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Barbara Fails

Experiential learning is an integral component of successful career preparation for the horticulture industry. The limited-enrollment practicum course through Sparty's Flowers has been taught for 7 years, and accounts largely for the overall success of the retail floriculture program. Structure is built into the course by assigning weekly individual learning objectives and assignments. Students, in turn, develop their own action plans, upon which evaluation is based. Interactive group meetings replace formal lectures for more effective instructional delivery. Knowledge retention is enhanced as lessons are experienced, not only heard and read. Technical hands-on experiences of design, display, advertising, recordkeeping, sales, and merchandising sharpen abilities. Professional skills, such as time management, interpersonal communication, leadership, and creative problem solving are also developed and fostered by all members of the class. Practicum instruction, as an example of effective collaborative learning, allows a creative and realistic approach to teaching horticulture.

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Frederick R. Rohs and Robert R. Westerfield

Limited budgets and downsizing have threatened the delivery of technological and educational information by the cooperative extension service. As such trends continue, volunteers become more important. Background factors, influence of specific individuals, attitudes toward the value of the program, and personal benefits received influence a person's decision to become a Master Gardener volunteer. In this study, individuals who were older than 50 and had children and parents who were former volunteers in an extension program were more likely to become Master Gardener volunteers, as were individuals who felt that the Master Gardener program benefited the community and themselves. Specific individuals, such as garden club members, other Master Gardeners, a neighbor, or persons holding leadership positions in the community, might also influence an individual's decision to volunteer.

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Sheri T. Dorn, Marc T. Aveni and Paula Diane Relf

Virginia Cooperative Extension's (VCE) Master Gardener–Water Steward program (MGWS) provides advanced training in leadership development and water quality management to Master Gardener (MG) volunteer educators so that they may expand the influence of Extension through leadership in community water quality management. Typically, agents cite limited staff and volunteer resources as the primary factor in restricting program expansion. The MGWS program simultaneously answers the desire of MGs to expand their role in the community landscape and the need of VCE to expand its outreach with increasingly limited resources. MGWS training, guided by a 10-unit resource book, integrates technical and program management expertise to foster volunteer pride and self-sufficiency. This allows MGWS to coordinate much of their own training and recruit and manage large numbers of non-MG volunteers to whom they can provide limited training for specific projects, thus allowing program expansion without additional staff. The Advanced Master Gardener–Water Steward Handbook allows for appropriate training of Master Gardeners so that Extension education is able to reach a larger audience than just that reachable by an agent alone. Eight slide sets on water-quality related topics are available as part of this program. They come complete with legible, easy-to-read scripts. Updated slide sets include Calibrating Your Lawn Spreader (40 slides), Minimum Chemical Vegetable Gardening (62 slides), Backyard Composting (56 slides), Reading and Understanding the Pesticide Label for Lawn and Garden (41 slides), Landscape Tree and Shrub Fertilization (43 slides), Applying Pesticides Safely for the Environment (47 slides), Water Quality and Landscaping Slide Set (48 slides), and Proper Management of Fertilizers on Home Lawns (40 slides).

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G.A. Picchioni

Gregory L. Mullins, 53, passed away on 18 July 2009. Greg was an inspirational and deeply appreciated Head of the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences in his tenure at New Mexico State University. His leadership will be sorely missed

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Brian H. Hurd, Rolston St. Hilaire and John M. White

, and Bernd Leinauer for technical assistance and review; Joshua Rosenblatt of the City of Las Cruces for his enthusiasm and stimulating insights; Craig Runyan and Leeann DeMouche for their overall project leadership and support; and, finally, the survey

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James Luby, Philip Forsline, Herb Aldwinckle, Vincent Bus and Martin Geibel

Drs. Allan Stoner and Calvin Sperling of the USDA/ARS National Germplasm Resources Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., who provided critical research leadership and essential funding. The cost of publishing this paper was defrayed in part by the payment of

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Greg D. Hoyt

The North Carolina Agricultural Research Service supported this research. Emeritus Professors Thomas R. Konsler and Frank L. Haynes provided leadership in cole crops and potatoes. Anthony D. Cole and George B. Cox provided technical

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Edward Moydell, Robert Lyons, Robin Morgan, Frederick Roberts, James Swasey and Erich Rudyj

Universities are attempting to enhance the quality of their academic and research endeavors as competition increases for students, faculty, and funding. To further its mission of providing excellence in education, research, and extension, the University of Delaware (UD) has created a number of Centers and Institutes devoted to providing leadership to a particular field of study. Because of its unique location in the “hotbed of public horticulture,” UD is interested in establishing an interdisciplinary Center in Public Horticulture. The objective of this study was to create an initial plan for a Center in Public Horticulture at UD outlining its mission, goals, objectives, structure, and function. The plan resulted from an internal environmental assessment of the Plant and Soil Sciences Department at UD, an external environmental assessment of the field of public horticulture, and an analysis of existing Centers and Institutes at UD. This qualitative study utilized surveys, interviews, and focus groups with selected internal and external stakeholders from academia, the green industry, government, and public gardens. Internal stakeholders, in the resulting data, emphasized the Center's role in engaging undergraduate and graduate students and conducting relevant research. External stakeholders indicated that the Center may also focus on providing continuing education or certification programs to public horticulture professionals. The research regarding existing Centers and Institutes produced a variety of recommendations regarding the Center's structure, governance, funding, research activities, and partnerships and collaborations.

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Hector Eduardo Pérez and Kent D. Kobayashi

Graduate students within the Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences Department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa developed a program that addressed their concerns regarding career enhancement and planned a Professional Development Seminar Series. Students identified topics related to enhancing their overall graduate experience and professional development, such as ethics in research, leadership in graduate school and beyond, interviewing skills, and writing critically for publications. Experts from the University of Hawaii and business communities presented 35- to 40-minute seminars on the various topics. Expectations of the students included participation in discussion sessions and completion of a critical thinking exercise after each presentation. Course evaluations revealed that the new seminar series was considered to be as effective as established courses within the department. On a scale from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree, students learned to value new viewpoints [4.2 ± 0.8 (mean ± SD)], related what they learned in class to their own experiences (4.5 ± 0.8), and felt the course was a valuable contribution to their education (4.4 ± 0.9). Students suggested offering the course during fall semesters to incoming students, reinforcing of the critical thinking exercise, and making the course mandatory for first-year graduate students.

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Sheri Dorn and Paula Diane Relf

Management changes brought about by 1996 budgetary action shifted local Master Gardener (MG) program management from state-funded local agents to a structure of coordinators consisting of locally funded agents, locally funded nonagent coordinators, and volunteers willing to take on additional responsibilities. The Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) MG volunteer program is currently available in 76 unit offices. The unit programs are managed by 46 MG coordinators, including 8 locally funded agents, 8 locally funded technicians, and 30 volunteers. Currently, there are 2747 MG volunteers (trainees, interns, and MGs). To provide consistent, state-level direction and leadership to this less experienced group of local coordinators and to prepare them for their jobs as MG program managers, current management materials were extensively revised and expanded and new resources were developed. These efforts to ensure that everyone understood the purpose and focus of the VCE MG program resulted in revision of MG program policies, development of new volunteer training materials, establishment of a state-level MG planning and work team, new management guidelines, in-service training for coordinators, an administrative website and electronic discussion listserv available only internally to agents and coordinators, and a state MG newsletter focused on the role of MGs as community leaders and educators.