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J. Davis, UF/IFAS Extension, Sumter County, Bushnell, FL., L. Duncan, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County, Bushnell, FL. and F. Oi, Associate Professor and Director of Pest Management University, Gainesville, FL.

Situation: Due to COVID-19, in-person workshops quickly came to a halt. How is Extension going to reach clientele? The solution was to create a virtual webinar series. This series emphasizes three areas of basic home maintenance such as saving water indoors, preventing mold, and pest management. Annual household leaks result in over one trillion gallons of water wasted each year in the United States. Appliance leaks, roof leaks, and other hidden leaks result in mold which poses a serious health risk to homeowners. Excess moisture and water, stored, and cardboard boxes makes a perfect environment for pests. Methods: Two-hour webinars were held once a month. Instructors included two Extension faculty and one Extension specialist. Each section lasts approximately 45-minutes. Zoom webinar was used. Attendance was collected via pre attendance poll and by the zoom attendance report. Pre and posttests were conducted using zoom polling.

Results: Objective: Surveyed participants will demonstrate at least a 30% gain of intent to practice in one or more behaviors of indoor water savings, mold prevention, and integrated pest management. N=57 participants responded via Zoom webinar pre and posttest poll. 100% of participants responded that they would be more successful in managing pests, preventing mold, and saving water indoors, because of the Extension webinar. Participants (n=57) demonstrated an average 32% gain of intent to practice one or more integrated pest management techniques, an average 30% gain of intent to practice one or more mold prevention techniques, and an average 61% gain of intent to practice one ore more indoor water savings methods.

Conclusion: This pilot program has been a success. As a result, new virtual webinars have been scheduled for 2021, as well as in-person workshops. After six months, a follow-up survey will be delivered to measure actual behavior changes.

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  1. Really enjoyed reading your poster. Mold is a common issue for homeowners and even more so in older homes without proper ventilation. It’s such an ongoing issue in some homes that could potentially result in adverse health effects. Your program is putting a great spotlight on the solutions to this problem, especially in our Florida dense and humid climate. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have never thought of a “home maintenance” approach to extension programming, but it makes complete sense!