In Virginia Beach, raising awareness in public schools about the importance of environmental sustainability is a city goal. With nearly 68,000 school-age children in Virginia Beach Public Schools and only one horticulture class offered in Virginia Beach Public Schools and one college Horticulture program regionally, it’s impossible to provide sustainable horticulture education to every student.
Virginia Beach Cooperative Extension sought to fill some of that gap, through five events that succeeded in reaching over 6,200 students.
First and second graders in public schools throughout Virginia Beach participated in Ready, Set, Grow, which taught the importance of plants and how they grow.
Junior Master Gardener Camp taught environmental awareness to underserved youth through Parks and Recreation’s Rehabilitation Program.
Farm Days, sponsored by the Virginia Dare Soil and Water Conservation District, taught students about beneficial insects and habitat preservation.
At the W. W. Moore Juvenile Detention facility in Danville, detained youths are being offered the chance at a green thumb, sponsored by Virginia Cooperative Extension. It’s an opportunity that, for some, can change the course of their future.
Jane Clardy, a former teacher and founder of the facility’s 10-week horticulture program, ran into a former detainee and student, who landed a recurring construction job but had hopes of a future in landscaping.
“He told me he always shows his horticulture certificate when he applies and is interviewed,” Clardy said of the encounter. “He told me his goal is to one day be his own boss and have a landscaping company. I smiled for two straight hours after seeing him.”
The program focuses on basic knowledge related to how plants grow, effective plant care strategies, and the importance of proper plant management practices. Holding these basic skills helps make the youth more attractive to an employer in plant nurseries, lawn care companies, and various grounds maintenance careers.
Applications for the 2017 New River Valley Master Gardener training program are due by Dec. 19.
Are you looking for a way to improve your community through volunteer service? Do you have an interest in horticulture? Do you enjoy sharing your knowledge? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, being a Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener may be right for you.
Applications that can be found online are now being accepted for the New River Valley Master Gardener training program and are due by Dec. 19. Applicants must be able to attend a 60-hour training course and complete 50 hours of volunteer service with Virginia Cooperative Extension during their first year.
The cost for the 60-hour course is $150, which covers the “Virginia Master Gardener Handbook” textbook and other training materials.
The training course will be held from March to May on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1– 4 p.m. at the Hahn Horticulture Pavilion at Virginia Tech. Students will get an equivalent of three college credits worth of knowledge from classes taught by Virginia Tech professors and Virginia Cooperative Extension agents.
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Chuanxue Hong, Extension specialist in ornamental horticulture, reminds people to be cautious when decorating with boxwoods this holiday season so they don’t spread the boxwood blight.
Virginia Cooperative Extension is cautioning the public to take measures to avoid spreading the devastating boxwood blight when decorating for the holidays this year.
Clippings in wreaths and garlands have the capacity to spread the disease, which could decimate English and American boxwood populations along the East Coast.
Researchers say that boxwood blight could threaten the plants in the same way that the chestnut blight destroyed trees in the 1930s.
“The boxwood is not just a plant. It’s part of Virginia’s cultural heritage,” said Chuanxue Hong, Extension specialist in ornamental horticulture at the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
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For inmates leaving prison, reintegrating into the community is a challenging transition — not only in Virginia, but nationwide. After spending time behind bars, prisoners can find it difficult to reconnect with family members, find employment, and resist the behavior that resulted in their imprisonment.
Virginia Cooperative Extension agents in Central Virginia had already been working with the staff and inmates at the greenhouse and garden facilities at Rustburg Correctional Unit 9 in Campbell County for several years and saw a need to further support inmates in their community re-entry efforts. They decided to implement a pesticide applicator certification program designed to equip inmates with job skills to make it easier for them to find employment upon their release.
The certification program is a collaborative effort between the Virginia Department of Corrections, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Virginia Cooperative Extension.
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