November 19, 2001 |
CONTACT: Lyra Halprin, (530) 752-8664, firstname.lastname@example.org |
Grape pest advisers to get online course for ecological management
DAVIS -- Increasingly stringent environmental regulations are prompting grape growers and their pest management advisers to seek additional sources of information. Now they can find assistance online in a new course, Ecological Pest Management in Grapes, developed by the UC Davis-based Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP).
Chris Geiger, a professional entomologist, and David Chaney, SAREP education coordinator, created the course in consultation with an advisory committee of UC experts and grape pest control advisers (PCAs).
"Agricultural pest management is requiring more information-intensive strategies and techniques," Chaney said. "As environmental regulations become tighter and older pesticides are removed from the market or heavily restricted, many growers are modifying their production systems to include more ecologically based approaches to controlling pests."
He noted that pest management professionals can play a key role in this transition process, providing clients with important information on the biology of pests and natural enemies, sampling programs, decision support tools, and knowledge of softer, less disruptive control materials when making their recommendations.
By making use of the latest educational technologies, the self-guided course offers a highly interactive educational experience. It includes inquiry-based, problem-solving simulations, and interactive self-tests (drag-and-drop, picture matching and other formats).
"Because it's on the Web, students can progress at their own pace," he said. This flexibility will complement educational programs offered by UC Cooperative Extension offices and other agencies.
Through a Web site and companion CD, the course is presented in a series of four units: Concepts of Ecological Pest Management; Insects (focus on leafhoppers and mealybugs); Diseases (focus on powdery mildew); and Scenarios (focus on problem-solving and decision-making skills).
The course also covers the biology of specific organisms in the grape ecosystem, field diagnosis and monitoring techniques and up-to-date summaries of the best available decision-making tools and management options. The use of the CD for large photo files allows access to numerous high-quality images and video without long download times. Graded multiple-choice exams taken on-line are also included in the package, and are used to determine the number of continuing education credits students receive.
Ecological Pest Management in Grapes covers some of the new knowledge expectations developed by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for individuals preparing to take the California Pest Control Adviser licensing exam. The course will help previously licensed PCAs get current in some of the IPM areas required of new PCAs. (Knowledge expectations and required study materials for the California PCA exam are on the DPR Web site at www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/license/knowlists.htm.)
Online registration information is located at www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/courses/grapes.
Students must complete the registration form and send in the course fee ($40) before they can have access to the course. Ecological Pest Management in Grapes is offered continuously. Total credits approved for this course are from 6 to 11 Continuing Education (CE) units, depending on test scores. CE units are currently approved for California PCAs only. |