Four Important Principles
This past spring the ANREP Executive Committee undertook a training to improve our leadership skills, teamwork, and efficiency. The training utilized the StrengthsFinder™ assessment tool as well as the book, Strengths Based Leadership, by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (Gallup Press, 2008). I can honestly say we gained a lot from this training, and it has already started to impact our work.
One portion of the training covered what research says that we, as an Executive Committee, need to provide our members. In short, we learned that to lead effectively we must be trustworthy, compassionate, stable, and provide hope (now and in the future). I know you're thinking these are not new ideas, but it's critical for us to understand and never forget just how important these four principles/truths are.
As your leaders, we owe it to you to behave in ways that are always trustworthy, demonstrating equal compassion for every member and their concerns, unwavering in our word and commitments, and encouraging our members to press ahead for excellence in the important work we do. However, here's what we ask of you: hold us accountable. If you have a concern about our actions or decisions, let us know. If you do not get satisfaction, tell us. If you have a suggestion, please share it. If you want to step up your involvement in the organization, let us get you connected to committees or assignments that will utilize your strengths to improve ANREP. And, if you want to influence the future direction of ANREP, get involved in our newly launched strategic visioning initiative. Working together, we can be a force for positive environmental change and serve the greater good through our profession.
While it's hard to believe, summer is almost half over. I hope to meet many of you at the upcoming Galaxy IV conference in Pittsburgh; it's not too late to sign up. If you cannot make it to Galaxy IV, plan to attend the upcoming ANREP professional improvement webinars and start packing for the ANREP 2014 Biennial Conference in Sacramento, CA, next May. The old saw, "the world is run by those who show up" is still true, but it has new dimensions in this virtual age.
Sanford "Sandy" Smith
Galaxy IV First Timers
We are looking forward to seeing you at the 2013 Galaxy IV Annual Session in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, very soon! If you will attend the conference as a first timer, you will want to be sure and attend the first timer's webinar on August 16, 2013, at 2:00pm EST. Save the date!
This upcoming free orientation webinar has been prepared especially for first timers providing you with useful information to assure you a successful first conference. The August 16, 2013, webinar will be 60 minutes in length. Lora Lee Frazier Howard, webinar chair; Peter Wulfhorst; and Ginny Rosenkranz will be presenting the webinar.
Join us for this free webinar!
Date: August 16, 2013
Time: 2:00pm EST
To attend the webinar, you will need a computer, a screen, audio speakers, and a microphone. If you don't have a microphone, the technology incorporates a chat feature that allows you to ask questions by typing. If you have not used the technology before now, it is user friendly. It is often helpful to do a full system re-start of your computer before starting the meeting to minimize technical challenges.
Call for Abstracts - ANREP 2014 Meeting in Sacramento
The next ANREP Conference will be held on May 18-22, 2014 in Sacramento, California. This promises to be an outstanding meeting, with a great opportunity to see a broad array of natural resource issues (aquatic ecosystems, rangeland/woodland management, forest and fire management, agriculture and natural resource interface) in the field tours, and to get caught up with innovative extension programs from throughout the country. The first call for abstracts was issued several weeks ago, and there are still opportunities to get your topics submitted. The deadline for submission is August 30.
For complete information on the conference, the field tours, the general schedule, and the form for submitting abstracts, go to the conference website at: http://ucanr.edu/ANREP
If you have any questions, please contact the University of California organizers, Sherry Cooper, Bill Frost, or Rick Standiford.
Feral Hogs' Impacts and Management in Aquatic Systems
Image 1: Feral hog
Hogs were most likely first brought to Florida in 1539, when Hernando de Soto brought swine to provision a settlement established at Charlotte Harbor(1). During the next four centuries, settlers brought pigs with them throughout Florida. Many of these animals escaped and established feral populations. The population of feral hogs is estimated to exceed 500,000 animals in Florida. Florida is second only to Texas in the population size of feral hogs.
Wallowing is of particular concern for many aquatic systems managers. Feral hogs will wallow along the shoreline to help them cool off in Florida's warm environment. They also wallow to help them get rid of pests such as fleas, ticks and other parasites. Literally overnight, feral swine can destroy the shoreline vegetation and littoral plantings installed and cared for over the years.
So what can be done about this feral hog problem? Adaptive management is the key, because no one method of feral hog management is 100% effective(2). A site-specific plan will be needed for managing feral hog problems in aquatic systems.
Hunting as the sole management technique is rarely effective for significant reduction of large populations of feral hogs(2). Instead, rigorous corral trapping is recommended for catching large groups of feral hogs. A regiment of pre-baiting the corral trap over a period of several days will help lure hogs into the trap. Hogs will eventually wise-up to this strategy, so relocating the corral may be necessary.
If corral trapping does not sound feasible on your site, then this is where adaptive management comes into play. Basically, do whatever it takes to get the job done while complying with the law and local site restrictions. For example, the use of firearms and dogs may be prohibited on the site you are managing. Some sites may require you to have a hunting license if you use firearms or archery(3). However, feral hogs are usually treated like domestic livestock, which does not require a license in Florida. Movement of live feral hogs may require a permit(4).
The UF/IFAS St Lucie County Cooperative Extension conducted a feral hog management practices survey to determine what practices are being undertaken by public and private natural areas managers. Eighty-seven land managers responded to our survey; 82% of them were managing properties larger than 200 acres.
The majority of the respondents were managing public lands. All of the respondents indicated that rooting was the major hog damage they experienced, followed by wallowing at 70%. In addition, 47% of these respondents indicated that the practices they currently used were only marginally effective, while 25% of them indicated total failure.
There is an obvious need for increased education to help teach land managers how to adopt an adaptive management strategy to improve feral hog management practices. For additional information, contact Ken Gioeli, UF/IFAS Natural Resource Extension Agent for St Lucie County. To view the Feral Hog Management Practices Inventory, visit the UF/IFAS St Lucie County Extension website.
