Annual pesticide programming excellence awards are sponsored by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. These are presented at the annual pesticide safety educators workshop to teams and individuals who are nominated by their peers for their excellent programs in pesticide safety, disposal and recycling throughout Virginia.
SOUTHSIDE, TIDEWATER AND CENTRAL VIRGINIA COUNTY EXTENSION AGENTS RECOGNIZED
Recently the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) recognized three individuals or teams for their outstanding participation in the 2011 Pesticide Safety Education Program. First Place Award went to the Central Virginia Commercial Pesticide Applicator Recertification Training Team for their efforts in helping commercial pesticide applicators pass their recertification exams. The Second Place Award went to a team from Northern, Central and Tidewater Virginia who helped applicators pass their registered technician, core, category and private applicator exams. Third Place went to an individual, Janet Spencer from Isle of Wight County, who identified a need for late and last minute applicator certification.
PESTICIDE SAFETY EDUCATION - FIRST PLACE
The Central Virginia Commercial Pesticide Applicator Recertification Training Team received the first place award for Pesticide Safety Education: Kevin Camm, Lynchburg; Bruce Jones, Appomattox; Todd Scott, Campbell; Scott Baker, Bedford; Stuart Sutphin, Danville; Melanie Barrow, Henry; Jason Fisher, Halifax; Pat Hipkins, Virginia Tech; Lloyd Hipkins, Virginia Tech; Billy Hughes, Amherst and Richard Jones, VDACS.
These agents provided timely recertification and outreach to a variety of industries. They changed their venue to allow for improved presentation methods, technology and a more comfortable space for the large number of attendees. They incorporated breakout sessions which allowed an opportunity to divide the well over 100 attendees into much smaller, interactive groups.
With the use of smaller groups, they were able to conduct hands-on activities and demonstrations. This method allowed the participants to have greater access and interaction with the presenters, thus enhancing the quality of the program. One reviewer wrote, “There is no question that this is one of the most incredible work efforts and impacts we have seen over the years in pesticide safety education by agents in Virginia”.
“This team of agents and specialists balanced their contributions to the event and did a wonderful job to pull off a great recertification program,” noted Matthew J. Lohr, VDACS Commissioner, when he presented the award.
PESTICIDE SAFETY EDUCATION - SECOND PLACE
The second place award went to agents who recognized the need for a formal training program to prepare applicators to pass the registered technician, core, category and private applicator exams for certification. The team consisted of Karen Carter, Henrico; Debbie Dillion, Loudoun; Mike Likins, Chesterfield; Dan Nortman, York; Lisa Sanderson, Henrico and Robert Christian, VDACS.
These instructors used a variety of teaching methods to prepare the attendees for their exams, including PowerPoint presentations, personal experiences, audience participation, etc. The training was very well received. For many participants, this course provides the confidence many people need to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and take the tests on automated machines.
One of the reviewers wrote, “This was a stellar effort over two days to provide the industry training to prepare applicators to pass the core, category, registered technician and private applicator exams.” Success of this program was demonstrated by the number of applicators who passed their certification exams.”
PESTICIDE SAFETY EDUCATION - THIRD PLACE
The third place award goes to Janet Spencer, Isle of Wight County, an agent who identified a need for late and last minute applicator certification and took on the challenge of putting on several programs to meet this need.
Spencer was able to overcome challenges presented when there was a limitation in the number of instructors available and resources were at a minimum. One reviewer wrote, “I like what [they] did and commend [them] for using the resources provided efficiently and well”.
According to one participant, “…it was the best recertification I have attended… [they] covered what we do…” Another attendee said he liked the use of the audio-visual aids and the program structure and said, “The meeting was more interesting than other meetings attended.”
In addition to the Pesticide Safety Education Program, VDACS and the Pesticide Control Board recognized other individuals for their participation in the Container Recycling and the Pesticide Disposal Program.
Article written by: Elaine J. Lidholm, OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS, P.O. BOX 1163, RICHMOND, VA 23218, www.vdacs.virginia.gov, (804) 786-7686
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