The Myths of Lawn and Garden Care 101


Bruce Bearinger, Buchanan county extension education director

Situation

Many myths exist in consumer horticulture. These myths lead to over use of chemicals and fertilizer, decreased personal and public safety, concerns over soil, air, and water quality, and excess personal expenditure due to inefficient and costly practices. These myths are evident though stakeholder comments during one-on-one contacts and at consumer horticulture based educational programming, like the Master Gardeners Certification Training.


Response


I determined programming, that was both informational and entertaining, related to dispelling myths and increases awareness and skill in utilizing research-based information would:
Reduce poor practices
Increase the use of consumer horticulture extension publications
Provide a service to a strong consumer horticulture stakeholder base
Partnerships with our NE Area Environmental Team and our Buchanan County Conservation Board provided grant opportunities. Through a REEP grant, the power point presentation I created and all of the support material were distributed to all county extension offices in NE Iowa. Through the Farm Bureau Non-point Pollution Grant, I have been able to utilize funds to provide a packet of extension publications and other resource materials to all participate in our upcoming November informational meeting.

Impact

I designed this program by using power point. Following the procedure of Brian Lang, NE Iowa ISU Crop Field Specialist, I divided the program into fifteen topics with multiple slides. This provided flexibility in the use of the materials. For example, one can use the material for everything from a full evening informational meeting to a 20-minute presentation at a service club. I chose to involve the participants in the selection of topics, so every presentation is personalized to the audience 's need. Since the program is segmented and was developed on versatile software, it can grow and change to the future needs of our stakeholders. Myths are formed everyday, therefore diligence is necessary to prevent the material from becoming outdated.

Reports from NE Iowa County Extension District show that the materials have been used in presentations and one-on-one consultations with over 1500 stakeholders. In Buchanan County alone, we have used the materials in presentations to 250 stakeholders even before our informational program planned for November. CEED reaction has been very encouraging. Positive comments have centered on flexibility, ease of use, and lack of preparation required in developing programming. CEEDs have been very pleased with the references provided, especially for one-on-one consultations. Distribution of related publications has increased by 8% in Buchanan County.

Our future goals are to:
Continue to expand and improve the materials
Continue to utilize the materials on a year round basis
Offer the materials to all Iowa county extension districts

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu