Over 5,000 licensed Commercial and Public pesticide applicators in Oregon are responsible for controlling pests in urban landscapes, public parks, school grounds, and farms. Many public applicators are also responsible for managing vegetation alongside the State’s roadways. There are a multitude of applicator license types http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/Pesticides/Licensing/Pages/LicenseTypes.aspx and categories http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/Pesticides/Licensing/Pages/LicenseCategories.aspx
The general public is concerned about the effects of pesticide use on the environment. Licensed commercial and public pesticide applicators want to apply pesticides only when needed, with the least risk to humans and the environment. It is imperative that these professionals receive the best continuing education available to keep their licenses and their skills current. There are many education and training events available locally throughout the state. Large courses with multiple presenters can be effective, as long as they are driven by the needs of the attendees.
Early in the Spring of each year, the Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) begins preparing for a winter round of four large continuing education courses for licensed commercial and public pesticide applicators. These four events provide unbiased, objective information to a clientele for many of whom this may be the only contact they have with OSU. They have many continuing education options to choose from to obtain the required number of credits to keep their licenses current. OSU offers unbiased and targeted information that can be directly applied. In theory these courses can also enable rapid responses to problems such as violations of the law, and newly emerging health, environmental policy and pest management challenges.
To assure information is unbiased and targeted, two separate advisory committees (one for the Chemical Applicators Short Course, one for the Non Crop Vegetation Management Course) are convened. Program staff also communicate with collaborators for the Urban Pest Management Course and the Central Oregon Pest Management Course. Evaluations including requests for future topics are collated and reviewed.
Collaborators work with the PSEP program to identify key topics and speakers that will help improve commercial and public pesticide applicators’ abilities to respond rapidly to emerging challenges using an informed and integrated approach. When pesticides are needed, the focus is on efficient and effective applications with reduced impacts to human health and the environment.
Program funding comes from the College of Agricultural Sciences, Oregon State University, and from course registration fees.
Over 650 licensed Commercial and Public Pesticide applicators attend the four Courses in January and February of each year. Over 60 speakers from various organizations give over 65 presentations on topics ranging from IPM-oriented landscape design, evidenced-based risk assessment related to pesticides and endangered species, personal protective equipment, degree day models, pesticide drift and IPM for specific pests. Attendees are asked to give each presentation a value rating on content (interesting and useful) as well as presentation style. Results showed the average value rating in all categories was high. When content usefulness has a high value rating this leads to high level of adoption. 98% of presentations are rated highly.
At-event evaluations: Attendees rated useful content of each presentation on scale of 1 through 5 (1= little value, 5 = highly valued). Anything above 2.5 interpreted as an intention to use knowledge gained from the presentation to improve pesticide application efficiency, reduce risks to the environment and human health, and/or reduce reliance on pesticides.
Oregon Department of Agriculture Pesticides Program http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/Pesticides/Pages/default.aspx