Green beer and witches brew: themed pesticide training

Karen M. Stauderman, Matthew A. Lenhardt, Matthew Lollar


Annually, pesticide license holders seek Continued Educational Units (CEUs) to maintain their state certification. Traditional educational methods used by County Extension offices occur in routine classroom settings. Many of the licensees are technology oriented and are choosing online training to acquire their CEUs. There is a need to attract licensee holders to return to the classroom setting. Objectives were: 1) to attract audiences to attend pesticide training; 2) increase knowledge by 20% from audiences attending themed trainings; and 3) build attendance in classroom settings by 25%. Two pesticide training classes were offered in Volusia County having Halloween and “St. Paddy’s Dayˮ themes. Marketing efforts including Facebook, websites, email list serves, and print media. Holiday décor and descriptive food terms including “witches brewˮ and “green beerˮ were used to capture audiences. County agents and staff dressed in costume themed attire. Audience levels grew from the popularity of the themed programs with a 54.7% gain in attendance. Post-survey results revealed knowledge level gains of 22.4% and 21.2% after attending the Halloween and “St. Paddy’s Dayˮ training, respectively. Overall, 76% (n=35) and 94% (n=64) of the Halloween and “St. Paddy’s Dayˮ attendees, indicated they would attend a theme-style training again. Attendees also admitted that 69.7% and 76.9% felt confident to pass the certification test. Using theme-styled educational programming is an effective way to draw audiences that may not attend traditional classroom settings. Audiences responded positively to these creative learning programs. Volusia County themed pesticide trainings are becoming preferred options to obtain CEUs.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283