- Giuliano, W. Wild Hogs in Florida: Ecology and Management. University of Florida/IFAS. 2010. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw322
- Hamrick, B., Smith, M., Jaworowski, C., Strickland, B. A Landowner's Guide for Wild Pig Management - Practical Methods for Wild Pig Control. Mississippi State University. 2011. http://msucares.com/pubs/publications/p2659.pdf
- Florida Hunting Regulations. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 2011-2012. http://myfwc.com/media/1456328/2011-2012-Hunting-Regulations.pdf
- Florida Feral Swine Trappers. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Revised 2007. http://myfwc.com/media/546997/Safety_FDACS-FeralSwine.pdf
Submitted by K. T. Gioeli and J. Huffman
Ken T. Gioeli
Natural Resources Extension Agent
Master Naturalist Facilitator
University of Florida / IFAS
Plant Germination and Early Growth: Augmented with a Biochar Coating
Background: High altitude horticulture is challenging for a small producer due to the growing season and stressful climate. Greenhousing and soil augmentation are proving to be successful methodologies for overcoming such challenges. Over the last four years, the Gatusi Solutions team developed methodologies with pyrogenic carbon (biochar) augmentation to address items such as nutrient uptake and radio nucleotide remediation, as well as high altitude horticulture and plant hardiness. The methodologies have been successful and warrant further research, with observed harvest results being applicable to any population residing over 5,000 feet in elevation attempting to grow edible vegetables in poor, cold soils, facing a short growing season with cold nights and warm days, high ultraviolet (solar radiation) conditions, dehydrating winds, and low atmospheric pressures.
Image 2: Bean plants growing in Schmitt's greenhouse. The mature leaves are sun scalded due to high UV and heat indices. June 2012.
Experiment Premise and Design: As a representative population, residents of Teller County, Colorado face these issues as small producers and home gardeners. Operating in Teller County, Gatusi Solutions is a not-for-profit high altitude sustainability research entity, located at the K.A.G. Ranch, south of Divide, at an elevation of 9,800 ft. Dr. Schmitt used the K.A.G. Ranch's passive solar greenhouse for this research.
Mark J. Platten, Teller County CSUE Director, duplicated the experiment methodology at a research site located in Woodland Park, Colorado. Both experimental sites were in Teller County, approximately 13 miles apart. Woodland Park has an elevation of 8400 ft. The approximate altitude difference is 1400 ft., however, it does not affect experimental results.
Heirloom vegetable seeds were used for both control plantings and augmented plantings: Sumpter cucumber, Dark Star zucchini, and Blue Lake bush beans.
Hypothesis: A pyrogenic carbon-based seed coating will assist early seedling growth, resulting in sturdier, hardier, and healthier young plants.
Secondary hypothesis: The growth-to-maturity rate for healthy vegetables is accelerated, resulting in a longer but earlier harvest.
Pyrogenic Carbon / Biochar Explained: Essentially, biomass is burned at a high temperature, driving out molecular water, leaving a black and lightweight substance. The sources are numerous. Two examples are dead trees from natural or man-made causes and harvest leftovers. It is, therefore, a manner in which to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Adding pyrogenic carbon to a soil allows greater uptake of essential plant nutrients such as Ca, K, Mg, and P, due to its high cation (ion +) exchange capacity. It is inert, loosens the soil, reduces the acidity, and insulates soils in hot climates. Use of the substance goes back into early human history, with pockets of augmented soil known as Amazonian Black Earth, still in use today. It can be used to produce bioenergy, permanently sequester carbon, and increase crop yields by improving soil and water quality. Each ton of biochar stored in soils, sequesters from two to three tons of CO2 from the atmosphere: 1 ton pure C = 3.67 ton CO2. Over the last six years, there has been an increase of experimentation and global involvement to use this substance for agriculture... trying to relearn its benefits.
Methodology Overview: Coated and non-coated seeds were started on warming mats (Schmitt) on 15 April, a process standard for high altitude horticulture early growing season preparations, while Platten started his without a warming mat. Schmitt's seedlings were to be transplanted to two greenhouse plots by mid-May, while Platten's seedlings were to be transplanted in his raised beds at the Aspen Valley Ranch.
One plot in the K.A.G. Ranch greenhouse had pyrogenic carbon-augmented soil. Both greenhouse plots on the K.A.G. Ranch used local Pikes Peak regolith soil, augmented with nutrients and mulch. Mr. Platten's containers used the same seeds (coated and non-coated) but planted in Pikes Peak regolith augmented with amendments. Mr. Platten also had one plot open to the natural elements, one with a light, 30% row covering wrapped in Diabetalon for season extending, and a third with a heavier, Solexx 3mm double wall poly cover. Growth, health, and harvest records were to be kept weekly through harvest. Due to coating issues, the plants did not mature and produce fruit.
At both experiment locations, cotyledons of coated seeds emerged damaged. It was postulated that the coating was too hard for the cotyledons to grow properly. It is a well-established agricultural fact that some seeds will not grow if coated. Thus, the decision was to try a different seed and a different formula for the coating. Over the next few weeks, Schmitt acquired an heirloom bush bean known as Cherokee Wax, and sent them to Hawk for another coating. Hawk also coated remaining zucchini and cucumber seeds with the second formula.
Harvest Results with second coating formula:
- Four coated bean plants "Cherokee Wax" and four non-coated
- Five pounds of beans produced total harvest for each group.
- Noticeable differences between the groups were: earlier leaf set and increased early vigor of the coated bean plants versus non-coated.
Zucchini: all non-coated seedlings died; three coated survived. No harvestable fruit; vigorous leaf set, large blossoms.
Cucumber: One non-coated survived; one coated survived, set blossoms, then died. No harvestable fruit.
Platten (outside plots)
- 12 coated bean plants "Cherokee Wax" and 13 non-coated survived
- 64.2 oz. coated total yield; 48.6 oz. non-coated total yield
- The coated beans averaged a 43% greater yield, per bean, across the three plots and all three plots showed higher yield per bean with the coated beans.
