Living on the Land Curriculum Expansion and Instructor Trainings

Final Report for EW06-001

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2006: $93,365.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Western
State: Nevada
Principal Investigator:
Susan Donaldson
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
Expand All

Project Information

Abstract:

Expansion and publication of the Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages was completed in 2008. The curriculum consists of 23 lessons arranged in eight modules plus an instructor’s guide. Training was provided for 100 participants at three different training sessions. As of December 31, 2009, 874 copies of the revised and updated curriculum had been distributed to 37 states, two U.S. territories and two foreign countries. An educator’s Web site (www.livingontheland.info) and listserv were also created. Final evaluation of the curriculum revealed that the curriculum had helped 52.5 percent of respondents start a small-acreage program.

Project Objectives:

Objective 1: Update and Expand the Curriculum
The initial proposal was to update or expand several lessons in the existing curriculum, including adding a lesson on ponds.

Additionally, we proposed to add three modules to the existing curriculum:
•Living with Wildfire,
•Marketing and Economics of Small-acreage Properties, and
•Tying it Together: the Whole Farms Approach

Performance measure: Curriculum is successfully updated, expanded, reviewed and published.

Objective 2: Western States Trainings
We proposed to offer two, 2-day trainings, in two different locations in the Western United States. Fifty participants from the target audience were to be invited to each training and financial support offered to defray travel expenses.

Performance measures: Up to 100 educators receive training in the use of the curriculum; educators evaluate the curriculum; educators use all or part of the curriculum in training small-acreage owners; educators share the materials with others.

Introduction:

Throughout the West, land use patterns continue to change as populations grow. Land at urban fringes is frequently rezoned from large, agricultural enterprises to smaller, 1 to 40+ acre parcels that maintain some agricultural uses while attracting a more diverse population of owners. With fragmentation comes an increasing number of ranchettes located on the fringes of urban areas. These properties are often managed by urban professionals who may have different expectations for their properties, and differing levels of experience in land management. Fragmentation leads to an increase in the number of domestic wells and septic systems, resulting in impacts to groundwater resources. Suburban residents may object to the sights, smells, and sounds associated with typical agricultural uses. Management issues and failures may result in accelerated soil erosion, nonpoint source pollution, manure management issues, and more. As communities grapple with increasing regulatory pressures to meet water quality goals, these properties become increasingly important focuses.

The curriculum, Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages, was introduced in 2001 to address these specific issues. The WSARE-funded Professional Development Project authored a curriculum and provided training for 47 NRCS, Conservation District, and Extension Service personnel from eight western states who work with small-acreage owners. The original curriculum consisted of 15 PowerPoint lessons with lesson plans, evaluation tools and an instructor’s guide. By 2007, more than 1,200 copies of the curriculum had been distributed to 41 states, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Canada, Mariana Islands and Pakistan. Thousands of small acreage owners have received training using all or part of the original curriculum, and we continue to receive regular requests both for the curriculum and for training on its use. Hundreds of best management practices have been implemented on the properties of class participants trained using the original curriculum.

Given the demand for both the curriculum materials and continued trainings throughout the western states, we proposed to update the curriculum, add modules on small acreage product marketing and defensible space for wildfire protection, and provide a minimum of two trainings in western locales for Cooperative Extension (CE), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Soil and Water Conservation District (S&WCD) staff.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Stephanie Etter
  • Bob Hamblen
  • Melody Hefner
  • Kevin Laughlin
  • Ed Smith
  • Douglas Stienbarger
  • Wendy Williams
  • Cinda Williams

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Objective:
Description:

Methods

Team meetings and curriculum development

The Living on the Land development group held three face-to-face meetings: November 1-3, 2006; June 20-22, 2007; and November 5-7, 2007. All three meetings were held in Reno. During these meetings, we reviewed existing curriculum content and identified needed changes. Team members were assigned specific tasks for individual modules. We also decided that we needed to include a final module to bring together all the elements learned into a whole-farms approach for managing small-acreage properties sustainably. Activities in 2008 focused on completing revisions to the curriculum, completing blind review and official publication of the curriculum, and conducting three trainings.

