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Benjamin J. Glover, Tina M. Waliczek and Jean-Marc Gandonou

The purpose of this study was to test the consumer-stated willingness to pay (WTP) of a native Texas plant fruit product, texas persimmon (Diospyros texana), for the restaurant industry, as well as for the consumer market. Farmers’ markets and restaurants specializing in either local foods, organic foods, or both were the focus of the market samples. Responses were gathered from five cities located in the geographic area of central Texas where the fruit is native including: San Marcos, Austin, New Braunfels, Wimberley, and Bastrop. About 400 quantitative survey responses were collected from farmers’ markets consumers during market days. Seven interviews collecting qualitative responses from restaurateurs provided more in-depth data on the value of the product to specialty restaurants. Restaurateurs responded positively to the texas persimmon and stated they would be willing to pay between $3.59 and $3.69/lb of texas persimmon. Results indicated the prime audience for the texas persimmon to be those who attend farmers’ markets in the age group of 25–34 years who value locally produced foods and are concerned about the environment. Farmers’ market consumers were willing to pay prices similar to specialty fruit prices.

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Amy L. McFarland, Benjamin J. Glover, Tina M. Waliczek and Jayne M. Zajicek

The purpose of this study was to determine if participation in the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Schoolyard Habitat Program (SYHP) had an effect on the science standardized test scores or science grades of fourth-grade primary school students in Houston, TX. To conduct the study, five pairs of Houston elementary schools were selected as either treatment or control schools. The treatment group included a total of 148 fourth-grade students whose teachers reported using the NWF’s SYHP. The control group consisted of a total of 248 fourth-grade students whose teachers used a traditional science curriculum. To measure academic achievement, scores on a standardized science test and science grades were compared between the treatment and control students. Results from this study indicated Caucasian students scored higher than minority students on the Stanford standardized science exam. Significant differences existed in the Stanford standardized science exam scores between male and female students for the treatment group only. Overall, the results from this study also showed that the SYHP was equally as effective at science instruction as the traditional curriculum within the Houston Independent School District (HISD) after teachers gained familiarity with using the habitat for instruction.