Creation of a Web-Based Training Course to Promote Biological Control
CSANR Project 156
This project aims to stabilize and enhance conservation biological control of pests in tree fruit orchards. The adoption of organophosphate-alternative pesticides has destabilized the biological controls for pests in integrated pest management (IPM) programs, many of which were taken for granted under organophosphate-dominated management regimes. Pest management decision makers need a better understanding of how biological control functions and how natural enemies are negatively impacted in pest management programs relying in order to conserve natural enemies in orchards and, thus, enhance biological control of secondary pests. To potentially reach all pest management decision makers of Washington State, we began to convert the materials of a successful hands-on workshop into an online course. This project provided resources to finish the development and implementation of the first of two modules of the online course. The first module focuses on concepts of biological control, the biology and impact of common natural enemies in orchards, and exercises to sharpen identification skills of key natural enemies. Stakeholders can take the online course at a time of their choosing and receive pesticide recertification credits upon the completion of the course.
As the course is not completed yet, we have no publication or web product to present yet. However, a first sneak peek at the first versions of some of the course sections can be had here:
(MONITORING and NE MODELS are sections of Module 2. Keep in mind that image credits still need to be included, some parts will change until the final version, and the Introduction may not work with some browsers).
Additional Funds Leveraged
We secured funding ($26,580) from a Western IPM grant to complete module 2 of the online course and have been working on the second module since March 2016. Module 2 is near completion.
In addition, WSU Extension is supporting the online course development by providing resources to the WSU Global Campus team with expertise to transform the content our team assembles and our team’s vision into an interactive online course.
Impacts and Outcomes
The online course has not been published yet. Therefore, we cannot report on any impacts yet. The expected impacts of the online course are:
• short-term: users enhance their knowledge of biological control in general and in particular about common natural enemies in orchards; users can earn pesticide recertification credits as part of their pesticide license requirements.
• intermediate-term (5-10 years): increased awareness of and monitoring for natural enemies in their orchards, leading to more reliance on biological control of secondary pests and, thus, reduced use of pesticides, or increased use of more selective pesticides.
• long-term: economic and environmental benefits by reducing the number pesticide applications potential negative impacts on farm workers, the public, export markets, and the environment.