Insect Agroecology Lectures

When the pandemic first started, I shared the lectures that I’m creating for ENT/HORT 444/544 (Insect Agroecology) for Master Gardeners who might be interested. The purpose of the course is to examine hypotheses and theory in insect ecology, and translate these to the management of agricultural systems. The course is set up so that students work through lectures on their own time. Every Friday, we meet and discuss two scientific papers that are related to the week’s topic.

After sharing the first two lectures, I stopped sharing course content. Truthfully, I thought (and still think) that most folks will be bored by the content. It’s a little geeky, and doesn’t directly apply to gardens. But today, someone asked me if I had more to share. So, I decided to post them all here.

Some lectures are posted as a single, long lecture. If I had a lot of material to present in a week, I broke the lectures up into smaller chunks, which the students seemed to prefer.

Audio and video quality are consistent with that of a luddite professor, working hard to deliver two classes in a new way, while also dealing with a lot of other COVID-19 pressures. Please be kind in your assessment of each video.

On a desktop or laptop computer: you can minimize my talking head and maximize the slides, by clicking the arrows that are near the top right of each video.

On a mobile device: you can switch between a view of me and a view of the slides by clicking on the small screen with (with the ‘play’ symbol) near the bottom of the screen. Two options will pop up from that small icon. Toggle between the two to view the slides.

Week 1: Insect Diversity and Abundance (35:35)

Week 2: Bottom Up Control of Insect Herbivores: Plant Nutrition (54:11)

Week 3: Bottom Up Control of Insect Herbivores: Plant Defense

Week 4: Top Down Control of Insect Herbivores (51:27)

Week 5: Competition and Food Webs

Week 6: Pest Management: Insecticides

Week 7: Pest Management: Biotechnologies

Week 8: Pollinators in Agroecosystems

Week 9: Climate Change

CDC Issues New Guidance that Affects MG Outreach, Plant Sales, and Events, through May 10th

On March 15th, the CDC issued new guidance for large events and mass gatherings. This guidance recommends that, for the next eight weeks (which would take us to May 10th, or Mother’s Day) that events which can draw 50 or more people, in person, be cancelled or postponed.

This recommendation takes us out further on the calendar than the state of Oregon’s March 7th Executive Order banning face-to-face gatherings of 250 or more people for 60 days (which would take us to May 6th). It also takes us further on the calendar that Oregon State University’s policy banning face-to-face gatherings of 50 or more people, through April 30th.

Given the updated CDC guidance, I am updating the previous guidance given to Master Gardener groups (on 3/12), to adhere to CDC guidelines. Through at least May 10th, any face-to-face Master Gardener classes, meetings, outreach activities, and events, including Master Gardener Conferences and plant sales that can draw 50 or more people, should be cancelled or postponed.

All face-to-face Master Gardener activities, events, meetings ~ no matter how many people may attend ~ are suspended pending further notice. This suspension aligns with the guidance given by OSU Extension on March 13th.

As someone who has planned several large events, I know that this is heartbreaking news that will have negative impact on affected Master Gardener chapters. I truly feel bad for the many Master Gardeners who have tirelessly and enthusiastically worked for a year or more, only to have their event cancelled or postponed. But, the health of our volunteers, faculty, staff, and community is paramount, and should be put ahead of other concerns.

Wiley Thompson, the Regional Director for the OSU Extension on the coast, has said something like: ‘this is the year that a lot of things won’t happen: NCAA basketball tournaments, PAC-12 Spring Sports, and so much more’.

But, I’m also seeing many instances of ingenuity, in the face of these challenges.

Master Gardeners are holding meetings via Zoom. If you are able, and if your Master Gardeners are wanting and needing to meet, please help them by setting up a Zoom meeting.

The Benton County Master Gardeners are planning to offer Seed to Supper via Zoom!

Don’t forget that the Advanced Training Master Gardener webinars start tomorrow (3/17). Once again, they will be offered via Zoom! It’s not too late to sign up for one or more classes.

Hang in there! We will get through this!

Updated Guidance for Master Gardener Training Classes and Guidance for Large Events, Ongoing Master Gardener Activities in the Context of COVID-19

To: Master Gardener coordinators (Extension faculty)

From: Gail Langellotto, (Professor of Horticulture, Statewide Coordinator, Extension Master Gardener Program)

Date: March 12, 2020, 11:57am PST

Coordinators,

As you are aware, OSU and OSU Extension are actively engaged in continuity planning as we prepare for a localized outbreak of COVID-19 in the university community and communities we serve. The guidance from Oregon State University is rapidly evolving. The latest guidance can be found on OSU’s COVID-19 webpage.