In February, 2008, workshop dates and venues were decided: Bozeman, Montana July 22- 23, 2008 and Albuquerque, New Mexico, September 30-October 1, 2008. Participant recruitment began, with all team members distributing recruitment information.

A phone conference on April 9, 2008 addressed final questions and concerns regarding the curriculum and workshop content, and the training presentations were aired and finalized.

New curriculum lessons and modules were sent out for blind peer review. Each new lesson or new module was sent out to a minimum of five reviewers. A final draft of the curriculum was piloted at the Bozeman training. Following the training, the peer review process was completed and a final official curriculum number (CM-08-07) obtained from the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension prior to the Albuquerque training. The table of contents is shown below.

Introduction
Instructor’s Guide
Module 1: Setting the Stage: Inventorying Resources
Lesson 1: What Do You Have, and What Do You Want? Turning Dreams Into Reality
Lesson 2: What Can You Do?
Module 2: Your Living Soil
Lesson 1: Getting Down and Dirty With Soil
Lesson 2: Managing Soil to Keep It Productive
Lesson 3: Got Water?
Module 3: All Life Depends on Water
Lesson 1: Water Quality: Making the Connection Between You and the Water
Lesson 2: Protecting Household Drinking Water
Lesson 3: Maintaining Your Septic System
Lesson 4: My Place on a Stream
Lesson 5: So You Think You Want a Pond?
Module 4: Living With Wildfire
Lesson 1: Understanding and Reducing the Threat
Lesson 2: When Wildfire Occurs
Module 5: Love Your Grass as Much as Your Animals
Lesson 1: How Grass Grows
Lesson 2: Managing Grazing for Sustainable Pastures
Lesson 3: What to Do About Weeds
Lesson 4: Starting Over: Pasture Establishment and Renovation
Module 6: Don’t Forget the Animals!
Lesson 1: So You Want to Be an Animal Owner
Lesson 2: Caring for Your Animals
Lesson 3: Managing Wildlife
Module 7: So You Want to Make a Buck?
Lesson 1: Marketing and Economics for Small-acreage Properties
Lesson 2: Production: It’s All About Systems
Lesson 3: Can You Make It Work?
Module 8: Tying It Together: The Whole-property Approach
Lesson 1: Focusing on Stewardship for Long-term Sustainability
Glossary

Workshops for educators

The economic downturn affected travel budgets and impacted many who hoped to attend the workshops. Our offer of $250 in travel support was not sufficient to overcome the freeze in state travel funds for many educators.

In addition to recruiting nationwide via email, posters and handouts on the program were also provided at three venues:
1.SARE New American Farm Conference, March 25-27, 2008, Kansas City, MO
2.ANREP Biennial National Conference, May 20-23, Madison, WI
3.WSARE Subregional Conference, June 9-10, Albuquerque, NM

A copy of the brochure used to recruit attendees for the professional development workshops is located at the end of the hard copy of this report.

Outreach and Publications

Curricula
Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages, UNCE CM-08-07
Contents:
Introduction
Instructor’s Guide
Module 1: Setting the Stage: Inventorying Resources
Lesson 1: What Do You Have, and What Do You Want? Turning Dreams Into Reality
Lesson 2: What Can You Do?
Module 2: Your Living Soil
Lesson 1: Getting Down and Dirty With Soil
Lesson 2: Managing Soil to Keep It Productive