The harvest yield metric of about 1-pound increase at harvest for the coated wax bean does demonstrate an increase in yield. By plant count, there was a 43% higher rate of production for the coated seeds, versus the non-coated seeds. Also, there was an increase during the early growth vigor of the plants, which may have contributed to their overall health to harvest.
- The coated seeds augmented nutritional needs required for early growth and resistance to external growth factors.
- The variety "Cherokee Wax" bean seed tolerated the pyrogenic carbon coating, formula #2.
Summary and Conclusion: The second coating formula yielded a greater survivability-to-harvest rate than did the first coating, therefore, the second coating proved to be more agreeable to the seed type chosen for the experiment.
- Cherokee Wax: 100% with a nice harvest yield significantly higher than the non-coated plants.
- Zucchini: 3 of 4 coated survived, producing lots of leaf and large blossoms.
- Cucumber: 1 of 4 coated survived, producing a good climbing stem, leaves, and large blossoms.
To revisit the hypotheses: A pyrogenic carbon-based seed coating will assist early seedling growth, resulting in sturdier, hardier, and healthier young plants.
The second seed coating (wax beans) proved this hypothesis in several ways:
- Seedlings were strong and healthy, and matured to a harvestable yield of approximately 4 ounces more for the coated seeds compared to the non-coated seedlings for Schmitt's plants. Platten's coated seeds significantly outperformed the non-coated seeds in all three plots with a 43% greater yield per plant on average.
- In both the greenhouse environment with Schmitt, and exterior with Platten, the plants were vigorous and hardy. They survived in spite of little care and extreme growing conditions.
The secondary hypothesis: The growth-to-maturity rate for healthy vegetables is accelerated, resulting in a longer but earlier harvest.
- Schmitt began harvesting the Wax beans in late June and Platten in August. Harvest was completed in August for Schmitt and in September for Platten. The yield was 43% higher per plant than for the non-coated beans (Platten). From four plants, the yield was five pounds (Schmitt).
Further research is warranted for seed coating number two. It was apparent that this coating made a difference in plant vigor and yield, versus the non-coated seeds. It is suggested that large and hard seeds, such as beans, be further investigated for large-scale coating and planting. Softer seeds did not do well as recorded above, and therefore are not recommended for the first or second coating formulae. A pyrogenic carbon seed coating appears to make a difference for early plant growth and is worthy of continued investigation for small and large-scale agricultural usability. This is especially true, given current weather conditions, which appear to be trending towards hotter, drier growing seasons.
Submitted by Mark J. Platten
Teller County Extension Director
Colorado State University
Reducing Residential Water Consumption
Image 3: Using micro-irrigation.
The focus of the Florida-Friendly
LandscapingTM (FFL) program strives to preserve and protect Florida's water resources including water conservation, quality, and quantity. This program promotes its nine principles by using statewide public outreach and education. As mentioned in prior ANREP issues, the principles are: right plant, right place; water efficiently; fertilize appropriately; mulch; attract wildlife; manage yard pests responsibly; recycle; reduce stormwater runoff; and protect the waterfront.
Agent and staff presented monthly workshops free of charge for residents. Workshops included Compost Happens, Water-Wise (micro-irrigation and landscape tips), and Rainwater Harvesting.
The Compost Happens workshop taught attendees how to recycle kitchen and yard waste while creating a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Instructions were provided on compostable kitchen and yard waste materials (greens/nitrogens, browns/carbons), how to build and manage a compost pile, types of compost bins (holding and turning units), compost methods (aggressive and passive), and compost uses.
The Water-Wise workshop educated residents on how to have a healthy and attractive lawn and landscape while conserving water, and provided tips on monitoring rainfall, using mulches, and installing and using micro-irrigation. Presentations included the types of micro-irrigatio
n available (micro-sprays, micro-bubblers, and drip), advantages of micro-irrigation versus an in-ground irrigation system, potential problems and solutions that may arise with micro-irrigation, and maintenance.
The Rainwater Harvesting workshop presented information on how to decrease potable water use in the landscape, erosion, and stormwater runoff by using rain barrels and cisterns. There is a live demonstration on creating a rain barrel including drilling and installing the spigot, instructions on overflow accommodations, connecting multiple barrels, painting, and maintenance.
Outcomes and impacts over the five-year period from 2008 through 2012 include:
- 13,260 residents attended workshops (3,456 Compost, 4,242 Water-Wise, 5,562 Rainwater Harvesting).
- Significant knowledge gain increase from pre- to post- survey data:
- Compost Happens: 40% increase on types of yard and kitchen waste to compost, 37% compost uses, and 35% compost benefits
- Water-Wise: 42% on tips on lawns, mulching, and irrigation; 58% on microirrigation; and 60% on installation of microirrigation
- Rainwater Harvesting: 63% on rain barrel assembly, 50% on conserving potable water, and 30% on reducing stormwater runoff
- Water-Wise Workshop attendees that installed a low-volume irrigation system reported an average monthly savings of 62 gallons of water.
- 39% of Rainwater Harvesting workshop attendees reported monthly dollar savings and decreases in potable water use. This savings translated to an annual reduction of potable water use for landscape irrigation of 67,200 gallons.
- 84% of the Compost Happens workshop attendees used their compost bin, and 23% reported recycling at least three 32-gallon containers of combined food waste and yard debris each month after attending the workshop. This behavior change resulted in a minimum of thirty-six 32-gallon containers (or 5.7 cubic yards) per year per household recycled on-site versus transported to yard waste recycling centers.
- 99% return rate on pre- and post- surveys, which must be turned in to receive free items (compost bin and thermometer, micro-irrigation kit, rain barrel). This virtually guaranteed survey completion and submission.
