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. 9, VDACS Office of Pesticide Services recognized the following agents for their outstanding performance in 2014:
2014 Plastic Pesticide Container Recycling Program: Ursula Deitch, Northampton County, and Theresa Long, Accomack County
This year’s winning agents not only worked to improve their program but were available and willing to assist as needed, whether in a neighboring county or with a last minute request to find a suitable site to store the chipped plastic that required an area large enough for a tractor trailer and an available forklift. Their ability to overcome these logistical obstacles goes above and beyond the norm and allowed the recycling crew to stay on schedule, benefitting not only the program but the other agents and localities that were ready and staffed for the next morning. Their dedication to the program led to a 44 percent increase in the amount of plastic collected from the previous year in their respective counties.
Pesticide Disposal Program: Watson Lawrence, Chesapeake, and Roy Flanagan, Virginia Beach
This year’s award goes to a team of agents who exhibited both cooperation and collaboration, including local coordination and site selection and notifying agricultural producers, industry, gardener and grower groups, and homeowners of the availability of the pesticide disposal program. These agents’ efforts were not limited to establishing and promoting the program within their counties but also working to assist in identifying and facilitating on-site collections in situations where there were no other safe alternatives. Furthermore when a rain event threatened the outdoor collection event, they were able to get access to a facility that morning which would allow the program to operate under a roof with each agent taking a turn at the initial site ensuring all participants found their way to the new and improved collection location.
First Place, Pesticide Safety Education: Adria Bordas, Fairfax; Kristin Buhls, Arlington; Debbie Dillion, Culpeper; Tim Ohlwiler, Fauquier; Beth Sastre-Flores, Loudoun and Paige Thacker, Prince William
The first place award recognized a team of agents who came together to identify and meet the training needs of the applicators in their area. These agents used hands-on activities and mini presentations on multiple topics. This meeting style not only provided a lot of information on various topics, but it also kept the meeting moving and captured the participants’ attention.
Second Place, Pesticide Safety Education, Pesticide Applicator Recertification Course – Stephen Barts and Jamie Stowe, Pittsylvania County
The second place award recognizes a team of agents who built an interactive training meeting in a 50,000 square foot arena. They designed their program to be truly hands-on and visual to replicate real world demonstrations with life size teaching aids. These agents balanced their ingenuity and resources to develop an excellent program that had a very positive impact upon recipients.
Third Place, Pesticide Safety Education, Private Pesticide Applicator Recertification Course – Watson Lawrence, Chesapeake, and Roy Flanagan, Virginia Beach
The third place award recognizes two agents who provided recertification meetings with information tailored to the specific needs of their growers. These agents used a combination of presentation methods and technology to keep those in attendance engaged in the training.
VDACS 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.