L. Sanderson, UF/IFAS Extension, Sumter County, Bushnell, FL
Situation: In March 2020, the beginning of COVID-19 required UF/IFAS Extension in Sumter County to adapt in-person Horticulture programs. Residents were quickly connected to and educated with virtual platforms such as Zoom meetings, Zoom webinars, and on Teams. Traditional programs continued on the virtual platforms for new residents to the Villages, seasonal programs, plant clinics and Master Gardener Volunteer meetings, as well as the implementation of new programs. Participants adapted to virtual outreach. This also included the start of “Facebook Live: In the Garden.” Methods: Thirty-seven “In the Garden” Facebook Live posts were offered Saturday mornings at 9 am. Participants who attended were educated on topics including pruning large-leaved plants, how to plant a shrub, plants to attract pollinators, and edible plants from the garden including bananas and dwarf mulberry. Each session lasted approximately nine minutes or less. “In the Garden” was advertised in local papers and in the UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County online programming newsletter, in The Gardener’s Journal, and through MailChimp. Results: “In the Garden” resulted in a total of 83 peak view participants on Facebook Live at 9 am on Saturday morning. Participants devoted 2,563 minutes viewing “In the Garden,” 490 participants with 1-minute views, 1,591 with 10-second views, and 3,073 with 3-second views. A Qualtrics survey has been created to collect data on learning and potential behavior change. Conclusion: Participants engaged in many Extension opportunities to learn more about Horticulture through traditional methods, and through social media opportunities such as Facebook Live.