Given that older adults are both a vulnerable population and an abundant group in the Master Gardener Program, we are recommending that local Master Gardener coordinators carefully consider the guidance provided for upcoming large events (such as conferences and plant sales) and ongoing Master Gardener activities (such as plant clinics and demonstration garden work).

At this time, we are suspending face-to-face Master Gardener activities immediately, and through at least March 30th. Specific guidance for large Master Gardener events and meetings, as well as work in demonstration gardens or plant clinics, can be found below. There is also updated guidance on completing Master Gardener training classes.

Guidance on Options for Large Master Gardener Events

Large events pose a particular risk for the transmission of COVID-19. Master Gardener conferences and plant sales can easily draw 50 or more individuals, and often draw hundreds of people to a site.  

On March 11, 2020, OSU has stated that non-essential, OSU-sponsored events of more than 50 attendees will not be permitted, between March 30th and at least April 30th.

Note that even though OSU is not planning to limit OSU-sponsored gatherings of more than 50 attendees until March 30th, the OSU Extension Master Gardener Program is instituting this policy, immediately. All large Master Gardener events (i.e. those that draw more than 50 attendees) that are scheduled between now and the end of April, including those planned and managed by the Oregon Master Gardener Association and its chapters, should be cancelled or postponed until at least May.

Updated Guidance on Options for Completing Master Gardener Training Classes. At this time, no matter the number of attendees you have in Master Gardener training classes, we are requiring that you suspend face-to-face Master Gardener training classes, and pursue option(s) 2 (postpone and reschedule classes), 3 (use the online modules to complete your Master Gardener training, or 4 (end your 2020 training classes, if you have met minimum national and state standards for Master Gardener classes). These options were outlined in earlier guidance.

Guidance on Options for Other Ongoing Master Gardener Activities

Other ongoing Master Gardener activities, such as plant clinic and work in the demonstration garden, typically bring fewer than 50 people to a site.

At this time, we are suspending all face-to face work in Plant Clinic, Master Gardener meetings and other non-essential Master Gardener volunteer work, through the end of March. We are instituting restrictions on work in Demonstration Gardens through the end of March, and only if work is needed to prevent the loss of plant materials or to address emergencies at demonstration garden facilities (such as an irrigation line break). If Master Gardeners come to the Extension office to volunteer, observe best practices for limiting the spread of the virus.

Plant Clinic: March is a relatively slow time for many Master Gardener plant clinics. Suspending Master Gardener plant clinics through the end of March should not have too large of an impact on local Master Gardener programs. In lieu of walk-in plant clinics, questions may be redirected to OSU’s Ask an Expert service. If you have volunteers who you would like to sign up for Ask an Expert, you can sign them up online. Only volunteers who are well-practiced in plant clinic procedures, are comfortable working in an online environment, and have a strong understanding of how to craft a research-based and appropriate response to plant clinic questions should be signed up. A brief overview for how to view and answer questions in Ask an Expert can be found here. In addition, a dedicated email to receive questions/images could be set up, if needed, by the local Master Gardener coordinator to expand options for meeting the needs of the community.

Master Gardener volunteers who are seeking certification options, during this down time, may want to catch up on their continuing education credits by reading approved publications, or by participating in the upcoming Advanced Training Webinar Series for Master Gardeners.

Coordinators may want to relax plant clinic and other volunteer service hour requirements, in lieu of this disruption to our programming.

For Care of Plants and Facilities at Master Gardener Demonstration and Community Gardens: keep the number of individuals working in each demonstration garden to an absolute minimum. Observe maximum social distancing. Practice frequent handwashing. Use Approved Environmental Cleaners for shared surfaces, such as tools, hose spigots, or hose handles. Take care to reduce environmental exposure to these cleaners.

Master Gardener Chapter Meetings: The OSU Extension Master Gardener Program has a collaborative relationship with the Oregon Master Gardener Association and its chapters. These organizations are separate 501(c)3’s from Oregon State University. However, when using the term “Master Gardener” in association with Association meetings or events, the Extension Master Gardener Program can require that Oregon State University provided guidance and policies be adopted.

