A sampling of outreach activities
An IPM-sponsored Greenhouse Diagnostic Skills Short Course has enrolled more than 200 greenhouse growers in two full-day sessions, one in 1996 and one in 1997. Pest biology and management were covered in the first year and diagnosis of crop management problems in the second.
The 75 greenhouse growers and 8 agricultural inspectors who enrolled in the second course had hands-on workshops about pest, nutrient, cultural, environmental, and water-related problems. Participants came away from the experience with information on the latest technology and tools for spotting potential problems in their greenhouses. Course evaluations indicated that this year's session met or exceeded all participants' expectations. Evaluations pointed to increases in grower understanding of pest and cultural management practices. Participants ranked cultural and greenhouse environmental problems as more important than pest problems, reversing the order from last year.
Ornamental IPM efforts in 1996 emphasized total crop management, with results not necessarily attuned to pesticide reduction but rather to a healthier crop. "It is difficult to measure change with this emphasis," comments IPM Program Director Jim Tette, "but we are finding ways to quantify our impacts."