The World Wide Web is regarded widely as an invaluable asset to teaching and extension programs. Data supporting this assertion can be gathered actively or passively and can be analyzed to aid decision makers in matters of personnel evaluation and resource allocation. Most Web server software applications keep a log of connections by time, location, and file size transferred. The server logs of Aggie Horticulture, the Web site of the Texas Horticulture program, are analyzed bi-weekly using WebStat 2.3.4 and the number of logins, file size transferred (total and amount per sub-site), and client domain are tabulated. The number of “hits” increased from 15,000 to 120,000 per month (mid-February to mid-March of 1995 and 1996, respectively) over the last year. The logins came from 61 Internet domains representing 56 different countries. The “net” and “com” domains exhibited the greatest increase. “Active” data acquisition through a guest register at one of the sub-sites indicated that only 9% of the visitors registered. However, the data obtained from the active registrants were useful in determining the distribution of users by state and county within Texas.
R. Daniel Lineberger
Jules Janick, James E. Simon, Anna Whipkey, and Ben Alkire
NewCROP (New Crops Resource On-line Program) is an Internet resource (http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop) developed by the Indiana Center for New Crops and Plant Products to deliver instant topical information on the subject of fiber, energy, and specialty crops. NewCROP includes CropSEARCH (an index to food and feed crops of the world, including taxonomic information, uses, and economic importance), FactSHEETS (in-depth articles on selected crops), NewCROP Import–Export (importation permits, phytosanitation certificates, quarantine and inspection information), Organizations (listings of crop organizations, societies, and interest groups), FamineFOODS (includes about 1250 species that are consumed in times of food scarcity), and FarmMARKET (listing locations of United States farmers' markets). The web site also includes new crop bibliographies, directories of new crop researchers, announcements of pertinent up-coming symposia and crop conventions, the New Crop Center newsletters, and activities of the Indiana Center for New Crops. A search engine is provided for quick information retrieval from the system. An electronic bulletin board, NewCROP LISTSERV is maintained for posting queries and messages to subscribers. We are planning to incorporate material from three books (>1930 pages and 6000 index entries) derived from New Crops symposia and published as Advances in New Crops (1990), New Crops (1993), and Progress in New Crops (1996). The NewCROP digital information program is interlinked with FAO's EcoCROP system and the Australian New Crops Programme, as part of a developing world-wide crop information network.
Arthur Villordon, Wambui Njuguna, Simon Gichuki, Heneriko Kulembeka, Jeremiah Simon, Bernard Yada, Phinehas Tukamuhabwa, and Don LaBonte
The East African region in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is widely considered as one of the secondary centers of diversity for sweetpotatoes [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.]. Farmers in the region typically grow landraces, but hybridizations occasionally result in new genotypes. Factors such as regional conflicts, natural disasters, disease, and land pressure continually threaten the SSA sweetpotato gene pool. Despite this threat, very little updated information is easily accessible about SSA germplasm collections. Such information is valuable for purposes of management, exploration, and conservation. Using germplasm collection data from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, we demonstrate how publicly available GIS-based tools, e.g., DIVA-GIS, can be used to document current collections as well as make this information easily accessible, searchable, and portable. First, collection data from each country were compiled and known collection sites were georeferenced using available gazetteers. Following data cleaning and verification, georeferenced data were then converted into a GIS-compliant format, primarily as shapefiles. All files were then copied into storage media for exchange among stakeholders. To further demonstrate the portability of the GIS database files, available World Wide Web GIS web viewers enabled real-time access to GIS files uploaded to an experimental web site. This work demonstrates that with very little expense, access to extant SSA germplasm information for sweetpotatoes can be improved using publicly available GIS tools.
Study Abroad programs are designed to provide a variety of learning opportunities for students. Experiencing firsthand the culture, environment, and/or industry is often described as the most memorable benefit by those who study for a quarter or semester in another country. Unfortunately, it is difficult to share this learning experience with classmates and family members who are back at home. One solution that has been implemented with the College's Study Abroad program at The Ohio State Univ., is to design a web site that chronicles the experiences and activities of students while they are abroad. In addition to the photos and stories being contributed from abroad, classmates and other individuals from the home institution can submit questions and participate in threaded discussions with those abroad. For example, students at home can post questions regarding an upcoming tour location and utilize the responses and photos for a class they are attending. Finally, being able to review experiences from previous trips is an outstanding strategy for promoting the program to new students. Online experiences from the Dominican Republic and England programs are available at: http://cfaes.ohio-state.edu/studyabroad.
Arthur Villordon*, Simon Gichuki, Heneriko Kulembeka, Simon C. Jeremiah, and Don LaBonte
Africa represents a unique secondary site of genetic diversity for the sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.]. Despite the genetic resources available for sweetpotato breeding and cultivar selection, regional conflicts and adverse weather in the last two decades have accelerated the risk of germplasm loss, particularly in East and Central Africa. A cooperative research project is currently underway to assess genetic diversity as well as help conserve sweetpotato germplasm in East Africa. One of the tools that are currently being used is a web-accessible GIS database that enables access to spatial and temporal data by project investigators and other stakeholders. Although proprietary methods are available for delivering GIS data through web interfaces, these methods often require expensive licensing agreements. The use of ALOV Map, a freely available Java® application for publishing vector and raster maps, along with basemaps and other thematic maps downloaded from publicly accessible web sites, helped provide the framework for a web-accessible GIS database. DIVA-GIS, a free desktop based GIS software was used to generate shapefiles as well as preview files prior to uploading. This demonstrates that the availability of publicly available software requiring minimal or flexible licensing costs provide a cost-effective alternative to institutions that are considering access to GIS databases via a web-accessible interface. We describe procedures, software, and other applications that we used to develop a publicly accessible web interface to a GIS database of sweetpotato germplasm collections in Kenya and Tanzania.
