Integrating social and natural science to improve pollination outreach and education for farmers
This project involves the implementation and evaluation of three native bee workshops for apple, blueberry, and mixed-vegetable farmers in Maine. The workshops will take place in May and June, 2014, so that farmers can observe wild pollinators during the associated crop bloom and practice effective conservation strategies. In accordance with the project contract, the PIs will not begin substantive work on the project until March 2014. To date, two tasks associated with the project have been initiated: (1) the PIs have met to place orders for materials, begin the process of scheduling dates for the workshops, and identify avenues for advertising the workshops; (2) the PIs has begun preparing the institutional review board (IRB) proposal for the project through the University of Maine.
There are four objectives associated with this project:
1. Introduce a minimum of 60 farmers to native bee conservation and utilization strategies through a series of free workshops.
2. Document the obstacles farmers face to employing native bee conservation and utilization strategies following the native bee workshops.
3. Identify ways to improve future Extension outreach and education programs on native bee conservation and utilization, based on observations, feedback, and survey results from the workshops.
4. Engage in outreach to promote discussion and reflection among researchers, farmers and Extension personnel on the obstacles to integrating native bees into pollination management practices and ways to overcome these obstacles.
As we have not yet begun substantive work on this project, we have not yet completed any of these four objectives. However, we have begun work toward Objective 1 by meeting with project affiliates to place orders for materials, schedule dates and rain-dates for the workshops, and identify avenues for advertising the workshops.
We will begin substantive work on this project in March 2014. At that time we will beginning work on the following tasks, listed in sequential order:
1. March 2014: Plan and prepare for native bee workshops. Design survey instruments.
2. April 2014: Continue planning and preparation for native bee workshops. Advertise the workshops on Extension websites, on the SARE calendar, and in the MOFGA newsletter. Have key informants review and provide feedback on the survey instruments. Finalize survey design and print surveys.
3. May 2014: Host first native bee workshop for blueberry farmers at Blueberry Hill Farm in Jonesboro, Maine. Conduct pre-survey at workshop.
4. June 2014: Host second and third native bee workshops for apple and mixed vegetable farmers at Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, Maine. Conduct pre-survey at workshops.
5. July 2014: Data entry and analysis for pre-surveys. Print post-survey materials including pre-letter and postcard reminder.
6. August 2014: Administer the post-surveys to attendees from all three workshops.
7. September 2014: Data-entry and analysis for post-surveys. Present survey results and information on native bee conservation and utilization strategies at the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine.
8. October 2014: Design interview protocol. Conduct interviews.
9. November 2014: Transcribe interviews and perform qualitative analysis.
10. December 2014: Create native bee conservation and utilization Factsheet and post on Extension websites.
11. January 2015: Create internal report for Extension on improving pollination outreach and education for farmers. Present study results at the Maine Agricultural Trade Show.
12. February 2015: Print and distribute the internal report. Begin writing paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.
13. April 2015: Submit journal article. Present project results at pesticide accreditation meetings.
14. May 2015: Present project results at pesticide accreditation meetings.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
This project has not yet had an impact of farmers’ use of pollinator conservation practices, as the PIs will not begin work on the project until March 2014.
University of Maine
305 Deering Hall
Orono, ME 04469
Office Phone: 2075812989
University of Maine
5773 South Stevens Hall 236A
Orono, ME 04469
Office Phone: 2075811885