Empowering Ag Professionals through a Beneficial and Pest Insect Train-the-Trainer Short Course Program for Oregon, Washington, - Idaho
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. Three short courses were conducted. One course is planned for 2011. 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.
We have reached a diverse audience (58 participants) including University Extension faculty, other agricultural professionals field staff, producers, certified agronomists, growers and certified Master Gardeners from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. One additional short course is planned in late spring of 2011 in TriCities, Washington.
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; and the Washington State University Extension Community Education & Training Center, Colfax,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.
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.
“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.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Fifty eight (58) participants with diverse backgrounds such as University Extension faculty in Oregon, and Washington, crop consultants, and certified Master Gardeners from Oregon, and Washington, and Idaho 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.
An online follow-up survey was conducted in November, 2010 through January, 2011 with Survey Monkey (http://www.surveymonkey.com/) to quantify on-going 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 with 36 respondents out of 58 participants (62%) reporting.
Participants reported continuing to increase their insect collections (72%). They also report training others to collect insects (29%), identifying insects (85%) and training others to identify insects (50%). Insect educational efforts have included informal activities (75%) and work related educational efforts (66%). Trainees have conducted or facilitated educational activities in classrooms, workshops, garden clinics, public schools and farmers markets. Several trainees also indicated that they are planning additional activities this spring and summer in 2011.
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 218 hours with additional hours coming this spring and summer. Participants have until November, 2011 to finish their outreach efforts.
Insect Identification web page 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
Introduction to Insects and Basic Morphology
Labels Template (xls.)
Applying Your Insect ID Skills
These online resources were assembled into a Short Course Notebook and hard copies were distributed in the classroom for each participant.
The following awards have been received as an outcome of our training program:
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.
The following presentations have been made to extension professionals sharing about our training program:
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.
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