Research on the role of horticulture in human well-being can have application among diverse groups. Dissemination and application of research results can be accomplished through Cooperative Extension Service, the horticulture industry, non-profit associations, and trade associations for users of horticulture products and services. On e of the roles of the People-Plant Council is to increase availability of research information to these groups.
Diane Relf and Catherine Clopton
As part of a horticultural therapy class assignment, groups of three to four students each spent 1.5 hours analyzing a Virginia Tech greenhouse while using various equipment to simulate disabilities that future clients may have. Their instructional goal was to analyze the greenhouse and area around for accessibility. The purpose of this assignment was to develop student insight into the handicapping impact that the environment and people can have on individuals with disabilities, student awareness of the need for and types of adaptations to facilitate horticulture for disabled individuals, and student empathy for future clientele. The results were the written comments from the students regarding the class. Their comments were most constructive and gave insight into the value of such an assignment for future use.
Catherine McGuinn and Diane Relf
A 17-week vocational horticulture curriculum was assessed for it's effectiveness in changing attitudes about personal success and job preparation, presenting horticulture/landscaping as an appropriate career, developing an attitude of appreciation and fostering of the environment, and strengthen social bonds to reduce delinquent behavior. Pre-tests/post-tests based on Hirsch's tests of social bond for juvenile delinquents were developed and administered to address attitudes toward school, teachers, peers, views, and the environment. A separate pre-post test dealt with career and aspirations. Results of these tests were compared to tests administered at a comparable urban program. Behavioral records for one semester before and semester during the horticulture curriculum were compared. Daily journals maintained by service learning students volunteers were analyzed for observational themes and combined with teachers observations. Success of the program was related to students desire and ability to get summer internships and/or employment in horticultural settings. Due to the limited size of the study group (6) and the school policies limiting follow-up data collection at 6 or 9 months, the results of the study must be seen as trends suggesting future research direction and supporting the continued work being conducted a Norfolk Botanic Gardens.
Diane Relf and Pete Madsen
Through funding from various horticultural associations (including ASHS, ALCA, SAF, WFFSA, and HRI), the People-Plant Council has been able to develop a computerized bibliography that will be of great value to researchers in the area of People-Plant Interaction and a second bibliography specifically for the area of Horticultural Therapy. The combined PPI and HT bibliographies contain approximately 1600 citations, 25 percent of which include an abstract. Due to the size and length of each bibliography (over 200 pages of hard copy), they are available on diskette. This will facilitate users searching for keywords or specific articles and allow them to rearrange the material as needed.
Alan McDaniel and Diane Relf
Master Gardeners (MGs) have proven to be effective judges for vocational horticulture student demonstrations of industry skills in 1996 Virginia and National FFA competitions. In a survey, the MG judges indicated a wide variety of backgrounds, with many being first-year MGs having no prior experience in judging or youth programs. Overall, they rated the student performance as better than expected and their own judging standard as neither lenient nor rigorous. Training is a critical part of their effectiveness as judges, and it was found that multiple formats are needed. Overall, most rated judging the FFA events as a very appropriate match to the MG educational goals, and there was a 100% affirmative response to the questions would they accept an invitation to judge again and would they encourage other MGs to volunteer as judges for FFA horticulture events.
Diane Relf and Alan McDaniel
A survey of Virginia Master Gardeners (N = 188) indicates that answering individual questions and providing educational programs designed to change individuals' behavior were equally important and ranked as number 1 priority for volunteer activity. In terms of training and management, local training programs had the highest importance ranking, with participation in local associations ranking second in importance. Social activities had the lowest importance. Annual training was viewed as primarily the agents' responsibility. However, daily man-agement, record keeping, and related activities were viewed as Master Gardener responsibilities in cooperation with agents.
Diane Relf and Sheri Dorn
Virginia Lohr and Diane Relf
P. Diane Relf and David McKissack
The Virginia Gardener Nutrient Management Education Program addressed non-point, urban-runoff pollution of Virginia's streams, estuaries, and groundwater, and included a calendar aimed at alerting the garden consumer to the connection between overfertilization and water pollution. Over 15,000 calendars were requested.
A survey of calendar recipients was conducted. 1500 persons were chosen at random, a subsequent address check confirmed adequate distribution among the regions of the state. The response rate was 28%. Responses indicated that 91.3% of those surveyed had changed their garden practices in some way because of the calendar. 90% of the respondents indicated that the calendar had shown them a connection between proper gardening techniques and water quality, with 82.2% indicating the calendar had been moderately to greatly successful in showing them this connection.
The 1989 Virginia Gardener Calendar was an effective method of educating garden consumers about the connection between water quality and nutrient runoff, and cultural practices which lessen the need for fertilizer in the home garden.