  • Inform your Master Gardener Association and Chapter, that face-to-face meetings should be suspended, at least through the end of March.
  • Face-to-face meetings that might draw 50 or more people are not allowed, at least through April 30th.
  • Where possible, assist your Master Gardener Association or Chapter with remote meetings, when the meetings are necessary. Assistance could include setting up access to Zoom meetings, or conference call lines.

Please contact your regional director and me with any questions or concerns.

Please continue to prioritize your personal health and wellness. Take the time to regularly review updates from the CDC and OHA websites, as well as OSU’s COVID-19 webpage.

Updates specific to the OSU Extension Master Gardener Program will be sent out via the OSU Master Gardener Coordinator listserv, the OMGA chapter and executive committee listservs, and on the OSU Master Gardener Coordinator blog.

Thank you,

Gail

Options for completing annual Master Gardener training classes in context of COVID-19

To: Master Gardener coordinators (Extension faculty)

From: Gail Langellotto, (Professor of Horticulture, Statewide Coordinator, Extension Master Gardener Program)

Date: March 11, 2020, 12:41pm PST

Coordinators,

As you are aware, OSU and OSU Extension are actively engaged in continuity planning as we prepare for a localized outbreak of COVID-19 in the university community and communities we serve.

Thank you for your efforts during this rapidly changing situation, and for the care and compassion you are showing for each other and your program participants.

Given that older adults are both a vulnerable population and an abundant group in the Master Gardener Program, we are recommending that local Master Gardener coordinators carefully consider available options for completing the 2020 Master Gardener training season.

We are developing additional guidance for large events such as conferences and plant sales, and ongoing volunteer activities such as plant clinics.

Here are four three options to consider.

Option 1: Continue with classes, but observe recommended practices for personal wellness and minimizing spread of illness.

****This option was removed as a possibility on March 12, 2020, when updated guidance for OSU Extension Master Gardener Programs was issued.**** Note that the recommended practices for personal wellness and minimizing the spread of illness is still recommened, for personal use.

These include:

  • No mandatory attendance: Do not penalize students who opt not to attend classes, provide options for making up missed work.
  • Stay home if sick: Speakers, employees, volunteers, or students who are sick or have a household member who is sick should stay home.
  • Observe social distancing: Seat students so they are not apt to touch each other or touch a shared desk space. Remind students to refrain from shaking hands, hugging, or otherwise touching other class members. If your meeting space is limited and you cannot meet this requirement, it might be better to consider a different option for completing classes.
  • Practice frequent handwashing: Build handwashing breaks into the training day. Have hand sanitizers on hand.
  • NO shared food or potlucks: Temporarily halt the tradition of shared food or potlucks for meals or snacks. Ask students to bring their own food and drinks. Do not share food or food utensils.
  • Use Approved Environmental Cleaners for Classroom Surfaces. Take care to reduce environmental exposure to these cleaners.

Option 2: Postpone and reschedule classes (i.e., after the state of emergency has passed or has been revoked). The ability to do this may depend on whether or not you will have access to the training site at a later date, and if students and instructors can accommodate a schedule change.

Option 3: Consider using the online modules to complete your 2020 training schedule.

Option 4: If you have met the minimum national and state standards for Master Gardener trainings, you can suspend classes for 2020. If you have questions about the standards, please contact me.

Keep in mind that decisions may differ among coordinators depending on local circumstances. Extension decisions made locally should be coordinated through supervisors and leadership at the appropriate level. Please contact your regional director and me with any questions or concerns.

No matter which options you chose, please prioritize your personal health and wellness. Take the time to regularly review updates from the CDC and OHA websites, as well as OSU’s COVID-19 webpage.

Thank you,

Gail

New Option for Continuing Education Credit

In order to make more continuing education (CE) opportunities available to Master Gardener Volunteers we are now officially approving CE credit for reading approved research-based publications that relate to sustainable gardening. These publications will provide in-depth information on a variety of gardening topics that volunteers can draw on when working in the plant clinic or providing community education. In addition this process will encourage volunteers to read OSU and other research-based publications with the added benefit of familiarizing volunteers with up-to-date resources that can be shared with clients.

Each publication will qualify for one hour of CE.

Some publications may take more or less time to read but 60 minutes is a good average.

