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

Project Overview

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

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn, potatoes, wheat


  • Education and Training: extension, workshop
  • Pest Management: biological control, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management

    Proposal abstract:

    This is a Professional Development project that will address a two-fold issue identified by producers: (1) insect pests are occurring in greater frequency and increasingly causing economic damage to their crops, and forages; (2) agricultural professionals lack training in the identification of insect pests and in effective management strategies. The correct identification of pest insects is critical to producers’ success in adopting an integrated and sustainable approach to insect management. It is also critical to increase the awareness and understanding of roles beneficial insects play in an ecological approach to insect management. Therefore, we propose a comprehensive multi-state training program (20-hour short course) for University Extension faculty, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service field staff, and certified Master Gardeners from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho that will train future trainers so that they can teach others in insect identification and integrated pest management for insects. The trainings will be offered in at least four locations over a two-year period (Project Budget: $95,635). By using the “train-the-trainer” methodology we will use the multiplier effect to spread this critical knowledge and needed skills across the Pacific Northwest region, making this both an economical and effective approach. Widely disseminating the needed knowledge, skills, and practices through a network of trained professionals will impact beyond our region. The training project will also distribute insect identification and management materials through Extension publications and an insect management web-page. Training course materials and manual will also be provided on-line and student microscopes will be available to trainers to be used in local trainings. We will evaluate students with a pre and post training survey at the short course training program, plus evaluate the insect management programming subsequently offered by the trainers with an email survey. Use of on-line resources will be evaluated with the use of the web-based statistical program, Urchin. This project will broaden agricultural professionals’ exposure to specific approaches to sustainable production by increasing their skills and abilities in ecological insect management strategies. Producers will be empowered to optimizing on-farm biological resources and integrating knowledge of ecological insect cycles into their farming operations. In the long-term, we will improve agricultural production, pasture and rangeland health, and water and soil quality while protecting the health and safety of those involved in food and farm systems.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    • Audience: University Extension faculty in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, other agricultural professionals; Natural Resource Conservation Service field staff, producers, and certified Master Gardeners from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Activities and methods: Short Course Description: Insects are by far the most diverse and abundant organisms on earth. In this course students will learn basics of insect morphology that will enable them to identify main taxas in both natural and man-made ecosystems. Students will learn about the various orders and major families of insects that we encounter in the region. Total training hours: 20 hours of classroom instruction will occur over a three-day period. A follow-up project will be assigned to participants for collecting, mounting and identifying 50 insects’ families over a three to six month period following the Short Courses. Short Course locations: Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Hermiston, OR(2009); OSU Extension Office, Ontario, OR(2010) which sits on the Oregon/Idaho border; Community Education & Training Center, Colfax,WA(2009); and WSU Extension Office, Tri Cities, WA (2010). Participant Objectives - At the conclusion of this course, students will: Recognize on sight all orders of insects present in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, Identify major insect families found in the region, Know ecological insect management principles and strategies, and Use on-line resources to find information on how to manage insects using biological means. Short Course Participation Requirements: Participants will attend the 20-hour class and participate fully in all course activities. Participants will pass an insect identification and management strategies test during the course plus participants will collect, mount and identify 50 insect families as a take-home assignment. Participants will provide 10 service hours each in return for their training. They will meet this commitment by providing, conducting, and/or assisting in local insect training efforts in their local communities following their attendance in the short course. Short Course Syllabus Day 1 10 am to 5 pm AM Session -Introduction to Insects and Basic Morphology PM Session – Taxonomy and Use of Identification Keys Day 2 8 am to 5 pm AM Session – Insect Ecology PM Session – Field Collection and Visit Biological Control Site, Day 3 8 AM to 3 pm AM – Where to find information about insects, and ecological management strategies, exam PM – How to manage insects using integrated pest management strategies Short Course Instructors Silvia I. Rondon, Oregon State Extension Entomologist Christopher Marshall, Oregon State Arthropod Collection Curator Jim Young, Entomologist, Oregon State University Pathology Lab Short Course Facilitators Mary Corp, Oregon State University Extension Faculty Steve Reddy, University of Idaho Extension Faculty Stephen Van Vleet, Washington State University Extension Faculty Products: An expanded on-line collection of insect photos, teaching materials, and course training guide will be posted at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/hermiston/index.php. Plus a printed 12 page full color Extension publication (2000 copies) for use by the “train-the-trainers” when providing local insect identification and management trainings. A low resolution copy will also be available for viewing on-line.
    • Excellent stewardship of our natural resources is achieved by improving the knowledge and use of ecological insect management strategies that focus on sustainable farm and ranching methods. Increasing the knowledge of professionals in ecological insect management strategies will allow these professionals to transfer these strategies and principles to an even broader audience that will reach into rural communities across Oregon, Washington and Idaho, ultimately strengthening their local economic viability. Reducing pesticide use through integration of beneficial biological organisms into farming systems will improve agricultural production, rangeland health, and water and soil quality. It will also protect the health and safety of those involved in food and farm systems.
    • Short-term 40 participants trained in insect identification and management strategies with materials and improved skill levels so that they will be able to educate others about ecological insect management strategies. 2000 insects mounted into 40 mini collections created by participants for the purpose of insect identification and introducing beneficial insects that will be used as future training materials at subsequent agricultural and community outreach and education events. These mini collections go with the trainers thus dispersing them across a two to three state region. Increased knowledge and use of on-line insect identification, biological control and management resources by trainers and the broader agricultural community. Medium-term 400 hours of volunteer service hours as trainers conduct and/or assist in educating other agriculturalists, and/or community members about the important role that insects play in sustainable farming systems. Improve knowledge of insects at the local level as a result of training events. The program will educate over 400 additional agricultural industry and farm individuals, and community members, both adult and youth. Student microscopes (8) will be distributed to local Extension offices relative to where the most trainers reside and they will use them for their local training programs and insect identification. Long-term Improve agricultural production, pasture and rangeland health, and water and soil quality while protecting the health and safety of those involved in food and farm systems. Producers will be empowered to optimizing on-farm resources and integrating knowledge of ecological insect cycles and biological controls into their farming operations. Evaluation A pre- and post-evaluation of each training session will be conducted with a survey. The results of the survey will be shared with the instructors and included in our annual reports (Year 2) to WSARE. Trainers will be required to report to Project Director at up to 120 days following the training or as soon as they have completed their collections. Email reminders will be sent to participants at 90-120 days post training. A web-based survey will be conducted at one year following the training to gather data on how many trainers have conducted their local training sessions, how many people have participated in their trainings, how many local insects have been identified and how many insects have been added to their local collections. Increased use of OSU web-based insect resources will be evaluated by the use of the OSU web statistic service Urchin.
    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.