If you would like more information about our Compost Happens, Water-Wise, and Rainwater Harvesting programs, contact Lynn Barber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by Lynn Barber
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Agent
UF/IFAS - Hillsborough County Extension
Climate Change Adaptation for States, Tribes, and Local Governments
In cooperation with the EPA's Office of Strategic Environmental Management, North Carolina State University hosted a virtual symposium on climate change adaptation for states, tribes, and local governments in a series of twelve on-line sessions from June 3-12, 2013. The series brought together tribal, state, and local stakeholders, EPA representatives, and experts from a variety of sectors to consider the impact of EPA's new Climate Change Adaptation Plan on implementation of federal environmental programs, and to present case studies, tools and solutions to some of the most pressing climate change adaptation challenges.
Individual webinars were stand-alone educational opportunities for governments, planners, and policy makers; participants could attend one or more webinars as met their particular needs. Participants obtained the most current knowledge and information applicable to states, tribes and communities on adaptation practice and implementation to build community resiliency.
The opening webinar introduced the EPA's new Climate Change Adaptation Plan and what it means for states and tribes in implementing their own plans. Other sessions included Planning for Sea Level Rise; Water, Communities & Planning; Air Quality & Health Impacts of Climate Change; Achieving Resiliency to Drought; Tribal Climate Adaptation; Emergency Preparedness and Hazard Mitigation; Risk Management and Insurance Strategies; Adaptation and Equity for Vulnerable Populations; Decision Support Tools Caf�; Successful Response to Coastal Adaptation Challenges; and Climate Adaptation: The Way Forward. All webinars allowed for interactive Q&A with the presenters.
The series' total attendance was 1235 (556 unique email addresses), with representation from 44 states and Puerto Rico, as well as seven other countries. Average webinar attendance was 103; individuals attended an average of 2.26 webinars each. All sessions were recorded and are archived at the Symposium Webinar Series website at www.climate-adaptation-symposium.org. For questions contact Susan Moore at email@example.com or Jim McCarter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by Susan Moore
Extension Associate Professor
Director, Forestry & Environmental Outreach Program
North Carolina State University
Extension Agents in Florida are gearing up to implement the Sustainable FloridiansSM program on a statewide basis with the help of a statewide coordinator. The discussion-to-action program aims to develop leaders for a sustainable future by educating participants about wise use of resources, household and community resiliency, and the impacts of individual and global lifestyle choices. The program provides Florida specific actions for conserving energy, water, and vehicle miles travelled while creating and promoting opportunities for community level leadership.
The success of the program revolves around classroom training, multimedia presentations and discussion groups. The participatory class structure allows participants to network and share ideas with like-minded individuals and this motivates the training cohort to implement conservation and efficiency actions while becoming engaged citizens. The Northwest Earth Institute Discussion Course on Choices for Sustainable Living is a required text for the class and forms the basis of group discussions. Supplemental readings, resources, and web links complement the text.
The core program includes six weekly sessions that focus on topics such as Energy, Food, Water, and Consumerism. Inclusion of elective classes is determined by county faculty and may include Land Use, Transportation, and Coastal Ecosystem classes. Participants earn a Certificate of Completion by attending five of the six core classes.
Image 5: Program graduates
At present, five of the 67 counties in Florida have either piloted or have active training programs. Four of the five counties are included in major metropolitan statistical areas: Tallahassee, Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater, Bradenton-Sarasota and Orlando-Kissimmee. At least four other counties plan to implement the training in the coming year utilizing the new framework. New partner counties are encouraged to network with established programs to become familiar with the delivery and evaluation methodologies.
Current initiatives underway include a youth engagement model utilizing the current Sustainable FloridiansSM materials. This will promote active intergenerational engagement with Florida specific issues to ensure that Florida is a sustainable place to live, work, and play. For more information about Sustainable FloridiansSM, contact Ramona Madhosingh-Hector, Pinellas County Extension Faculty, email@example.com or Kathleen Ruppert, Statewide Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by Ramona Madhosingh-Hector
Regional Specialized Agent - Urban Sustainability
Pinellas County Extension
University of Florida/IFAS
When 1890s Meets 1862: A Congregational Extension Meeting in Alabama
The cross pollination of land grant universities was evident last month when the1890s Agroforestry Consortium, in collaboration with the PINEMAP Climate Change Initiative, hosted a climate change workshop for the Southern region at Alabama A&M University in Normal, Alabama. Environmental education, forest management, and the latest climate knowledge were three paramount educational sessions included in the two-day workshop that included active discussion, fruitful collaboration, and enjoyable fellowship. The workshop included field tours of A&M's Experiment Station, where forest and wildlife research were highlighted. Abundant provisions, sunshine, and luxurious accommodations made for pleasant discourse and sharing. Transport provided by the University bus service proved ideal for unity and discourse - while ensuring that we all stuck together for the duration.
Host Dr. Joshua Idassi convened the consortium of agroforestry members to hear the latest about possible synergies and grants to strengthen the outreach potential when the two land grant systems work in unison. Our gracious Alcorn State colleague, Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd (Alcorn State) was there in spirit and assured that travel and per diem was covered. Dr. Bill Hubbard, Southern Regional Extension Forester, along with SREF Extension Forester Leslie Boby and fellow ANREPers: Heather Dinon, NCSU State Climate Office, Martha Monroe, UF, and Mark Megalos, NCSU completed the PINEMAP Extension Team. The audience also heard a presentation from Amadou Diop, Outreach Liaison, USDA Forest Service.
Major topics included:
- Perceptions of climate change: Six Americas in the general public and extension faculty
- Climate Change Basics: Climate 101
- Forest Management and professional forester's perceptions and attitudes concerning climate change
- PINEMAP's Decision Support System
- Forestry and Agroforestry Strategies, Needs, Plans, and Futures
"PINEMAP" stands for Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation, and Adaptation Project and is one of three Coordinated Agricultural Projects funded in 2011 by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). PINEMAP focuses on the 20 million acres of planted pine forests managed by private landowners in the Atlantic and Gulf coastal states from Virginia to Texas, plus Arkansas and Oklahoma.
