September 1984 // Volume 22 // Number 5 // Ideas at Work // 5IAW1

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Teaching Coastal Property Owners


Frank R. Lichtkoppler
District Extension Specialist, Sea Grant
Cooperative Extension Service
Ohio State University - Painesville

Ohio coastal property owners in the central basin of Lake Erie have been faced with serious coastal erosion-related problems for many years. These problems include loss of recreational beaches, storm and wave damage to coastal property, bluff erosion and landslides, and in severe cases, total destruction of lakefront homes. Coastal property owner losses have been accelerated by a lack of knowledge of coastal erosion processes.

Extension Sea Grant teaching efforts to address the problems of this group began in earnest in Ohio in 1982. A series of mini-schools were conducted for 59 program participants. Lecture demonstrations, lakefront site surveys, printed references, and telephone conversations were used to teach interested clients about lakefront erosion.

A post-program mail survey evaluated the effectiveness of the teaching efforts. After 2 reminders, 39 surveys (66%) were returned. Respondents reported living on the lakeshore an average of 19 years and had mean annual incomes of $30,000-34,999. Twenty respondents (51 %) used their property as a permanent residence, 11 (28%) as a summer residence, 3 (8%) for commercial income purposes, and the rest for other reasons.

Participants thought the information was valuable and helpful to them. Most ranked their general level of knowledge of coastal erosion significantly higher following the Extension Sea Grant mini-schools.

Thirty-three mini-school participants have shared the information with others. Seventeen have taken action based on the knowledge they gained. Twelve haven't taken action that may be only marginally useful in erosion control as a result of knowledge gained from the Extension Sea Grant program.

Reactions to Extension Sea Grant educational efforts were favorable. Indirect measurements indicated a knowledge, skills, attitude, and/or aspiration change. Results of the survey demonstrate the effectiveness of using proven Extension teaching methods with this new Extension audience.