- Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, networking, workshop
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement
- Pest Management: integrated pest management
- Sustainable Communities: partnerships, social networks
Given the complexity of pesticide risk reduction and biologically-based pest management, many Extension faculty members desire technical support to construct and lead integrated pest management (IPM) initiatives with farmers and other stakeholders. Through a needs visioning session conducted in 2015, agricultural Extension faculty identified four desired outcomes that would enable them to increase efficacy in their IPM education programs: 1) training in adult education, 2) mechanisms for increasing clientele feedback, 3) a tighter statewide network of professionals to work together on education programs, and 4) more time and funding to support their efforts. In response to this input, a professional learning program was initiated to streamline the avenues of support for Extension faculty in developing collaborative learning partnerships. Through providing in-project support using the Adaptive Learner-Centered Education (ALCE) approach (Halbleib and Jepson, 2016), project leaders fostered longer-term cohesive partnerships. Through the provision of evidence-based teaching and learning, coupled with technical pest management support, faculty expanded partnerships with new stakeholders, leading farmers, and others.
Additionally, two new learning mechanisms were initiated to expand the reach of the project: 1. a term-length professional learning course, Extend Your Teaching and Learning to Enhance Sustainable Agriculture, for agricultural Extension faculty from across the state, and 2. the Extension Teaching Network; a monthly online gathering to share insights and brainstorm new approaches for Extension program design and implementation.
The three project objectives include:
- To conduct professional development in participatory, learner-centered Extension education program design and implementation with a cohort of Extension faculty partners.
- To enable IPM implementation and pesticide risk reduction by enhancing faculty and partner skills in the development of new forms of decision support resources for use by farmers and other professionals.
- To enable a functional, statewide network in Extension IPM and teaching, that grows and reinforces itself over time.