Lesson 3: Got Water?
Module 3: All Life Depends on Water
Lesson 1: Water Quality: Making the Connection Between You and the Water
Lesson 2: Protecting Household Drinking Water
Lesson 3: Maintaining Your Septic System
Lesson 4: My Place on a Stream
Lesson 5: So You Think You Want a Pond?
Module 4: Living With Wildfire
Lesson 1: Understanding and Reducing the Threat
Lesson 2: When Wildfire Occurs
Module 5: Love Your Grass as Much as Your Animals
Lesson 1: How Grass Grows
Lesson 2: Managing Grazing for Sustainable Pastures
Lesson 3: What to Do About Weeds
Lesson 4: Starting Over: Pasture Establishment and Renovation
Module 6: Don’t Forget the Animals!
Lesson 1: So You Want to Be an Animal Owner
Lesson 2: Caring for Your Animals
Lesson 3: Managing Wildlife
Module 7: So You Want to Make a Buck?
Lesson 1: Marketing and Economics for Small-acreage Properties
Lesson 2: Production: It’s All About Systems
Lesson 3: Can You Make It Work?
Module 8: Tying It Together: The Whole-property Approach
Lesson 1: Focusing on Stewardship for Long-term Sustainability
Glossary

Workshops

Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages, Professional Development Workshops
•July 22-23, 2008, Bozeman, Montana
•September 30 – October 1, 2008, Albuquerque, New Mexico
•September 16, 2008, Galaxy III, Indianapolis, Indiana
•November 18 – 19, 2009, Champaign, Illinois

Posters and abstracts

Donaldson, S. 2008. Living on the Land: Curriculum Expansion and Instructor Trainings. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education 20th Anniversary New American Farm Conference: Advancing the Frontier of Sustainable Agriculture, March 25-27, Kansas City, MO.

Donaldson, S. 2008. Living on the Land: New and Improved! 6th Natural Resource Extension Professionals Conference, Leopold’s Legacy: Extension’s Response to a Changing World — “The land ethic at work today”, May 19 – 23, 2008 – Madison, WI.

Donaldson, S. 2008. Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages, New and Expanded! Western SARE Regional Conference, June 10-11, Albuquerque, NM.

Presentations and abstracts

Donaldson, S. and Etter, S. 2009. A Successful Tool for Teaching Small-acreage Owners Sustainable Farming Practices. 5th National Small Farm Conference, Springfield, IL, Sept. 15-17. Includes a 4-page proceedings paper.

Etter, S.J. and Donaldson, S.G. 2009. Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages. National Association of County Agricultural Agents Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference, September 20-24, Portland, OR.

Etter, S.J. and Donaldson, S.G. 2009. Reaching small acreage landowners with the Living on the Land curriculum. Western Region Extension Professional Development Conference, November 10-12, Mesquite, NV.

Web site and listserve development

•www.livingontheland.info
•livingontheland@lists.unr.edu

Evaluation results

See above and appendix A in the hard copy of this report. Evaluations were conducted:
•After training workshops
•December, 2008
•October – November, 2009

Outcomes and impacts:

The Bozeman, Montana training, held on July 22 – 23, 2008, was attended by 33 participants with the following affiliations:

Extension personnel 20
Other University personnel 4
Other Federal/State/County 3
Conservation District 3
NRCS/RC&D 1
NGO 2

Representation by states included:
Arizona – 1
California – 2
Colorado – 3
Idaho – 4
Indiana – 1
Minnesota – 1
Montana – 12
Nevada – 3
Washington – 3
Wyoming – 2
South Africa – 1

The second training workshop, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 30 – October 1, 2008, was attended by 27 participants with the following affiliations:

Extension personnel 22
Other University personnel 3
NGO 2

Representation by states included:
America Samoa – 1
Arizona – 1
California – 2
Colorado – 2
Illinois – 1
Iowa – 1
Nebraska – 1
Nevada – 3
New Mexico – 5
Oregon – 3
South Dakota – 3
Utah – 2
Washington – 1
Wisconsin – 1

The trainings focused on building skills for working with adult learners; helping educators develop and deliver small-acreage education programs; and increasing familiarity with curriculum contents and activities. The outline for the training is attached at the end of the hard copy of this report. Each workshop included many hands-on activities that can be used in small-acreage programs. We also visited two small-acreage properties during each training. Participants completed the resource inventory activity from Module 1 during the tours.