Kim Williams, Ellen T. Paparozzi, and Jerry Maranville
As universities are required to “right-size,” faculty resources of time and expertise are strained as the institution must cater to undergraduate students while providing a complete graduate curriculum. Thus, many institutions are offering more team taught courses. For a new upper-level undergraduate and lower-level graduate course offering in Plant Nutrition and Nutrient Management, the team consists of faculty from two institutions who each bring different expertise into the classroom. The course utilized weekly chat room discussions to bring students into contact with experts from around the United States and the world. Two-way compressed video was used to allow for synchronous lecture delivery and discussion across sites. A Web site was created to facilitate student interaction and provide chat room access. Multiple student evaluations were conducted to separate learning objectives with the effectiveness of using technology. A flow-chart will be presented which details the steps and problems/accomplishments encountered in successfully delivering this course via distance technologies, including: funding procurement, determining technological compatibility across institutions, delineation of course content, Web page development, and course evaluations.
A Community of Practice (CoP) for consumer horticulture has been formed as part of the eXtension system. The CoP was organized at the National Consumer Horticulture Forum held Nov. 2005 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The meeting was attended by representatives of 24 states from all four Extension geographical regions. The attendees discussed project priorities and began to build a framework for working together across state lines on eXtension-sponsored activities and other efforts. Initial plans from the meeting include constructing a National Consumer Horticulture FAQ database, developing online learning modules that can be used for Master Gardener training, and developing marketing tools to better identify consumer horticulture resources available through local as well as national Extension activities. This presentation will provide additional details regarding the Consumer Horticulture Forum, an update regarding consumer horticulture activities within eXtension, and an opportunity for members of ASHS to learn how they can get involved in eXtension. Information regarding eXtension CoPs (including Consumer Horticulture) is continually being updated on the eXtension CoP Web site (cop.extension.org) and information regarding the Consumer Horticulture Forum has been posted on the Consumer Horticulture CoP Community Home page (cop.extension.org/wiki/Consumer_Horticulture_Community).
D. Scott NeSmith
A new southern highbush blueberry cultivar named `Rebel' was released in 2005 by The University of Georgia. It is a very early season cultivar with large fruit having a medium to light blue color, and a small, dry picking scar. `Rebel' berry firmness is good, while flavor is only average. The new cultivar flowers 3 to 4 days before `Star' and ripens 6 to 9 days before `Star' in south and middle Georgia. `Rebel' plants are highly vigorous, very precocious and have a spreading bush habit with a medium crown. Yield has been similar to or greater than `Star' in south Georgia. Leafing has been excellent, even following mild winters. Rebel has an estimated chill requirement of 400 to 450 hours (<7 °C). Propagation is very easily accomplished using softwood cuttings. Plants of `Rebel' are self-fertile to a degree, but should be planted with other southern highbush blueberry cultivars with a similar time of bloom for cross-pollination (`Emerald' and `Star' suggested). `Rebel' is new, so planting on a trial basis is recommended. `Rebel' requires a license to propagate. For licensing information and/or a list of licensed propagators, contact the Georgia Seed Development Commission, 2420 S. Milledge Avenue, Athens, GA 30606; or visit their web-site at www.gsdc.com.
Naomi Hirsch and Louise Ferguson
For California pomology, it is ideal to communicate and disseminate information electronically because of its large size and diversity of fruit and nut crops. In support of statewide extension, the Fruit & Nut Research and Information Center's World Wide Web site 9 http://pom44.ucdavis.edu) focuses on providing information and links for temperate, subtropical and tropical fruits and nuts and keeping all interested persons well informed about University of California research and outreach activities. The Internet has been proven ideal for its user friendliness and rapid dissemination of current information. The Center supports this electronic change for growers and industry by collaborative projects with industry and involving Internet education and demonstrations at short courses, symposia, and educational days throughout the state. By this outreach to fruit and nut crop industries, the needs of the growers can be addressed. Also, it is important to address interdisciplinary cooperation and efficiency in the Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension programs, especially in view of the recent reduction in staff and resources. By creating electronic listserv groups for each crop through the Center, extension specialists and farm advisors have the ability for increased communication. A more visible and active focal point —both within and outside the University—for research and outreach activities related to fruit and nut production, handling, processing, marketing and consumption has been created since the Center was established in Dec. 1995.
Working on the basic idea that the small fruit industries in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, and other states in the south have a great deal of growth potential, especially in strawberries, the Southern Region Small Fruit Center is now becoming a very focused collaboration between several land-grant institutions to develop a virtual small fruit center web site that will serve to keep specialists, agents, growers, and students well informed on the latest small fruit research and technical findings. It would also give instant access to a variety of small fruit extension publications, budgets, and crop advisories. The site, www.smallfruits.org, opened on 17 Sept. 1999, and was immediately utilized after Hurricane Floyd “hit” to post a series of berry info advisories on specific postplant management strategies to minimize further yield losses due to the extra week of delayed planting caused by Floyd's flooding. The main benefit of regional or multistate institutional approach is that it gives us the “extra horsepower” for tackling some fairly ambitious projects, like the creation of a virtual small fruit center. Recently, the center has begun to offer more in-depth regional training courses for agents and growers, such as the “Extension Strawberry Plasticulture” short course that was conducted on North Carolina State Centennial Campus, 1-5 Nov. 1999. We currently have a “critical mass” of some of the best small fruit research and extension workers you will find anywhere across the whole southern region, and by working together we can develop stronger, more economically viable small fruit industries.