Lessons were learned along the project-way to identify mechanisms on how the Guide is being used in the field. Survey information, user focus group discussions and sessions comprising this topic at the Latornell Symposiums (2010 and 2012) were the basis of method identification.
The following are instances of how the Guide is being used:
- Portions of the Guide can be used in settings where a particular focus or an element of environmental protection is being emphasized, e.g. a ‘healthy home’ guide; septic system and storm water management ‘water quality’ protection in a cottage setting; property landscaping to promote planning of native species and ways and means to reduce/element invasive plant species. In these instances, only portions of the Guide are used, with reference to the availability of the overall Guide being outlined for interested participants.
- Differing interest groups by their nature (e.g. equine property owners, cottage owners, rural estate owners) have differing interests, and certain sections of the Guide will be of more interest to one group that to another.
- Matters of geographic extent in the consideration of the Guide’s application can vary from a particular watershed/sub-watershed basin, to a similar context (e.g. Lake Huron coastline), to entire eco-regions (e.g. Carolinian Canada’s southern Ontario region).
- The Guide can be effectively presented either in a real-world workshop setting or via an internet on-line course/workshop format. Equine Guelph at the University of Guelph has a useful example of how the Guide can be used in a seminar course format – see http://www.open.uoguelph.ca/offerings/offering.aspx?hold=y&id=3942
- The Guide can be used as a ‘conversation starter’ for environmental stewardship, i.e. there are many elements that together help to assist in environmental protection. In this instance the Guide and its many ‘best practice’ references can steer a prospective user to current and useful references respecting environmental stewardship. The Guide is positioned as an environmental protection enabler rather than as a regulatory tool.
The Guide is useful to illustrating the interconnected nature of property matters – from private lands through to public lands – to the environment. Also the need to protect air, water and land environmental quality together is highlighted. The Guide is useful to knitting together a network of community interests that may come from a variety of backgrounds/perspectives, (i.e. hobby farmer, cottager, permanent rural resident, environmentalists, etc.). The Guide has also been used to train ‘environmental stewardship co-ordinators’ (e.g. Eastern Georgian Bay, Durham Region and Oak Ridges Moraine).
Through the overall OMAFRA KTT ‘Guide Update and Enhancement’ project, numerous examples of its use have been documented. See Appendix C for listing of various Guides that have been devised since its introduction in 2007. The Appendix also includes information from the Latornell Environmental Symposium in 2012, where a workshop on using the Guide was held.