Since 2002, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has recognized Virginia Cooperative Extension agents and specialists for their outstanding participation in the plastic pesticide container recycling program, the pesticide disposal program, and pesticide safety education courses.
On Sept. 4, 2013, the following agents were recognized for their outstanding performance in 2012:
2012 Plastic Pesticide Container Recycling Program – Chris Drake, Extension Agent in Southampton County. Chris inherited a good program and worked aggressively to make it better by growing the number of containers received, improving the quality of plastic by ensuring containers are rinsed and stored correctly and, most importantly, by increasing the number of participants. The Southampton County program provided approximately 12,000 pounds of the nearly 89,000 pounds of plastic collected from the 29 participating sites.
Pesticide Disposal Program – Cynthia Gregg, Brunswick County and Taylor Clarke, Mecklenburg County. The 2012 Pesticide Disposal Program was held in Southside Virginia at eight centrally located sites serving 23 participating localities. This year’s winning agents exhibited both cooperation and collaboration, including local coordination and site selection; notifying agricultural producers, industry, gardener and grower groups, and homeowners of the availability of the pesticide disposal program; and educating producers and homeowners on proper storage and disposal of unwanted pesticides. Their recommendations not only worked very well in 2012 but also were incorporated into the 2013 Program and will be incorporated into future programs. These efforts generated nearly 34 percent of the total pounds collected in 2012.
First Place -Registered Technician Pesticide Training
Cynthia Gregg, Brunswick County; Chuck Johnson, Southern Piedmont Agriculture Research and Extension Center; Bob Jones, Charlotte County; Paul Semtner, Southern Piedmont AREC; David Smith, Cumberland County; Mike Parrish, Dinwiddie County; Bruce Jones, Appomattox County;Eric Bowen, Nottoway County; Taylor Clarke, Mecklenburg County; and Vickie Rengers, VDACS.
This group recognized the growing need for a formal training program to prepare pesticide applicators to pass the registered technician exam for certification. These instructors used a variety of teaching methods to prepare the attendees for their exams. For many participants, this course was a turnkey opportunity not only to get the necessary training but also to complete the application for certification and participate in the scheduled test date shortly after the completion of the training. Success of this program was demonstrated by the number of applicators who passed their certification exams.
Second Place – Private Applicator Recertification Program
Chris Drake, Southampton County; Sean Malone, Tidewater AREC; Ames Herbert, Tidewater AREC and Robert Christian, VDACS
The second place award went to a team who worked together to provide a quality and interactive private applicator recertification. This program was held at different times to accommodate the schedules of their clientele. They developed an innovative training program with information sessions, a Quiz Bowl complete with prizes, and the use of Turning Point Technologies with Response Ware clickers. The collection of real time data from the audience showed the level of understanding and allowed for the instructor to slow down and elaborate on points that were unclear.
Third Place – Pesticide Applicator Recertification
Mike Andruczyk, Chesapeake; Laurie Fox, Hampton Roads AREC; Cyndi Wyskiewicz, Portsmouth; Eric Stormer, Norfolk; and Megan Tierney, Hampton
The third place award recognizes a team of agents who provided timely recertification and outreach to a variety of industries. They used a combination of presentation methods and technology, and incorporated hands-on and interactive activities, including the Wheel of Pest Control game, to keep trainees engaged.
VDACS Commissioner Matthew J. Lohr and Deputy Commissioner Sandra J. Adams presented each agent with a commemorative plaque and a gift basket of Virginia’s Finest products on behalf of the Office of Pesticide Services.