The 1890s Agroforestry Consortioum is a network of extension and research personnel from landgrants and partners working together to advance agroforestry, silvopasture, and other combined land use strategies. Their recent publication Profitable Farms and Woodlands A Practical Guide in Agroforestry for Landowners, Farmers, and Ranchers can be accessed at: http://nac.unl.edu/documents/morepublications/profitable_farms.pdf
Image 4: Meeting attendees
The group shared ideas and made plans to reconvene next year to judge accomplishments and reinvigorate grant funding opportunities and plans for moving forward. For details on the process please contact Bill Hubbard (email@example.com).
Submitted by Mark Megalos
Extension Associate Professor
North Carolina State University
FANREP Scholarship: Making Dreams a Reality
Thanks to the gracious funding from the Florida Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (FANREP) and my District Extension Director, Dr. Charles Vavrina, I had the honor of attending the 19th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM) in Estes Park, Colorado. During the symposium I presented my poster on the Traveling Tree Walk, an educational tool utilized in Pinellas County, Florida to educate citizens about the ecosystem services of trees. I also had the pleasure of conversing with professionals from all over the world, an experience I will never forget.
ISSRM provided the opportunity to network at the international level and learn about research and programs taking place in 32 countries.
Image 6: Lara Miller, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Natural Resources Extension Agent presenting her Traveling Tree Walk Poster at the International Symposium on Society and Resource Management Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. Photo Credit: Patrick Austin Freeland
I was exposed to a variety of presentation styles and program ideas, learning from each one and identifying ones I will be able to apply in my work as a Natural Resources Extension Agent. The extremely diverse backgrounds and experiences represented by symposium delegates opened my eyes to new perspectives of natural resource issues. Through the many conversations I had with participants, I was able to practice my "elevator speech" for Extension's role in society and witness how well the concept of Extension is perceived by others. The ISSRM conference provided a unique occasion for me to be surrounded by professionals outside of the Extension world. As a young agent striving to succeed, I am grateful for this opportunity.
Traveling Tree Walk: An Innovative Project
My love for trees and background in forestry have been a driving force in the development of extension programs about these commonly overlooked natural resources. At the Association for Natural Resource Extension Professionals (ANREP) conference in 2012, I attended an abstract session about a project in Ohio focusing on the ecosystem services of trees. I was fascinated by the idea and the simplicity of their project and thought there couldn't be a better fit for Pinellas County, Florida, a highly urbanized area where peoples' connection to nature is easily lost. Upon returning from the conference, I began developing signs (Figure 1) based on the Ohio model, but quickly realized the terminology was going to be an issue for relaying the ecosystem services concept to the public. I worked closely with volunteers and extension staff to get a better idea of how to communicate technical terms with my audience. Their input was extremely valuable and led me to rephrasing and rewording major portions of the signs and associated brochure.
Figure 1. Example of a Traveling Tree Walk Sign for the Red Maple ( Acer Rubrum)
The Traveling Tree Walk is designed to increase participants knowledge of ecosystem services, increase the amount participants value trees, and increase the number of trees participants plant in their yards (if applicable). Common trees throughout the county were identified for the sign-making process. Signs were designed in the shape of a large price tag to emphasize the ecosystem services component of this project. Signs include specific tree statistics from the National Tree Benefits Calculator (www.treebenefits.com), photographs of the tree, and a QR code linking to a factsheet of the particular tree species participants are viewing. Various natural sites (parks and preserves) will reserve the signs for a three month period through an online EventBrite registration page (http://travelingtreewalk.eventbrite.com/).
The Traveling Tree Walk is accompanied by a brochure defining and explaining ecosystem services (Figure 2). Participants use these brochures to identify the positive impacts trees have on the environment. Knowledge gain and behavior change are evaluated with an online survey accessed by a QR code or link supplied on the brochures. The Traveling Tree Walk is a fun way to educate participants about ecosystem services trees provide. Its unique design allows for easy sharing among extension agents and other natural resource organizations. This project can be adapted and implemented anywhere in the world. The Traveling Tree Walk has been an exciting project to work on and has taught me a lot about what it takes to build and design and effective extension program.
Image 7: Participant viewing Traveling Tree Walk sign (left) and participant utilizing survey QR code inside the associated brochure (right). Photo Credit: Lara Miller
Natural Resource Agent
Pinellas County Extension
University of Florida/IFAS
Leveraging the Extension Partnership in Counties
Do you wish you had more diverse options for venues to present your extension programs? In Pinellas County, we are fortunate to offer programs at two additional sites in the county as a result of a new partnership between Pinellas County Extension and Pinellas County Government. In 2010, Extension faculty assumed management of the educational centers at two of the county's most cherished Preserves: Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center (WIP) located in St. Petersburg and Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center (BCP) in Tarpon Springs to the north. The partnership aims to increase visitor attendance and promote the delivery of measurable environmental edcuational programs that complement the natural attributes of the county-owned facilities.
Faculty in the Sustainable Living Program Area manage and oversee the programmatic operations - a Sea Grant Marine Extension Agent at WIP and a Natural Resource Extension Agent at BCP. Other Extension faculty utilize the centers to deliver education to the community-at-large with the aim of operating the centers as community centers that offer a range of program options and provide geographic opportunities to interact with larger county audiences.
To support the mission of "empower citizens to improve their quality of life and establish a connection with their environment", agents regularly deliver educational hikes, in-classroom trainings, hands-on workshops and informational citizen science programs. All of the programs focus on natural resources in the coastal and upland ecosystems e.g. water quality, coastal habitats, urban forests, and plant and wildlife identification. Supplemental programs focus on sustainability awareness, resource conservation, and youth development.
Both WIP and BCP are supported by active Friends groups and volunteers who provide facility and program support. Faculty are actively engaged with existing volunteers and support organizations through volunteer training and community events. In 2012, adult and youth volunteers donated more than 11,000 hours or $205,260 to support programs and operations at the centers.