In Bozeman, with assistance from Wendy Williams, our local NRCS contact, we toured the 10-acre property of a Living on the Land class participant, Jen Mohler, who has focused on developing sustainable pastures for her horses, and Story Hill Farm (Bob Schaap), a small-acreage property incorporating family sustainability, some energy generation onsite, building soils, specialty crops (herbs, etc.) in a greenhouse and in keyhole gardens, direct marketing techniques, grazing to control weeds, and youth education. Story Hill Farm is included as a case study in Module 7.

In Albuquerque, with help from the local NRCS team of Ana Gomes and Jean Foster, we visited Ironwood Farm (Chris and Jenny Altenbach). Ironwood Farm is a 10-acre property where the small-acreage farmers are experimenting with self-sufficiency and sustainability. They raise livestock and vegetables, flood-irrigate pastures that are managed by the Savory method, and are investigating commercial enterprises. Their house is off-grid with energy generated primarily by solar panels. The second stop was at Chispas Farm, a certified organic operation with direct marketing at growers’ markets, and cultivation of heritage varieties.

An additional 90-minute workshop was provided by Sue Donaldson and Stephanie Etter at the Galaxy III conference in Indianapolis on Sept. 16, 2008. The training was attended by 40 people, many of whom were from Purdue Extension. Content included overview to the curriculum and instructor’s guide; adult learners and learning styles; developing a small-acreage program; selected activities; and a question/answer period.

In November, 2009, at the request of Albuquerque trainee James Theuri, Sue Donaldson participated in a training for 25 University of Illinois Extension employees interested in implementing small-acreage programming. Theuri and colleague Ellen Phillips piloted Living on the Land in Kankakee, Illinois in fall, 2009 and received commitments to offer at least 6 additional programs in Illinois in 2010.

Web site and listserve development

At the request of program participants, two additional tools were developed in 2008: a program Web site for educators, and an email listserve that can be used to post questions and share information. The Web site, www.livingontheland.info, requires a password to access. By collecting requests for access, we can monitor site use and conduct additional evaluations. The Web site, which is hosted on the UNCE server, includes links to the curriculum files, additional materials contributed by participants, resources, a photo gallery of shared photos for participants to contribute to or use, and an updated master file of Web sites that participants can use to update the original lesson plans. This list of Web sites will be updated every 6 months. In 2009, we began adding a “What’s New” section to the Web site to share new ideas and resources.

Login: livingontheland
Password: LOL:2008

Curriculum distribution

The curriculum has been mass-produced on a CD (3,000 copies). As of December 31, 2009, 874 copies of the CD had been distributed. Copies of the CD are available to Living on the Land participants by request and no charge, thanks to funding from WSARE. Additionally, copies of the CD may be requested from the Living on the Land Web site, livingontheland.info, at no cost to recipients. Contact information is required for all those receiving the curriculum and a database has been constructed to track curriculum use.

Survey of training participants

In addition to participant training and CD distribution, we also focused on collecting information from training participants about what they had learned and how they intend to use the curriculum. Each participant completed a post-workshop survey consisting of a rating of their skills and abilities and knowledge of curriculum materials, as well as eight open-ended questions. The quantitative data is provided in the hard copy of this final report. We used a post-pre design for the evaluation, which was administered at the end of the workshop. Participants were asked to rate their knowledge of different subjects before and after the workshops on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being “very limited knowledge” to 5 being “very knowledgeable.”

The greatest gains in knowledge, overall, occurred for:
•Developing a small-acreage program
•Module 1 (setting goals and inventorying resources)
•Module 8 (sustainability)
•Module 4 (wildfire)
•Module 7 (enterprises)
•Engaging adult learners

Response summaries from the eight open-ended questions and a compilation of comments from the 2-day training participants are summarized below. Because the field trips were so different at each of the trainings, the responses to questions about the field trip have been separated by training.

