Empowering Ag Professionals through a Beneficial and Pest Insect Train-the-Trainer Short Course Program for Oregon, Washington, - Idaho

Final Report for EW09-001

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2009: $95,635.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Mary Corp
Oregon State University
Dr. Silvia Rondon
Oregon State University
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Project Information


Identification of insects is critical to adoption of integrated and sustainable insect management. The training program prepared participants so they can teach others. By using the “train-the-trainer” methodology - multiplier effect will increase adoption. Four short courses were conducted. The training project distributed resource materials so that new trainees can train others in insect collection, identification and control. Insect management information is available at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/umatilla/insect-id. Twelve microscopes were purchased and used. Students were evaluated by pre and post surveys. This project was funded by Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

Project Objectives:

We have reached a diverse audience (71 participants) including University Extension faculty, other agricultural professionals field staff, producers, certified agronomists, growers and certified Master Gardeners from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

Short courses were successful in introducing participants to insects. Students learned basics of insect morphology that helps them to identify main insect taxas in both natural and man-made ecosystems. Students learned and collected about the various orders and major families of insects that we typically encounter in the region.

Twenty hours of classroom instruction occurred over each three-day short course. Follow-up projects were assigned for participants to continue collecting, mounting and identifying as many as 10 orders and 50 insect families over a three to six month period following the short courses.

Short Course locations were Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Hermiston, OR; Washington State University Extension Community Education & Training Center, Colfax,WA and the Washington State University Benton County Extension Office, Kennewick, WA.

At the conclusion of this course, students could recognize on sight all orders of major insect pests present in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. They could also identify major insect families found in the region, and were knowledgeable of ecological insect management principles and strategies. Participants were introduced to on-line resources to find additional information on how to manage insects using biological means.


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  • Stephen Van Vleet

Education & Outreach Initiatives


The “Train-the-Trainer” short course was an excellent example of bringing together different disciplines of crop science, horticulture, and entomology in a collaborative effort. Stephen Van Vleet, Washington State University Extension Faculty, was our partner and he helped in not only in planning and facilitating the training in Colfax, Washington, but offered his help in instructing students. Christopher Marshall, Oregon State Arthropod Collection Curator, located in Corvallis was one of our instructors, plus he brought many insects from the OSU insect collection to use in the training.

Innovative approaches
“Train-the-Trainer” programming is not new, but we were able to add some new twists by building online resources for participants to encourage their preparations for the short course before they arrived (http://extension.oregonstate.edu/umatilla/insect-id). A new handout was added to the website each week, which stepped them through the process of collecting, pinning, mounting and identification of insects. An email list of class participants was used to notify students when new handouts went online and communicate other information related to the short course. This active communication and information sharing allowed students to prepare ahead of time, and created a sense of excitement and connection before students arrived for the short course.
Each student was given a collecting kit in the class which they were able to use and then take home in order to continue building their mini collections.
Each student shared a microscope in class, gaining valuable hands-on training and experience.
In addition, eight short videos were created that demonstrated the basics of insect collecting, preparing and mounting. The videos are available online via YouTube, and links are provided on the insect resource webpage.

Outcomes and impacts:

Seventy one (71) participants with diverse backgrounds such as University Extension faculty(13) in Oregon, and Washington, crop consultants(13), and certified Master Gardeners(45) from Oregon, and Washington, Idaho and Utah were trained. Participants were surveyed at the short course to evaluate the class room component of our program. This survey received approval by the OSU Institutional Review Board for use by Extension faculty in evaluating their programming.

Students rated the Short Course overall quality at 5.9 on a scale of 1-6 with 6 being the highest in a short course class room evaluation survey.

Training participants in insect identification and management strategies with materials resulted in improved skill levels. A pre- and post-survey was conducted at each short course event. Participants’ survey results showed increased knowledge of insect identification from 2.7 to 4.2 on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest. Their knowledge of IPM also increased from 3.8 to 4.6.

Mini collections created by short course participants for the purpose of insect identification and introducing beneficial insects began in the short courses and then went home with them. These are now being used as their training materials in local agricultural and community outreach and education events. This strategy dispersed them across a three state region.

Their increased knowledge and use of on-line insect identification, biological control and management resources by trainers will impact the broader agricultural community over time.

