COLLABORATING WITH OTHER AGENCIES TO INCREASE CLASS PARTICIPATION AND GREATER IMPACTS
Ricketts G., Pabon E., UF/IFAS Extension in Osceola County
Situation: The UF/IFAS Extension/Osceola County horticulture department was facing challenges in getting clientele to attend horticulture training programs. Methods: The agents conducted 2 meetings with Osceola County Natural Resources Department to discuss the impact of excess nutrients on lakes and how to reach more landscapers. Agents met with a representative from the tax commissioner’s office to discuss making it mandatory for people with occupational licenses to become green industry best management practices (GIBMP) certified. The agents also conducted a meeting with Habitat for Humanity Training Coordinator to educate her on horticulture programs offer by UF IFAS Extension Osceola County. Results: The tax commissioner’s office agreed to program their computers to place holds on applicants who are not GIBMP certified and to give them UF/IFAS Extension contact information. Applicants attended GIBMP training, received passing scores and subsequently received a GIBMP certificate. Applicants provide certification to the tax collector’s office and hold is removed. Because of the collaboration, it is now mandatory that all Habitat for Humanity housing assistance applicants must take 2 hours of lawn and ornamental trainings before receiving any assistance. The commercial horticulture department has 50% (n=265) more class participation in the first 3 months of 2018 compared to the same time in 2017. Thirty percent 30 % (n=86) more green industry professionals are GIBMP certified in 2017 compared to 2016. Sixty (60) participants from the Habitat for Humanity indicated that they will take care of their own landscape, a saving of $560 per person per year. A total of (560 x 60) equal $33,600 per year. Conclusion: Collaboration not only increase class participation and impacts but also provides resources that extension would normally pay for.