1. List one or more new techniques or ideas you learned on the field trip.
Bozeman
Topic # 0f Responses
Resource inventory 6
Livestock weed control 6
Solar energy 4
Pasture stick 4
Energy balance 3
Greenhouse profitability 2
Keyhole gardens 2
Multiple intelligences 2
Work-in-progress vs. ideal 2
Raised beds 1
Sheet mulching 1
Pasture/corral layout 1
Irrigation management 1
Permaculture 1
Beneficial insects 1
Systems approach 1
Companion planting 1
Conservation plan 1

Albuquerque
Topic # of Responses
Straw bale houses 5
Irrigation tricks/methods 5
Sustainability/systems approach 4
Cultural practices/growing methods 3
Delivery methods for program 2
Recycled materials 2
Seed saving 2
Community supported agriculture (CSA) 2
Living off the grid 2
Aquaculture 2
Polycultures 1
Pastured poultry 1
Marketing 1
Multiple animal species 1


2. What did you learn from the landowner’s perspective related to their involvement in the Living on the Land program? (applied only to the Bozeman training; New Mexico had not historically offered the program)

Respect their wishes/vision,
don’t impose your vision on them 10
We need to help them gain knowledge 10
It can be overwhelming to think
of the whole system/set goals 10
Did not know landowners were
part of LOL (NM) 7
Sustainability 5

3. How will knowing the characteristics of adult learners help you plan and carry out your small acreage program?

Use multiple intelligences learning 22
Target specific audiences 15
Increase hand-on activities 13
Recruitment 3

4. What new ideas did you learn from the evaluation and sustaining programs, marketing and delivery presentations that you will use in your programming?

Evaluation and sustaining programs
Focus groups 8
Follow-up (success stories,alumni, 7
participants become instructors)
Outcome -driven evaluation/Logic model 5
Pre-post questions 3
Time-saving methods 2

Marketing and delivery methods
Target marketing 10
Direct marketing 7
Learning styles 3
Activities versus lectures 2

5. What new ideas or presentation techniques did you learn from attending the Living on the Land training?

Use of activities (in general or specific activity mentioned) 30
Multiple intelligences 16
Reduce PowerPoint use 5


6. As you reviewed the training material, were there specific subjects you would like to add to the curriculum?

None/ask after review or use 14
Renewable resources/ alternative energy/
reduced fuels use 4
Farm equipment/machinery 3
Forestry 3
Functional landscaping 2

Single vote subjects:
Construction ideas
Composting
Plant science
Livestock financing and budgeting
Haying for profit
Feeds and feeding
Backyard poultry
Realtors training
Ecotourism
Private property issues
Rural/urban interface
Neighboring issues
More success stories

7. What topics were most useful to you?

All 6
Tours 10
Needs assessment/program development 9
Multiple intelligences 5
Adult learners 11
Marketing/delivery methods 9
Evaluation/sustaining programs 5
Module 1 Setting Goals 8
Module 2 Soils 6
Module 3 Water 7
Module 4 Fire 6
Module 5 Grass 6
Module 6 Animals 3
Module 7 Marketing 13
Module 8 Sustainability 8
Instructors Guide 1
Don’t Know 1

8. How do you plan to use the Living on the Land Curriculum?

Use as a foundation for my own program 10
Use all or almost all 10
Use portions 10
Use for short courses 6
Use for single workshops 6
Incorporate into existing program 8
Share with colleagues 2
Use to work one-on-one with 3
small-acreage landowners
Don’t know/Unsure 4

9. Comments

Great job 15
Well planned, well organized 8
Great field trips 7
Good materials 6
Good contacts/ networking 5
Good activities/ interactive 3

Evaluation results from Galaxy III workshop (n=20):
This evaluation asked that participants rate the following on a scale from 0, strongly disagree, to 4, strongly agree.
1.Information shared met audience need 3.45
2.Overall presentation was clear and well-organized 3.65
3.The AV and other teaching aids were used appropriately 3.60
4.The instructors are well-informed and kept the audience interested 3.70
5.The instructors encouraged questions and interaction with participants 3.55

Six participants noted that they plan to use the curriculum with small-acreage owners in their states.