In 2012, faculty, community instructors, and volunteers delivered 201 educational classes with 5,275 participants, and 131 guided hikes with 1,262 participants. Customer satisfaction surveys revealed that 86% (n=49) of participants rated hikes as "Excellent" and 90% (n=368) rated educational classes as "Excellent" or "Very Good". Both centers regularly receive excellent reviews on Trip Advisor.
The wide variety of programs offered at the centers highlight the resources available to county residents through UF/IFAS Extension. Extension's efforts contribute to increases in center attendance, increase visibility of UF/IFAS Extension in the county, and support the goal of providing environmental education that benefit the public.
Submitted by -
Ramona Madhosingh-Hector, Urban Sustainability Agent
Libby Carnahan, Sea Grant Extension Agent
Lara Miller, Natural Resource Extension Agent
Pinellas County Extension
University of Florida/IFAS
Water Agency Eurasian Mussel Action Program
Invasive Dreissenid (or Eurasian) mussels (zebra, Dreissena polymorpha, and quagga mussels, Dreissenarostriformis bugensis) pose a serious threat to California water systems. The first significant infestation of Dreissenids in the arid west (quagga mussels) was discovered in Lake Mead, NV, in January 2007. The mussels quickly spread through the canals and pipelines of California's Metropolitan Water District (MWD) that provides water to roughly 19 million people in southern California. Quagga and Zebra mussels are prolific and can rapidly foul (attach to) hard substrates, including trash racks, pipes, screens, strainers, and canals. Water flow rates can decrease substantially, even if structures are not completely clogged. The mussels also damage pipes and other equipment, necessitating expensive repairs or replacement. In the Great Lakes, where Dreissenids were first introduced from Europe, costs for management of infestations in water and power facilities have been significant. Economic impacts in the arid west could be greater due to large-scale water delivery systems and other issues. The MWD now spends approximately $10 million per year to manage their quagga mussel infestation.
Image 8: Quagga mussels fouling a pipe submerged clean in the Colorado River in Nevada and removed after 3 months (Photo courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife)
While Dreissenid mussels also impact aquatic ecology, aquaculture, and recreation, various outreach programs exist to address these issues and audiences. Because outreach to the western water industry has been limited and Dreissenid infestations present unique challenges for western water systems, the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) collaborated with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and an expert advisory committee to a develop a targeted outreach program for water managers. The extensive movement of water for agriculture and municipal use in the arid west provides a vast infrastructure that can be fouled by mussels. Water storage in reservoirs, an integral part of water transport in the arid west, precludes treatment of these systems with the chemicals used in the Great Lakes and elsewhere for mussel control. Because water managers are the true experts in their systems and will need to play a substantial role in developing viable mussel management strategies for the west, principles of co-learning and interactive processes guided program development.
The UCCE Water Agency Eurasian Mussel Action Program (WAEMAP) uses a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach to engage water managers and encourage them to think about and develop Dreissenid prevention and control plans for their facilities. HACCP, originally created by Pillsbury to address food safety issues, is a systematic planning process where an organization's activities are described and analyzed to understand where critical risks for various problems are present. HACCP has been successfully utilized by both the USFWS and Sea Grant to deal with issues in aquatic systems. In this project, we adapted a USFWS HACCP Planning to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species training manual (http://www.haccp-nrm.org/forms.asp) to focus on the issue of Dreissenid mussels in water facilities, and developed a one day workshop curriculum.
Image 9: Dreissenid mussels attach to any hard or filamentous surface in aquatic environments. These dead bushes were submerged in El Capitan Reservoir in San Diego County during higher water and were completely covered with mussels. (Photo by Jodi Cassell)
During 2011 and 2012, a total of six workshops were held in northern and central California counties, with 103 workshop attendees including staff from water and irrigation districts, government agencies, legislative offices, and consultants. Due to the interactive format, workshops were limited to 25 participants each. Participants were asked to complete an evaluation at the close of each workshop to provide feedback on self-assessed learning, workshop process, and content; responses were overwhelmingly positive. Longer-term evaluation of post-workshop activities and co-learning is on-going. Two additional workshops will be held in fall of 2013.
Further information on Dreissenid threats to western water systems and the WAEMAP program may be found at: http://ucanr.edu/sites/WAEMAP/. In the future, we would like to provide "Train the Trainer" programs for Extension staff and others in the west interested in providing this training for their clientele. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Jodi Cassell.
Submitted by Jodi Cassell
Natural Resources Advisor, Solano County
University of California Cooperative Extension
Using Community-Based Social Marketing in Natural Resources Extension Programming
What do community tree planting programs, homeowner use of fertilizer on turfgrass, and boaters that damage seagrass beds with their propellers all have in common? All of them can benefit from Extension programming that looks at behavior change the same way that commercial marketers look to sell a product.
In three Florida counties, Extension agents are experimenting with the tools of community-based social marketing (CBSM) in order to develop programs that are better targeted towards stakeholders, involve the community in research and program planning and have outcomes that produce changes in behavior that protect the environment and conserve natural resources. All of these goals can be accomplished through an approach to social change that has been in development since the 1970's. The field of social marketing originated in public health campaigns in order to improve behavior change results at a cost-effective price. CBSM borrows from commercial marketing in that audiences are researched and placed into segments based on shared characteristics, similar lifestyles or propensity to change. Then these segments are targeted for behavior change programs based on further research that looks at the barriers they face to change and their perceived benefits from adopting new behaviors. The process is evaluated to measure whether the public adopts new behaviors, the only metric for success in CBSM.
