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Extension Education

Jennifer Schutter


Pollinators play a crucial role in the production of fruits, vegetables, honey and field crops. They also support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, and support wildlife. Declining populations of bees, birds, butterflies, bats and insects led University of Missouri Extension to develop a course curriculum to help the public learn about pollinators and how to increase their presence. Course objectives include: use research-based information to meet the growing public interest in honey bees and native pollinators; provide a better understanding of the importance of pollinators to society; identify opportunities for individuals and communities to create or improve pollinator habitats in an area; and provide a broader education on plants and pollinators for new and experienced beekeepers.

Due to COVID-19, the course was offered as a hybrid in the fall of 2020 in Kirksville, Missouri. Zoom technology was used for six weeks of lecture classes, where participants could interact with classmates and the presenter. The class met in-person once a week for a two-hour lab class held outdoors, where activities supplemented what was learned in the lecture class. Activities included net sweeping for insects, flower and insect identification, building solitary bee houses, a tour of a restored prairie, and native tree walk.

Participants had a reading assignment and 15-20 questions to answer each week. At the end of the course they took a 50-question final. An evaluation was given to all. The course rating was 3.9/4 on a 1-4 Likert scale. Outcomes of the course include, 100% of participants planned to create a pollinator friendly garden or plant a portion of their farm into natives to increase pollinators; they are more aware of pesticides and the affects and dangers they can cause; and they have a better understanding of the citizen science projects available, as well as many more resources.   

Course quotes:

“These were exceptionally good classes for the first time out of the box.” “Field trips were great! I learned so much.” “I have gained knowledge that I will use on my property. I will check into some citizen science projects.” “Invaluable information, so interesting”.

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.

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Authors: J.L. Schutter
  1. Schutter, J. Field Specialist in Horticulture, University of Missouri Extension, Missouri, 63501