It is a challenge for Extension personnel to meet the public demand for environmentally friendly or integrated pest management (IPM) alternatives for pest control.
Funded by a grant from the Southern Regional IPM Center and coordinated by the Center, Extension teams from Auburn University, Clemson University, The University of Georgia, North Carolina State University, and Mississippi State University designed a survey to assess agent needs. Ninety agents in the five-state region responded. The agents identified the need for additional Master Gardener Extension (MGE) volunteer training in plant, disease, and insect identification. They also requested MGE volunteer training in pesticide safety and landscape problem diagnosis.
The multi-state planning team outlined ten trainings for MGE volunteers in homeowner IPM. Trainings were developed and presented by individual team members. Presentations and assessments were developed for each topic. The team pooled resources to develop hands-on activities that supported and complemented the trainings. All participating agents had access to the shared resources on a Center wiki.
Trainings were delivered via webinar and local agents hosted the trainings. Agents also selected and presented hands-on activities that complemented their local programs and needs.
Over 35 county Extension agents hosted the three-day training, which was presented in 6 locations in Alabama, 14 locations in Georgia, and 15 locations in North Carolina. A total of 472 MG volunteers were trained in homeowner IPM. Feedback from the participating agents was strong. One agent summed it up, “It was an excellent program. Everyone really enjoyed it and learned so much! We will definitely use these resources in other trainings.”
Archived webinars, videos, activities, presentations, and evaluations are available on-line.
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