Other comments included:
“Great presentation! I learned a great deal! Thanks.”
“Very good session overall! Glad I came.”

Curriculum use survey, December 2008

To follow up on the use of the curriculum by training participants, the following query was made by the Living on the Land team to the participants in early December 2008, via the listserve:

1.How many of you have used the Living on the Land curriculum since attending our training in 2008?

2.Do you have firm plans to use the Living on the Land Curriculum in 2009 for a small acreage program in your state?

Forty responses were received by December 19, 2008 from both team members and participants. Responses are summarized below:

Shared curriculum with colleagues 9
Used in 2008, not specified 14
Not used in 2008, but reviewing 6
Possible use in 2009 17
Planning train-the-trainer-type
workshops in 2009 4
Planning to use portions in 2009,
single workshop 7
Planning workshops in 2009
(more than 1 class) 14
Possible use in 2010 2

The respondents were from 17 states and American Samoa. Individual states are listed below:

State Affiliation of Post Workshop Survey Respondents

Western SARE States (30)
Arizona 1
California 2
Colorado 4
Idaho 7
Montana 4
Nevada 3
New Mexico 1
Oregon 2
Utah 2
Washington 3
Wyoming 1
Other States (10)
Illinois 1
Iowa 1
Minnesota 1
Nebraska 1
South Dakota 3
Virginia 1
Wisconsin 1
American Samoa 1

2009 Curriculum Evaluation

UNR’s Center for Program Evaluation emailed the Living on the Land Curriculum Evaluation Survey to 272 individuals on October 5, 2009. A copy of the survey report is included in the hard copy of this final report in Appendix A. Reminder emails were sent out on October 14 and October 29, 2009. A total of 100 individuals responded to the survey. Responses were received from all western SARE states except Arizona. All 100 respondents did not answer all of the items. Sixteen individuals were removed from the original distribution list due to nonfunctioning email addresses. After removing those 16 individuals, the total number of emails sent out was revised to 256 in order to calculate the response rate of 39 percent.

Respondents were first asked what was prompting the need for small acreage programming in their area. Sixty-eight of the 100 respondents, or 68 percent, cited the need for responsible land management. Other issues prompting the need for small acreage programming were concerns about quality of life (43 percent), water quality issues (43 percent) and economic sustainability (42 percent). Sixty-eight percent of respondents felt it was very important to educate small acreage owners in their area.

Respondents to Living on the Land Curriculum Evaluation Survey

Western SARE States
California
Colorado
Idaho
Montana
Nevada
New Mexico
Oregon
Utah
Washington
Wyoming

Other States
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Louisiana
Maryland
Minnesota
Mississippi
Nebraska
North Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota
Wisconsin

U. S. Territories
American Samoa
Puerto Rico

Sixty percent of respondents attended a Living on the Land training. The remaining 40 percent of respondents heard about the curriculum at a conference or professional meeting, via email or word of mouth or through an article in a newsletter or other publication.

Distribution of the curriculum has been staggered over the last 17 months. As a result, 26 percent of respondents have only had the curriculum for 6 months or less. Thirty-four percent of respondents have had the curriculum for 6 to 12 months and 41 percent have had the curriculum for more than 12 months. Even though distribution has been staggered, 55 percent of respondents have taught all or part of the curriculum. Many respondents have used the materials, photos or slides to create their own program or presentation (34 percent). Many respondents are planning to use the curriculum (31 percent) and many have used the curriculum for personal education (34 percent).