Two online follow-up surveys were conducted, one in November, 2010 through January, 2011 and one in July, 2011 with Survey Monkey (http://www.surveymonkey.com/) to quantify outcomes that have occurred since the short courses were conducted. This survey was also approved by the OSU IRB before being conducted. The following results are from the final survey with 47 respondents out of 71 participants (66%) reporting.

Participants reported continuing to increase their insect collections. Trainees had used their training to identify an insect (96%), trained others in insect ID identification (62%), and provided identification education both at work (59%) and in their communities (86%). Trainees have conducted or facilitated educational activities in classrooms, workshops, garden clinics, public schools and farmers markets.

Volunteer service hours by the trainees averaged about 11 hours each, and ranged from 5 hours to over 20 hours per individual. Based on survey results, we estimate over 700 volunteer service hours related to insect identification and IPM have resulted due to the training program.

Participants report that they have continued to add to their insect collections with 50% having 1-25 insects, 35% having 25-50 insects, 9% having 50-100 insects and 6% having more than 100 insects in their collections. These numbers indicate that most students have exceeded our requirements for numbers and orders of insects which indicate significant efforts to increase their collections beyond the classroom activities. Most collections left the training with 8-10 insect orders represented. Our survey indicates that 66% now have 1-10 orders and 33% have 11-20 orders in their collections.

Volunteer service hours where trainees train others are also starting to accumulate with 42% reporting 1-5 service hours completed, 33% reporting 6-10 service hours, 12% at 11-15 hours, 6% at 16-20 hours and 6% at 20 plus hours. We estimate total service hours are approximately 700 hours.

Products developed

Insect Identification webpage was created as a place to provide information about the class with the syllabus and handouts readily available: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/umatilla/insect-id

The following class handouts were developed and posted on line:

Collecting Insects and Related Arthropods

Preserving Insects and Related Arthropods

Storing and Displaying Insects

Pinning and Labeling Insects

Basic Insect Classification Chart

Phylum Arthropod

External Morphology

Introduction to Insects and Basic Morphology

Labels Template (xls.)

Pinning Insects

Applying Your Insect ID Skills

Insect Ecology

These online resources were assembled into a Short Course Notebook and hard copies were distributed in the classroom for each participant.

The following videos were developed and posted online for trainers and students to access and use to teach others about insect collecting:

Sweep Net Technique for Collecting Specimen

Beat Sheet Technique for Collecting Specimen

Traps and Lights for Collecting Specimen

Collecting Insects: Tools and Supplies

Pinning Medium & Large Insects

Pinning Small Insects

Pinning Moths & Butterflies

Labeling Insects

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:
Awards and Presentations

2010 National Association of County Agricultural Agents. Search for Excellence, Sustainable Agriculture Category. National Winner, Team Award: Corp, M.K., Rondon, S., & Van Vleet, S. “Empowering Ag Professionals Through a Beneficial and Pest Insect Train-the-Trainer Short Course Program for Oregon, Washington and Idaho.” 2010.

Oregon State University Extension Association. Search for Excellence. Insect Train-the-Trainer Program. Team Award: Corp, M.K & Rondon, S. 2010.

2011 International Society of Agronomy Annual Meeting. “Using the Train-the-Trainer Model In Experimental Learning: Beneficial & Pest Insect Identification Short Course.” Presenter: Mary K. Corp. San Antonio, TX. October, 2011.

2011 Western Region County Agents Professional Improvement Conference. “Insect Identification Volunteers Created in Train-the-Trainer Workshops in Oregon & Washington.” Presenter: Mary K. Corp. Kennewick, WA. October, 2011.

2010 National Association of County Agricultural Agents Conference and Professional Improvement Meeting. “Empowering Ag Professionals Through a Beneficial and Pest Insect Train-the-Trainer Short Course Program for Oregon, Washington and Idaho.” Presenter: Stephen Van Vleet. Tulsa, OK. July, 2010.

2010 Oregon State University Extension Annual Conference. “Empowering Ag Professionals Through a Beneficial and Pest Insect Train-the-Trainer Short Course Program for Oregon, Washington and Idaho.” Presenter: Mary Corp. Corvallis, OR. November, 2010.

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.