How to determine if a publication qualifies for CE.

Publications from the following sources are generally deemed appropriate: OSU Extension Catalog, other Extension Services, governmental organizations (i.e. Department of Agriculture, USDA, etc.).

Where possible, OSU publications should be given preference. Publications should relate to sustainable gardening, home horticulture, or backyard and local food production. Coordinators may want to provide a list of suggested and approved reading with web links. This will make it easy for volunteers to access the publications and should prevent them from finding out of date publications that have been archived.

Example of a suggested reading list for August from the OSU Extension Catalog

How to receive credit for reading research-based publications.

We want to ensure that you carefully and comprehensively read each publication, so that you are able to incorporate your new-found knowledge in your volunteer activities, as well as in your own garden. For each publication that you read, please report the following information in the Volunteer Reporting System (VRS), or turn in the following information to your Master Gardener coordinator.

  1. Author. Year. Title. Publication Number or other identifying information.
  2. Where you found or accessed the Publication
  3. What is the overall goal of the publication?
  4. List three things that you learned from reading this publication.
  5. List two ways you can use this information in your volunteer service and/or your own garden.
  6. Report 1 hour of CE per publication, in the VRS system (or the reporting system used in your county).

Example:

  1. Jones and Sells. 2004. Rufous hummingbird. EC 1570.
  2. I found it on the OSU Extension Catalog site. The direct link is https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/ec1570.pdf
  3. This publication teaches people about rufous hummingbird life history, behavior, and habitat.
  4. I learned:
    • Rufous hummingbirds migrate to warmer climates in the fall, because there is no nectar in northern climates in fall and winter. In fact, they follow manzanita blooms as they migrate. I had thought that they migrate because they can’t tolerate cold weather (which is probably also true, but I had not considered the nectar connection).
    • Rufous hummingbirds use spider webs to ‘glue’ together their nest materials. So cool!
    • Hummingbirds can live up to 5+ years. I had thought that their small size and high metabolism would promote a shorter lifespan.
  5. I will use this information to:
    • Tell people what to plant for hummingbirds:  bleeding hearts, red-flowering currant, salmonberry, columbine, fushias, orange honeysuckle.
    • Encourage people to consider how their cat might be impacting hummingbird populations.

Does Your Master Gardener Training Class Schedule Meet State Standards?

In 2008, the Home Horticulture Working Group voted on and approved curricular standards for annual Master Gardener training for new volunteers. As you start to put your schedule of classes together for 2020, please take a moment to review the standards, and be sure that your class content aligns with current guidance.

Training must consist of at least 40 hours of training time. This time can include time in class, time spent on online course modules, and time spent on practical or hands-on activities.

More detail on the suggested content of each class can be found in the Master Gardener Coordinators Manual section on Course Content.

OSU Faculty and Staff who teach classes: please take a moment to update your information and preferences for the 2020 teaching season in the Instructor Database in Box. You might also want to check out the Basic Training Resources folder in Box. Both of these are in our shared Master Gardener Program folder in Box. You need to have an OSU email in order to access these resources. If you can not access these resources, please contact Gail.

Required Courses: In order to be certified as an OSU Master Gardener volunteer, all trainees must complete each of these three classes.

  • The OSU Master Gardener Program
  • Understanding Pesticides
  • Basic Botany

Plant Problem DiagnosisChoose at least 2 of the following classes.

  • Diagnostics
  • Insect ID
  • Plant Pathology
  • Weed ID and Management
  • Vertebrate pest management
  • Resources for Master Gardeners

Sustainable Gardening: Choose at least 2 of the following classes.

  • Soils and Fertilizers
  • Compost
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Sustainable Landscape Design
  • Organic Gardening
  • Gardening for Wildlife
  • Rain Gardens
  • Water Quality
  • Waterwise Gardening
  • Native Plants
  • Invasive Species

Backyard and Community Food ProductionChoose at least 2 of the following classes

  • Organic Gardening
  • Vegetable Gardening
  • Small Fruits
  • Home Orchards
  • Herbs
  • Container Gardening
  • Compost

Elective ClassesChoose as many classes as are necessary to round out curricular content.

  • Herbaceous Ornamental Plants
  • Houseplants
  • Lawns
  • Localized Gardening (Coastal, Valley, High Desert, etc.)
  • Pruning
  • Woody Ornamental Plants