The primary audience for 48 percent of the respondents is small acreage owners who own 1 to 20 acres of land. For 34 percent of the respondents, their primary audience is a mix of several categories. Less than 10 percent of respondents had primary target audiences in the following categories: small acreage owners with 21-40 acres, small acreage owners with 41+ acres, people who own less than an acre in cities fewer than 50,000, and people who own less than an acre in cities greater than 50,000.

Most respondents target their audience on a countywide or multicounty basis (48 percent). As this is how most extension funding is structured, this target strategy makes sense. Most respondents market their programs using advertising in print media (91 percent). Direct mailing (74 percent), email (61 percent), newsletters (61 percent) and posted announcements (61 percent) are also used to market programs. Funding for programs appears to be largely agency funds (66 percent of respondents) and/or student fees (49 percent of respondents).

When asked “how many students have you taught using the materials?” 34 percent had not taught any students. Given the staggered distribution of the curriculum (26 percent have had the curriculum 6 months or less), this is not surprising. It is gratifying to note that 39 percent of respondents have taught between 1 and 60 students using the materials.

Respondents were asked to rate the individual components of the curriculum for usefulness. These components are the PowerPoint presentations, lesson plans, resource lists, graphics, activities, evaluation tools and instructors guide. Mean rating of all components of the curriculum is 3.9 or greater out of a possible 5.0. In general, training attendees found the curriculum materials more useful, most likely because they had hands-on experience with the different components of the curriculum.
Respondents were asked to rate the different sections of the Instructors Guide. The overall rating of the Instructors Guide was 4.0 out of a possible 5.0. The sections on engaging adult learners, delivery methods, needs assessment and program evaluation were rated highest. Those respondents that did not attend a training rated many of the sections of the Instructors Guide higher than respondents that did attend a training. However, since the response numbers were 10 or below for those not attending a training, the difference in rating numbers may not be statistically significant.

Respondents were asked to rate the quality of all the lessons in the curriculum. The individual lessons were rated from 3.7 to 4.5 out of a possible 5.0. In general, those who attended a training rated the individual lessons slightly higher than those respondents that did not attend a training.

A copy of the survey instrument, copies of the preparation email and reminder emails, descriptive statistics for the survey items and a breakdown of the state, zipcode and county of the respondents is attached in Appendix A of the hard copy of this report.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

We piloted the curriculum at a two-day training in Bozeman, Montana for 33 trainers. After finalization, we trained an additional 27 trainers at a second 2-day training in Albuquerque, NM. A total of 60 participants participated in a two-day workshop for the revised Living on the Land Curriculum.

A third training for 40 instructors was provided at Galaxy III in Indianapolis. This 90-minute workshop was provided by Sue Donaldson and Stephanie Etter. The training was attended by 40 people, many of whom were from Purdue Extension. Content included overview to the curriculum and instructor’s guide; adult learners and learning styles; developing a small-acreage program; selected activities; and a question/answer period.

A final training was provided for 25 Illinois Extension staff and NGOs Nov. 18-19, 2009 in Champaign, IL.

As of December 31, 2009, 874 copies of the curriculum had been distributed. Distribution breakdown by state, territory and other countries is shown in the list below.

CD Distribution through December 2009

Western SARE States

Arizona
California
Colorado
Idaho
Montana
Nevada
New Mexico
Oregon
Utah
Washington
Wyoming

Other States

Alaska
Arkansas
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Louisiana
Maryland
Maine
Minnesota
Missouri
Mississippi
Nebraska
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
South Dakota
Texas
Virginia
Washington DC
West Virginia
Wisconsin

U. S. Territories

American Samoa
Puerto Rico

Other Countries

Alberta, Canada
South Africa

CD distribution by team members and program participants, 2008, WSARE states:

Utah: CDs distributed to all Extension personnel
Colorado: CDs distributed to all Extension personnel
Idaho: CDs distributed to Living on the Land instructors and participants; in 2009, the entire expanded curriculum was offered in Emmett, Meridian and Parma Counties
Washington: CDs distributed to all Extension personnel; Living on the Land course offered Jan – March 2010 in Kelso, WA
Montana: CDs distributed to the Director and Assistant Director of Montana Extension
Nevada: Curriculum provided to educators via the Web
Oregon: In use by Melissa Fery, OSU Extension, for small-acreage workshops

Programs developed or in development, 2008-2009, outside WSARE states:

Illinois: Program piloted in 2009 in Kankakee County; expanding to Champaign County in Feb. 2010
Indiana: Planning workshops for 2009 (Purdue)
Iowa: Pilot class to be offered, Feb. 2009
Minnesota: Living on the Land workshops offered in 2009 by Univ. of Minnesota Extension
Nebraska: 15 CDs distributed
North Dakota: Adapting the curriculum
Wisconsin: Beginning to plan a multi-county program in 2009

Awards:
The Living on the Land team was awarded the CSREES Partnership Award for multistate efforts in October 2008 in Washington, DC.

Recommendations:

Potential Contributions

The Living on the Land Curriculum Evaluation Survey indicated several contributions to professional and producer understanding.

Respondents were asked “How many improved practices have your students implemented?” Fifteen of 22 respondents or 68 percent indicated that students are implementing one or more improved practice on their properties.

Respondents were asked if they had shared the curriculum with other educators. Forty of the 79 respondents or 51 percent indicated they had shared the curriculum with other educators. Twenty-three respondents have shared the curriculum with 1-10 educators, 13 have shared the curriculum with 10-50 educators and three have shared the curriculum with more than 50 other educators.

Respondents were also asked what activities they had planned for the future. Twenty respondents out of a total 36 (55 percent) have another training or a new training planned. Twelve of the 36 respondents or 33 percent are in the planning stages for adapting the materials to their areas or developing a training program for their area.

When queried regarding what they would change about the curriculum, six of 19 respondents would not change anything. Three of the 19 respondents wanted to change the curriculum to make it fit their local area. Two of the 19 respondents were worried about length and repetition. Several respondents were very complementary:

•“I taught school for 8 years before I got into Extension. I have been in Extension almost 10 years. This is one of the best take-it-and-use-it curriculums I have seen in my almost 18 years of professional teaching.”

•“…Curriculum is excellent. Provides a great starting point and can be adapted to fit local needs.”

Additional comments from the survey are:

•“This is one of the best received classes that I know of because so much is covered and it equips land owners to become true stewards of the land they have. This mindset is also contagious and students often end up educating their neighbors as well.”

•“Thanks, having access to your program helped us customize presentations for ND.” [North Dakota]

There has been some interest in developing a Web-based training using the Living on the Land materials.

Future Recommendations

The number of small-acreage properties nationwide continues to grow. The broad interest in the curriculum, with programs in Minnesota, North Dakota, Illinois, Indiana and other states indicates a need for customized materials for these areas. We propose to use the Living on the Land Web site as a vehicle for sharing customized versions and additional materials that will be of use to instructors.

The Living on the Land Curriculum Evaluation Survey queried those who have received a copy of the curriculum on what they would like added to the curriculum. The following subjects were most common:
•Machinery/equipment use, selection, maintenance and safety (3)
•Enterprise development and budgets (3)
•Animal species needs, especially “backyard” species (3)
•Small gardens (3)
•Alternative energy (2)

The machinery unit is under development currently by an extension professional from Utah. For a complete listing of suggested additions to the curriculum, the entire Living on the Land Curriculum Evaluation Survey can be found in Appendix A in the hard copy of this report.

The Living on the Land Curriculum Evaluation Survey results also indicated that those respondents that who actually attended curriculum training found the curriculum to be more useful than those respondents who received a copy of the curriculum alone. Future endeavors with this curriculum should continue to include hands-on training.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.