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Rebecca H. Wehry*, Kathleen M. Kelley, and Antoinette Bilik

A direct-mail survey was administered to gain perspective of the audio/visual tools Penn State Master Gardeners currently use to teach their clientele and their comfort level with using computers and accessing the Internet. Of the 700 surveys that were distributed to active MG during the month of November 2002, 386 completed surveys were returned. Male MG were more likely to use slides (44%) and less likely to use posters (15%) than female MG to teach consumer clientele (29% and 26%, respectively). Participants from single-adult households (20%) were more likely to use PowerPoint than those from households with two or more adults (11%). A greater percentage of participants, 54 years of age and younger reported having Internet access at their home (90%) and at work (42%) compared to MG age 55 years and older (75% and 16%, respectively). Over half of the younger MG (53%) responded that they were “very comfortable” with using the Internet to search for information compared to 37% of their counterparts. Currently MG use computers as a teaching tool on a limited basis, with younger MG possessing a greater degree of comfort with both the computer and Internet. By teaching MG how to use this technology the ability to reach a large audience can increase, thus further extending the reach of this component of Cooperative Extension. Though use of high tech methods to deliver information is continually gaining momentum, the number of MG who use less technical teaching tools should also be considered and appropriate tools should remain available.

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Ann Marie VanDerZanden and Tom Cook

Once an abandoned property at the edge of campus, the 7,000 ft2 (650.3 m2) horticulture teaching garden at Oregon State University has evolved from an overgrown residential lot into a well-defined and meticulously maintained garden. Since its beginning, an irrigation system, hardscapes, turf, bulbs, annuals, perennials, and woody plants have been installed by students enrolled in undergraduate horticulture courses. About 200 students use the garden annually as part of their formal instruction and it is currently integrated into the curricula of courses in landscape design, landscape construction and maintenance, and herbaceous and woody plant identification. Because the garden space is dynamic, curriculum changes can easily be accommodated.

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Michael A. Arnold

Plant trialing and promotion programs have become popular in recent years with many state and some regional programs emerging. Successful implementation requires considerable labor, facilities, and monetary resources for evaluation of large numbers of taxa over several years to ensure that plants are well adapted to the region of interest. Research and development funds and cooperator commitment to trialing programs can be limiting during the early years of these programs prior to production of tangible benefits. Dedicated facilities for program activities are usually not available. Mechanisms for development of facilities and procurement of labor to augment trialing program resources, while enriching undergraduate and graduate teaching and research programs, will be presented.

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I.L. Goldman

Plant breeding is a process that is difficult to compress into laboratory exercises for the classroom. At the heart of plant breeding is the act of selection, a process whereby differential reproduction and survival leads to changes in gene frequency. Given the relatively short span of an academic semester, it has been difficult for students to gain experience with the practice of selection using plant materials. Nearly 15 years ago, P.H. Williams developed Wisconsin Fast Plants, a model system for teaching plant biology in a classroom setting. Wisconsin fast plants are rapid-cycling versions of various Brassica species amenable to a variety of genetic studies due to their short life cycle and ease of handling. This paper describes the development of a model system using Brassica rapa L. fast plants for teaching the cyclical selection process known as recurrent selection in the context of a course on plant breeding. The system allows for up to three cycles of recurrent selection during a single 15-week semester and enables students to gain experience in planting, selection, pollination, and seed harvest during each cycle. With appropriate trait choice, phenotypic changes resulting from selection can be visualized after just three cycles. Using the Fast Plant model, recurrent selection can be practiced successfully by students in the classroom.

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Rolston St. Hilaire

A World Wide Web course tool (WebCT) developed by the Univ. of British Columbia was used as an aid in teaching landscape plant identification and landscape construction at New Mexico State Univ. WebCT is a set of educational tools that are easily incorporated into the teaching of classes. Course assignments, slides of plant materials, and course grades were posted on the Web. A chat tool provided real-time communication among students and the electronic mail facility allowed personal communication with a student or communication to all course participants. Access to WebCT is controlled by username and password, so course material is restricted to course participants. Student progress through materials posted on the Web site can be monitored because WebCT maintains records about student access to web pages. Course statistics, such as the total number of hits per page, time spent on each Web page, and the date and time when student first accessed or last accessed the Web site, are kept by WebCT. Students were able to review highly visual material such as slides of landscape plants at their own pace. Also, students had quick access to their grades.

