in acquiring local realtors as a partner in previous years. Realtors could prove to be invaluable partners in "selling" the attractiveness of green infrastructure as more ESD practices are installed in the County and more changes occur in the water quality protection charge. The attendees were quite interested in the subject matter and were quite interactive in the classes. Based on class feedback, some adjustments need to be made to make the presentaiton more engaging to clientele. Since providing the realtor workshops, GCAAR stafff has posted a link to RainScapes information on their website for realtors to give to their clients. Web hits were still not able to be collected at the time of writing this report. DEP will continue to request this information from the GCAAR education and outreach department.
  4. Cultural Diversity Event:
    1. The World of Montgomery festival did not have a post survey evaluation as increasing watershed awareness for diverse cultures was the main focus of the event. The delayed hosting of the event also played a factor in not developing a post survey. Instead the plinko game was used to gauge participant's current knowledge. Highlights of the plinko questioning included 28% of respondents correctly answering the percent of homeowners who over fertilize their lawns (50%); 62% of respondents were aware that water entering a storm drain flows through a pipe unfiltered directly to a stream; 68% correctly answering that 12% of the county is covered with impervious surfaces and 17% of respondents correctly answering that 40% of dog owners do not pick up after their pets. Unfortunately only about 12% of respondents knew what watershed they lived in. This shows that more education and outreach is needed for these groups. Answers were not categorized by the ethnicity of the respondent. These questions revolved around key topics outlined in the County implementation plan. Advertising for this event was done solely through the Office of Community Partnerships and the Office Health and Human Services. Bus ads, the County Facebook page, press releases, flyers listservs , word of mouth and newspaper articles and ads were used as the modes of advertising the event. The event received media coverage and four OCP cultural liaison staff (Latino, African American, Asian/Middle Eastern, and Central/South America) along with the director was utilized to craft the appropriate messages to the specific cultures. The free health screenings seems to be the biggest draw of this event. Focusing the environmental message in relation to health concerns and a sense of community/family seemed to be the best way of relating to these groups. The use of the volunteers was very important for this event as the DEP staff present were not fluent in foreign languages.
    2. This grant was an ambitious challenge and coordination project. It was quite difficult to complete all components effectively within one year as not all were completed to 100% satisfaction. The biggest challenge was clearly coordination of effort and time commitments. Underestimating timelines, other commitments and setbacks also proved to slow the process down. My advice to others looking to undertake a project like this is to not take on too much and to clearly have roles and responsibilities of your partners determined well in advance and to ensure everyone involved is on task. While focusing on putting on a good event is necessary, it is even more necessary to dedicate the same amount of effort developing the evaluation process fully. This can be quite difficult when multiple agencies and partners are involved i a project and have focuses and responsibilities other than those associated with your project. Lastly, surveying your audience can be quite time consuming and detailed when relating your effort to specific behavior changes that have occurred over the course of the one year grant period. This can be difficult to do effectively in one year's time with as many components as DEP decided to take on in this grant. You must prepare well for the time that is involved for data collection and manipulation as well as the challenges involved in working with diverse cultures or ones that you may not be fully familiar. I retrospect, DEP should have focused on fewer components for this grant proposal, which would have left more time for more effective evaluation and post survey work. Having a longer grant period like 18 months-3 years would have been beneficial for a project like this as well to determine longer trends in social behavior change. IT is also quite difficult to track social media hits that are the responsibility of outside organizations. This is a need that needs to be made clear at the beginning of the effort. Ultimately, time management became a factor in the first year of creating the watershed outreach program for DEP and balancing the effort required for this grant. All in all, amny positive things came from these funds and efforts as DEP looked to establish relationshisp with all of the groups listed in this report and should beconsidered successful. Pieces to a solid foundation of programs have resulted from receiving these funds and the community has benefited because of it.