In Tampa, Florida, Urban Forester Rob Northrop has been advising the city on its urban forest management plan and he contacted state Extension specialist Paul Monaghan for advice on how to improve a community tree planting program. The program provides free trees to city residents with the stipulation that they must water and take care of them after the city plants the trees. Using a CBSM approach, we formed community advisory boards in three neighborhoods of Tampa and conducted focus group research to begin understanding how residents viewed trees and the city program. While there is broad support for the historic tree canopy in Tampa, we found that residents want more say in how trees are planted in public rights of way, more information on the long-term maintenance of trees and a desire to work collaboratively to care for trees and improve neighborhoods. As a result of the research, there is now a focus on community tree planting instead of just individual homeowners and Rob has begun a Neighborhood Tree Steward Education Program that will hold its first training session in August.
Just south of Tampa, in Bradenton, residents of a large planned community are dealing with the effects of nutrient runoff into stormwater ponds, the resulting growth in nuisance algae in their backyards, and the potential costs for downstream pollution in the Tampa Bay watershed. Florida Friendly Landscaping Extension agent Michelle Atkinson has been conducting social marketing research to understand how residents view the issue of algae in their stormwater ponds which they consider to be "lakes" and an amenity to their homes. The original design of the landscape and the maintenance leads to nutrient runoff into the ponds and Michelle has been working with neighborhood groups to install solutions such as littoral zone plantings, buffer zones, and better control over fertilizer to prevent it from entering into the water in the first place.
Further south, near Fort Myers, Florida Sea Grant agent Joy Hazell has been working with a group of marine stakeholders, including commercial and recreational fishermen, to reduce the problem of seagrass scarring by boat propellers in the shallow Pine Island Sound (a part of the Charlotte Harbor estuary). In some parts of the sound, more than 30% of the seagrass has been lost to development, nutrient runoff from stormwater, and propeller scarring. The loss of seagrass affects the quality of fishing, and harms livelihoods and local economies. Joy has been using a social marketing approach to understand how the benefits that stakeholders value about the estuary can motivate them to become stewards of the marine environment. Through focus groups, observations of boater behavior, and boat ramp surveys, she has found that users value the natural resources of the sound but do not understand how their actions contribute to its degradation. Stakeholders want to play a role in protecting water quality, and a community advisory board has been established to look into the issues.
In all three cases, Extension agents are conducting research with community partners, sharing in the findings, and collaboratively designing programs that are targeted to the issues and concerns of local people. Community-based social marketing is not a panacea to the complicated issues of natural resource protection and conservation, particularly in Florida where these problems are difficult. It does, however, provide a tested approach to analyzing problems, collecting relevant data, and engaging the target audience in seeking solutions to shared problems.
Submitted by -
Paul Monaghan, Extension Specialist CBSM
Rob Northrop, Urban Forester
Michelle Atkinson, Florida Friendly Landscaping Extension Agent
Joy Hazell, Florida Sea Grant
University of Florida/IFAS
National Extension Climate Science Initiative Conference
Dear ANREP colleagues:
Registration is now open for the National Extension Climate Science Initiative Conference and In-service Workshop, October 28-30, 2013 in Cloquet, Minnesota. The ANREP Executive Board has generously made up to twenty $250 travel scholarship available to help with the expense for ANREP members to attend this unique conference and professional development in-service workshop designed by a national group of Extension specialists for Extension educators.
For more information on how to apply for a travel scholarship, please email Chris Jones or telephone him at (928) 402-8586.
Hey there; hope to see you in Minnesota!
Christopher Jones, Associate Agent
Agriculture & Natural Resources Programs
University of Arizona
Pennsylvania Team Earns Top Honors at National 4-H Forestry Invitational
Pennsylvania placed first among 13 state teams that competed in the 34th annual National 4-H Forestry Invitational from Sunday, July 21, through Thursday, July 25. Teams from Alabama and New York placed second and third, respectively. The invitational was held at West Virginia University Jackson's Mill State 4-H Camp and Conference Center near Weston, West Virginia.
The event is sponsored by Farm Credit System, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc., the Society of American Foresters, West Virginia University Extension Service, the American Forest Foundation, and the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals. While at the Invitational 4-H members competed for overall team and individual awards in several categories. Events included tree identification, tree measurement, compass and pacing, insect and disease identification, topographic map use, forest evaluation, the forestry bowl and a written forestry exam.
Pennsylvania was represented by Jesse Isenberg from Indiana, Thomas Brady, and Caleb Brady both from Clymer. The team was coached by Deborah Beisel, from Clymer, and Ashlee Early, from Wellsboro. Seth Junkin, from Alabama, received the high point individual award. Second place high individual award was awarded to Clint Moss also from Alabama, and third place high individual award was awarded to Adele Keiderling from New York. The Joe Yeager "Spirit of the Invitational" award was awarded to Amy Burkhalter of Oklahoma. This award recognizes an outstanding 4-H contestant at the Invitational. It is presented to the individual who takes initiative, is enthusiastic, and is eager to lead academic and social situations.
4-H is a youth education program operated by the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the state land grant universities. More than six million youth, 540,000 volunteers, and 3,500 professionals participate in 4-H nationwide, and nearly 100,000 are part of the 4-H Forestry Program.
Image 10, Left to Right: Caleb Brady, Thomas Brady, Jesse Isenberg, Ashlee Early, Deborah Beisel (Coach), and Tom Brady
The event would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors including; Farm Credit System (FCS), The Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc., The Society of American Foresters, West Virginia University Extension Service, The American Forest Foundation, and the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals. FCS is a government-sponsored enterprise created by Congress, in 1916, to provide American agriculture with a dependable source of credit. FCS is a nationwide network of cooperatively organized banks and associations that are owned and controlled by their borrowers. It serves all 50 States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI�), Inc. is a fully independent, charitable organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management. The SFI� label is a sign you are buying wood and paper products from a certified source, backed by a rigorous, third-party certification audit. The Society of American Foresters (SAF) is the national scientific and educational organization representing the forestry profession in the United States. SAF is the largest professional society for foresters in the world.
West Virginia University Extension Service educators and volunteers build and help sustain partnerships with people and organizations in West Virginia, to improve their lives and communities. WVU's programs and services strengthen individuals of all ages.