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J. McConnell

A local ground orchid, Spathoglottis plicata Blume, and coconut, Cocos nucifera L., were used in the classroom to teach seed germination. S. plicata, a common orchid on Guam, was utilized to demonstrate the aseptic culture of seeds under non-sterile conditions. The procedures were done in the classroom without a laminar air-flow cabinet. Nonsterile seeds were sown on growing media which were prepared without autoclaving, but by incorporating sodium hypochlorite into the media. Students had a high rate of success in germinating the orchid seeds without contamination by spraying sodium hypochlorite on the seeds. Different stages of coconut seed development were presented to students by simply cutting coconut in half. Unique features and botanical terms of coconut seed development can be taught throughout the year. Teaching materials on seed germination of the two tropical plants are being developed by print-on-demand methods.

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Michael A. Arnold, R. Daniel Lineberger, Tim D. Davis, Steven W. George, Wayne A. Mackay, Greg D. Grant, Jerry M. Parsons, and Larry A. Stein

Plant trialing and marketing assistance programs have become popular in recent years with several state and some regional programs emerging. Successful implementation requires considerable labor, facilities, and monetary resources for evaluation of large numbers of taxa over several years to ensure that plants are well adapted to the region of interest. Research and development funds, dedicated facilities, and cooperator commitment to trialing programs can be limiting during the early years of the programs. Involvement in plant trialing programs allows students to be exposed to plot layout planning, statistical design, plant maintenance, data collection and analysis, and professional communication of trial results. Construction of facilities for conducting plant trials, growing plants for use in trials, trial installation, and maintenance of plants all provide practical hands-on horticultural training. Replicated plant trials provide the latest information on regionally adapted taxa for inclusion in classroom instruction and publications. Plant trialing programs benefit from labor assistance, development of dedicated facilities, and the opportunity to share equipment and supplies among teaching, trialing, and student research projects.

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Virginia I. Lohr

Researchers and practitioners have been aware of the importance of plant diversity for many decades. The Irish potato famine and dutch elm disease (Ophiostoma novo-ulmi) are examples of problems resulting from lack of diversity. Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) has renewed concerns over these issues, yet little has been done to increase diversity in landscape plantings. Urban trees are becoming more uniform genetically because of cloning of preferred cultivars; thus, they are losing potential resiliency to stresses at a time when these threats are increasing. A survey on plant diversity distributed to wholesale nurseries in Washington State showed that most respondents were aware of the issues, but lacked an in-depth understanding of them. This article presents additional data from the survey. Respondents reported that lack of consumer demand was an issue. Those with more education exhibited a deeper understanding of the risks from low diversity among landscape plants. Instructors in horticulture and the plant sciences should be more involved in teaching on this topic.

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Heidi L. Hoel

The Allen Centennial Gardens are located at the Univ. of Wisconsin–Madison on the grounds of the National Historical site, the house of the first four deans of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The 2.5-acre garden, developed and managed primarily by the Dept. of Horticulture, replaced the old teaching and display garden space taken over in building additions. Within the past 10 years the grounds have been designed and transformed into a garden, with 26 individual collection gardens, including: turf, fruit and vegetable gardens, classic ornamental gardens (with both herbaceous and woody perennials), and a rock alpine garden. As it receives its finishing touches, an education plan is being developed to complement the education purpose of the garden; the goal of the garden is to become an active site for learning through both observation and interaction with the garden collections. The two main themes of the learning experience are: 1) the biology of the diverse and unique plant collections (including: culture, practices, and production), and 2) the aesthetics of the garden (the organization of space, form, topography, and color). Implementation of education programs will occur on the following four levels: first the university (first the horticulture department, second other departments and university functions); second, area high schools groups; third, community and professional groups; and fourth, elementary school groups. The education programs will include mapping, internships, classes, meetings, volunteerism, and tours. The Allen Centennial Gardens, with its education mission, has already and will continue to be a meeting grounds for the university community, and a meetings ground for both the professional community and Madison-area community.

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Ana Fita, Néstor Tarín, Jaime Prohens, and Adrián Rodríguez-Burruezo

-world practices ( St. Hilaire et al., 2009 ). Laboratory sessions, along with class activities, are considered to be very important in the efficient and successful teaching of genetics and plant breeding ( Rodríguez-Burruezo et al., 2009a ). Of the six European