In Georgia, horticulture is now the number two commodity in the state. The labor needs of the industry is increasing, however, enrollment in horticulture classes at UGA has been dropping. Most entry-level employees joining horticulture firms are completely without training or understanding of the industry, the type of work or the basic skills necessary to be functional. If horticulture was taught, it was by persons with Vo-Ag training in small engines, or animal husbandry etc. Students reported teachers had very little enthusiasm for the subject, no school facilities and that the school principle/administration had no vision for, or understanding of, horticulture. We are addressing this situation through an innovative partnership between Georgia High Schools, The Georgia Department of Education, and the University of Georgia. We can reverse the trend by training new and existing high school teachers by providing them a standardized floriculture curriculum and comprehensive training in greenhouse management, classroom teaching methods, industry awareness and a provide a long-term link to UGA. Our objective is to increase the number of students who are trained, motivated and willing to work in the field of horticulture as entry level workers. To do this we set about to standardize the course curriculum statewide, certify the high-school, faculty and administration for commitment and program continuity, Set up a model training greenhouse system at UGA, and conduct new teacher training at UGA through ALEC, and conduct postcertification training for teachers at UGA during the summer to upgrade skills, enthusiasm. The venture, including a model greenhouse at UGA, has been funded for over $100,000. The program currently has 218 Schools, 64 w/labs and greenhouses, 215 teachers and 25,049 students participating.
In an effort to expand and improve the agriculture curriculum, the Georgia Department of Education set standards for new greenhouses to be built at high schools. These modern greenhouses are to serve as teaching facilities for new horticulture classes. However, current teachers had little or no background or experience in teaching greenhouse or nursery management courses. In response to the GDE needs, a summer workshop “Managing Crop Production and Equipment in the School Greenhouse” was held at CAES Griffin Campus and at Pike County High School. Faculty from UGA departments presented topics such as water quality, irrigation and crop nutrition, cultural guidelines for major floricultural crops, IPM, pesticide safety, and marketing, business planning and fund raising. Included in the program were numerous hands-on activities designed to cover the essential practical skills needed for a greenhouse employee—proper handling and planting of plugs, watering, calculating fertilizer rates, fertilizer injector maintenance and calibration, soil pH and fertility monitoring, scouting and pest identification, and proper pesticide handling and spraying techniques. Twenty-two teachers from schools with horticulture curriculum attended the training. The workshop evaluations indicated high satisfaction with the material presented. Teachers pointed out that the practical skills had not only been very useful but also the manner in which they were presented would be easily applicable to students. The knowledge acquired will be incorporated into the fall and spring curriculum. Through the effort of the floriculture specialist, a high-quality educational program was delivered to Georgia High School teachers, which in turn translate into attracting student into joining the growing ornamental horticulture industry.
Russell (1999) compiled a large bibliography of research demonstrating that there is not a significant difference between standard and distance education learning. Yet rapid advances in the use of technology for the discipline of horticulture have
The Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (AREERA) represents a concerted effort on the part of federal legislative leaders to rethink the manner in which agricultural research and extension programming are undertaken within the land-grant university system of our nation. For the first time ever, land-grant schools are being mandated to increase their energies in support of “multi” activities; namely, multiinstitutional, multidisciplinary, multifunctional, and multistate activities. The intent is to bring about greater efficiencies in carrying out the research and extension missions of our land-grant entities.
In this presentation, the key provisions of AREERA are outlined. These elements include: 1) the commitment of 25% of Hatch formula funds in support of multidisciplinary research involving another agricultural experiment station, Agricultural Research Service, or college/university that collectively are seeking to solve problems that concern more than one state; 2) the expenditure of Smith-Lever formula funds for support of multistate extension activities equivalent to 25% of these formula funds, or twice the level of resources devoted to such activities using FY97 funds; and 3) a directing of 25% of Smith-Lever and Hatch funds received by an institution in FY2000 for integrated research and extension activities (or twice the level of effort committed to such efforts in FY97). It is further noted that while 1890 and 1994 institutions are required to engage in multidisciplinary, multistate, and integrated research and extension activities, they are not compelled to meet the 25% goal outlined in the AREERA legislation.
Aside from the resources that must be devoted to certain activities within the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Extension Service, AREERA makes quite clear the need to actively engage stakeholders in giving shape to the priority activities of these land-grant entities. Moreover, it notes the importance of documenting the impact of the institution's research and extension investments on the priority concerns of its stakeholders. Among the key questions that will be employed to evaluate the quality of an institution's efforts are the following: Did the program address a critical issue? Did it address the needs of underserved and underrepresented populations in the state(s)? Did the investments result in improved program effectiveness and/or efficiency? Indeed, AREERA changes the landscape for many of the South's land-grant institutions. However, if efforts undertaken to date are any indication, the leadership and faculty of the region's land-grant system will successfully respond to the challenges that AREERA poses for them.
characterizing the status of horticulture education at that time. In 2012, we were interested initially in capturing enrollment data for horticulture programs. However, we found the information provided was often either unreliable or unavailable. This was
successfully used during times of crisis, such as extreme drought ( Wagler and Cannon, 2015 ) and hurricanes ( Ruth et al., 2020 ). Faced with a dilemma of using digital methods instead of in-person education due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Twitter is a potential
education. Presentations given at conferences of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences related to climate change have been recorded ( Bayer, 2013 ; Chung et al., 2011 ; Comstock, 2011 ; Warren and Barnett, 2012 ). To determine the extent to
revolutionized information availability and access to topical expertise, and webinars are now considered standard tools in the extension education toolbox, apps are emerging as an essential outreach tool, facilitating transfer of information and educational
Computer technology allows horticultural educators to convey information more flexibly and visually to a greater audience. However, accessing and making use of technological teaching tools is as much a hurdle as it is an opportunity. HortBase provides the framework for educators in horticulture to easily access and contribute to quality chunks of horticultural educational by computer. Engaging computer-based instruction such as HortBase in distance or on-campus teaching is a three-step process. First, before assembling the teaching material, the educator must decide on who the target audience is and what information to convey. Audiences on campus often have higher expectations of how they want to learn, being accustomed to face-to-face instruction and guidance, but may not have a clear idea of what they want to learn. Off-campus audiences may have lower expectations but generally are more focused on the information they want. Second, the educator then must decide on how much of the information to bring into digital form oneself and what to draw from elsewhere. Chunks of digitized information can be created by scanning existing images into the computer or created on computer with drawing programs. Once digitized, images can be manipulated to achieve a desired look. This is laborious, so much effort can be saved by taking created chunks from HortBase. Finally, choose a medium for dissemination. Course content can be presented with slide-show software that incorporates digitized slides, drawing, animations, and video footage with text. Lectures can then be output to videotape or broadcast via an analog network. Alternatively, the digitized information can be incorporated into interactive packages for CD-ROM or the World Wide Web.