The American Forest Foundation� (AFF) works on-the-ground with families, teachers and elected officials to promote stewardship and protect our nation's forest heritage. AFF works nationwide and in partnership with local, state and national groups to provide hands-on support for America's 10 million family forest owners, giving them the tools they need to manage healthy and sustainable woodlands.
The Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (ANREP) is a professional society for natural resource Extension professionals. The mission of ANREP is to bring Extension professionals together to discuss mutual natural resource issues, needs, and opportunities and to advance natural resource Extension through continuing education for Extension professionals.
Forest Resources Educator
Penn State Extension - Centre County
Who's Your Regional Rep?
Do you know your regional representative for ANREP? The following is a brief introduction from each:
James Henderson - Southern Region Representative for ANREP
I have been with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, since 2007, serving as a forestry state specialist focusing on economics and management. A large part of my program consists of doing onsite programs hosted by any one of our 65 county forestry associations that are organized and supported by our area forestry specialists and our county Extension offices. It's a good system. My programs include short courses, workshops, and evening presentations on topics such as understanding forestry as an investment, timber market conditions and outlook, economic impact, and income taxes and the family forest.
Louisiana and Mississippi can't seem to get rid of me. Lifelong Louisiana resident until finishing undergraduate education in forestry at Louisiana Tech University, graduate education in forestry at Mississippi State University, and then back to Louisiana for graduate education in Agricultural Economics at Louisiana State University, and then back to Mississippi to work in Extension.
I like the people that work in Extension. There is something really good about people that like to help others. That's what I like best about ANREP. We have some really good folks in our organization, and there is nothing like our biennial conferences when you get a chance to meet up and visit with people that have the same desire to help others make the most of our natural resources. I look forward to visiting with everyone next May at our 9th Biennial ANREP Conference in Sacramento, California.
Christopher Jones - Western Region Representative for ANREP
I began working as a Cooperative Extension agent for the University of Arizona in Gila County, Arizona in 1999. I've been involved in extension work since I graduated with a BS degree in Forestry at Northern Arizona University, and joined the Peace Corps in 1988. As a volunteer, I worked with subsistence farmers in Guatemala to intercrop with various tree species and conserve soil by creating and building contour barriers. I thought so much of that experience that I pursued and earned a MS degree in Renewable Natural Resources at the University of Arizona in 1995. I went back overseas on contract to serve as the Territorial Forester of American Samoa and manage USDA State & Private Forestry programs from 1996-1999. As an Arizona native, I was thrilled to come "home" and start my career as an Extension agent close to family.
Fourteen years later, I'm still in Gila County! My wife, Miriam (a Guatemalan I fell in love with during Peace Corps), and I have been married 21 years and are raising three daughters, ages 12, 14 and 17. They are all learning piano and participate in the local summer youth musical theatre program. My middle daughter is the lead in this year's production, the Little Mermaid!
My Extension programs include Master Gardeners/home horticulture and climate/natural resources education. Through the years I've also managed programs in WUI wildfire mitigation, forest health, watershed and water, and noxious weeds.
I appreciate the camaraderie of the ANREP colleagues I've befriended since the Park City, Utah conference in 1996. I learn a lot from each of you and do my best to bring new ideas back to my state and county. Looking forward to seeing you at our upcoming meetings, including Galaxy IV and the ANREP Climate Science Initiative In-service Workshop in Minnesota (October 28-30, 2013).
Kris Tiles - North Central Region Representative for ANREP
Greetings from Wisconsin. I am your North Central Regional Rep. I started with the University of Wisconsin Extension, in 2004, as a Natural Resources Educator. My primary role is education and outreach with private, family woodland owners. Through our publications, in-person classes, webinars, self-paced classes, website and newsletters, we aim to move landowners to be more engaged with their woods. In addition to my forestry duties, I work on water quality issues as well. Most recently I have been addressing urban stormwater runoff through public awareness campaigns and rain garden/ rain barrel programs. In my spare time, I enjoy cycling, running, cross-country skiing, gardening and, in general, being outdoors.
I first joined ANREP in 2006, and attended the national conference in Utah. It was there that I realized what ANREP could provide. I see one of the primary benefits of membership being the professional networking opportunities. Whether at the national conference or through this newsletter, learning from colleagues across the U.S. has increased the creativity of programs we offer here in Wisconsin. I enjoy working as your regional rep, and I look forward to any thoughts you have about how we can serve you better.
It's my pleasure to take on the role of Northeast Region Representative for ANREP this year. I took on my current Forest Stewardship position with University of Maryland Extension, in 2007. In that role, I coordinate and teach educational programs for forest landowners and natural resource professionals throughout Maryland. Some of my recent projects focused on emerald ash borer outreach to county and municipal resource managers, and targeted grazing of invasive plants with goats. Maryland is 40% forested, but much of it is in very small parcels, so we also do a lot of outreach to backyard woods owners and folks interested in converting lawn to natural areas.
In 2008, I took on the coordinator position for the Maryland/Delaware Master Logger program. The logging community here is small but important, as the forest products industry is the sixth largest in Maryland. In this program, I've developed correspondence options for our courses, allowing loggers to participate without having to travel long distances.
I joined ANREP soon after beginning my career, and have attended every conference since then. In my interview for this job, I asked the selection committee what they liked about working in this field. Almost all of them talked about the people they have the privilege of working with and the long-term working relationships and friendships they've enjoyed as a result. ANREP is the perfect example of this, and I'm honored to be able to take my participation with our organization to the next level.
A Word from Your Editor
To all those who contributed articles to this newsletter: Thank you! For those of you who didn't, don't despair. Articles for the fall issue can be submitted any time up to October 15th.
The Communications Committee, ANREP Board, and IT group would like feedback from you regarding the ANREP website and this newsletter. We've switched to Constant Contact with the intent of making the newsletter more useful to you. Is it? Or did you prefer the .pdf format?
What do you think of the ANREP website? If something is unclear, hard to find, or just plain missing...let us know.