The ecoPRO Sustainable Landscape Professional Certification Program is the first program to provide sustainable land care education and certification to landscape professionals across Washington State. The goals of the program are:
- Provide certification to qualified professionals.
- Improve water quality and the general public health
- Set the standard for sustainable land care in the state.
- Offer consumers a platform for interaction and evaluation.
The ecoPRO Sustainable Landscape Professional Certification Program offers advanced certification throughout Washington State for landscape professionals. Individuals must meet the program eligibility and requirements to become certified.
The ecoPRO Sustainable Landscape Professional Certification Program has a training program that teaches best practices for sustainable landscaping, publishes study materials, and administers a certification examination. Individuals with evidence of a continued education in sustainable best landscape practices gained over the previous three years can be certified/renew their certification
The ecoPRO training is not a prerequisite for certification. It is however highly recommended that interested individuals attend a training conducted by the ecoPRO program or an approved educational program. The training is an advanced training and assumes participants have entry knowledge of landscape design, construction, maintenance practices and field experience. Individuals that meet eligibility requirements and are seeking certification will be given priority for training registration.
The ecoPRO certification program is administered by Washington State Nursery &
Landscape Association (WSNLA) and Washington Association of Landscape Professionals (WALP); who work together to ensure a unified standard within the horticultural industry for enhanced marketing, networking and educational opportunities.
ecoPRO Guiding Principles
United States Environmental protection Agency (from USEPA):
Sustainability is based on a simple principle: all that we need for our well-being and survival depends directly or indirectly on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony; that permits fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.
Brundtland Commission of the United Nations 1987:
Sustainability is design, construction, operation and maintenance practices that meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainable Landscaping is the designing, constructing, and maintenance of landscapes to conserve and regenerate water, air, soil, plant and wildlife resources; protect and enhance human health and well‐being. Sustainable practices focus on the environment of an ecoregion while striving to be socially equitable and economically feasible.
Sustainable Landscape Practice is the use of ecologically sound principles to work within natural ecoregional systems. It encourages working within closed systems with regards to organic matter and nutrient cycling.
The goal of sustainable landscape practice is to design, construct, and maintain landscapes that will be aesthetically appealing and ecologically resilient in the ecoregion they are located.
ecoPRO Certified Sustainable Landscape Professionals have passed an exam that tests their knowledge of sustainable landscaping principles and practices. They conform to the ecoPRO Code of Ethics in designing, constructing, and managing landscapes with the most current and ecologically sound principles. Where possible, ecoPRO Certified Sustainable Landscape Professionals collaborate across the various disciplines for design, construction, and maintenance.
ecoPRO Sustainable Best Practices
The best practices for landscape design, construction, and maintenance are organized around eight key principles:
- Water Conservation
- Energy Conservation
- Sustainability of Healthy Plants
- Protection of Water and Air Quality
- Protection and Conservation of Soils
- Creation and Protection of Wildlife Habitat
- The Use of Sustainable Methods and Materials
- Protection and Enhancement of Human Health and Well‐being
Download a table of ecoPRO Best Practices for options in sustainable landscaping that a professional may apply in different situations as appropriate.
Best practices designated with a diamond indicate a “core” best practice that ecoPRO certified professionals should employ where applicable, at all times. Since many practices use multiple principles, the right‐hand columns link the practices to the applicable principles. Some of the best practices are duplicated. Underlined terms are defined in the ecoPRO Glossary on page 27.
ecoPRO sustainable best practices as much as possible align with existing business and site certifications. There are several sustainable certifications applicable to landscape sites and businesses in Washington State. Some of them are:
- EnviroStars—a certification for businesses that reduce the input and use of toxics in the environment.
- Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES)—a national certification for landscapes designed and installed, with a maintenance plan for sustainable practices.
- Salmon Safe—a land management certification for sites that protect water quality, preserve and restore habitats
- The regional BuiltGreen, national LEED, and Living Building Challenge–green building certifications that include site development best practices.
- Greenroads—for road construction; and Envision—for infrastructure projects