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1 Associate Professor, Dept. of Horticultural Science. 2 Associate Professor, Extension Specialist Educational Programs, North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service. 3 Associate Professor, Dept. of Economics and Business. Paper no. 206 of

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Abstract

The Cooperative Extension Service (CES) is undergoing a period of self-evaluation (Gerber, 1985) and change (USDA Extension Service, 1988). As part of on-going discussions on the future of the CES at the Univ. of Illinois, a survey of the academic staff in the Dept. of Horticulture was conducted. The survey quantified the reaction of horticultural academic staff to recommendations taken from a federal study on the future of extension (USDA Economic Committee on Organization and Policy, 1987) and statements solicited from the Dept. of Horticulture Extension Committee. Recipients of the survey were asked to state their level of agreement or disagreement with the statements on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = no opinion, 4 = agree, and 5 = strongly agree).

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During the past 10 years, the Florida strawberry growers, through the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, have made a serious commitment to fund university research on strawberries. They have purchased equipment and donated monies for facilities at Dover. They have also helped support a new faculty position in breeding and genetics. During this same period, the University of Florida has made an equally strong commitment to support strawberry research and extension. These commitments are beginning to pay significant dividends for industry and the University. Cultural and pest management information has been generated that is saving the industy money, and the breeding program is developing new cultivars that will keep the industry competitive in the marketplace. The University has benefitted through the acquisition of new facilities, equipment, and faculty and graduate student support.

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Today's fast paced and technology-enriched lifestyles require that many traditional educational seminars and workshops be transformed into “sound bites” of “edu-tainment” if Extension is to keep pace with clientele needs for specific and timely information that's useful and straight to the point. To remain a viable source of timely research-based information, Extension can stay ahead of this curve by utilizing today's technology to inform and educate the public on current issues or outbreaks. This presentation will highlight two such cases where technology delivery systems were utilized to maximize audience size and create an informed public in as short amount of time as possible. Public Service Announcements (PSA's) televised over New Jersey's Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), New Jersey Network (NJN), addressed water conservation and landscape issues during the recent northeastern drought. The potential viewing audience is over eight million people, including all of New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and Connecticut. The second case study will highlight a fully interactive CD-ROM on the Asian Long Horned Beetle (ALB) that was created within 12 months of the pest's discovery in Jersey City, N.J. This CD-ROM, containing curricula, PowerPoint presentations and evaluative tools, is currently being used throughout the northeast and in Canada for the most recent infestation of ALB. Filming for both Rapid Response efforts was done with a Sony DSR-500 DV Cam Camcorder and a Canon XL-1 Camcorder. Digital editing was completed on an Apple G4 running OS X with Avid Express Meridian Non-Linear Editing Software version 4.5 with 3D effects, Apple Final Cut Pro 3.0, Adobe After Effects 5.5, and PhotoShop 7.0. Stills were taken with a Sony Mavica and Nikon CoolPix digital cameras.

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Intermediate-day plants (IDP) flower most rapidly and completely under intermediate photoperiods (e.g., 12 to 14 h of light), but few species have been identified and their flowering responses are not well understood. A variety of experiments was conducted to determine how light controls flowering and stem extension of Echinacea purpurea `Bravado' and `Magnus'. Both cultivars flowered most completely (79%) and rapidly and at the youngest physiological age under intermediate photoperiods of 13 to 15 h. Few (14%) plants flowered under 10- or 24-h photoperiods, indicating E. purpurea is a qualitative IDP. Plants were also induced to flower when 15-h dark periods were interrupted with as few as 7.5 min of low-intensity lighting (night interruption, NI). Flowering was progressively earlier as the NI increased to 1 h, but was delayed when the NI was extended to 4 h. Stem length increased by 230% as the photoperiod or NI duration increased, until plants received a saturating duration (at 14 h or 1 h, respectively). At macroscopic visible bud, transferring plants from long days to short days reduced stem extension by up to 30%. Flowering was inhibited when the entire photoperiod was deficient in blue or red light and was promoted in a far-red deficient environment, suggesting that phytochrome and cryptochrome control flowering of E. purpurea. Because of our results, we propose the flowering behavior of IDP such as E. purpurea is composed of two mechanisms: a dark-dependent response in which flowering is promoted by a short night, and a light-dependent response in which flowering is inhibited by a long day.

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In 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed over 1000 mature trees in the City of North Miami, located 50 mi north of the storm center. The cleanup cost over $1,000.000. Most of the tree failures were caused by structural faults: co-dominant leaders, narrow limb attachment, included bark, over-lifting, hatracking, poor vertical limb placement, crown imbalance, overly-dense crowns, crossing and in-growing branches. All could have been corrected with proper pruning. Action was taken to reduce future damage. The city arborist made a complete, computerized inventory of all trees on public property, creating a data-base with all structural problems identified. These were prioritized so the worst could be addressed first. After any pruning work was done on a city tree, a follow-up evaluation was made, and any additional pruning needed was scheduled. Pruning followed the recommendations of state specialists and three county extension agents with the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service. City workers were taught using lectures, demonstrations, site visits, CES publications, and individualized instruction. In addition, all new trees purchased were grades FL Fancy or FL no. 1, based on Grades and Standards for Nursery Plants; such trees require little or no corrective pruning at planting and mature as structurally-sound trees which resist wind damage. Two later storms (1993, 1999) produced winds in North Miami similar to those of Hurricane Andrew. Together they destroyed only 35 trees which cost $35,000 to remove. These data demonstrate that following CES pruning recommendations reduces storm damage to trees, saving money and preserving the urban forest canopy.

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