Planttalk Colorado™, established in Fall 1997, is a 24-hour toll-free automated phone service available in English and Spanish and website that provides gardening consumers with reliable and timely information on a variety of horticultural and related areas topics. Planttalk Colorado™ is unique in that it is sponsored by Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Denver Botanic Gardens and the Green Industries of Colorado. Over 450 topics edited and approved by all entities ranging from general gardening to emerging issues, such as new disease and insect concerns. Recent efforts have included translation of a portion of the scripts into Spanish to reach a larger audience and the rising Hispanic population in the state and region. Marketing efforts have evolved to include a website with photos and illustrations along with linkages to other university research-based information. Other marketing tools have included: free incentives, mass media marketing, and tabletop and banner displays for use at educational functions. A review of phone usage vs. web hits will be discussed. Web hits averaged 92,528 monthly in 2004 vs. phone usage averaged 309 monthly in 2004. Consumers have the ability to post comments on both web and phone systems. They can rank the overall program on the web. Funding is a cooperative effort between all three partners. Planttalk Colorado™ has increased visibility to Cooperative Extension and built partnerships with the Green Industry of Colorado and Denver Botanic Gardens for delivering reliable and accurate information to all citizens of Colorado and beyond.
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