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Creating Educational Opportunities in Biological Pest Control and Reducing Pesticide Application in Campus Greenhouses

Contact

Scott Diloreto, dsd134@psu.edu

About the Project

Creating Educational Opportunities in Biological Pest Control and Reducing Pesticide Application in Campus Greenhouses was funded by Penn State's Sustainability Institute's Reinvention Fund at the University Park campus in the amount of $12,333.

The goals of this project are to provide professional engaged scholarship opportunities in biological pest control methods, while implementing biological pest control methods across campus greenhouses, reducing campus pesticide applications.  A student intern team, working under the supervision of experts, will actually carry out the biological pest control work in campus greenhouses receiving unparalleled practical experience. Additionally, biological pest control teaching modules integrated into Agricultural Sciences classes with greenhouse components, and an in-house biological pest control workshop will provide hands-on experience for hundreds of students, as well as greenhouse growers and extension educators.

Objectives
  • Continue to develop the existing biological pest control program in the College of Ag greenhouse facility and make further reductions in pesticide use in the facility.

  • Partner with other campus greenhouses and units - The Office of the Physical Plant, Eberly College of Science, and the Huck Institute to deliver effective and economical biological pest control solutions to their greenhouse facilities. 

  • Develop formal, hands-on biological pest control training opportunities integrated into the College of Agricultural Sciences curriculum. Two biological pest control student internship positions will be created and these students, under expert supervision, will actually carry out the biological pest control programs in campus greenhouses providing an unparalleled and immersive learning experience.  Additionally, biological pest control modules will be integrated into the curriculum of three classes with greenhouse crop production components (HORT 202, HORT 453, HORT 297A) as well as a field demonstration in ENT457 Integrated Pest Management.

  • Develop, through collaboration with the Penn State Agricultural Extension Service, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and Yale University biological pest control training modules, in-house workshops, signage, online video and web-based publications - for community members and commercial greenhouse growers.

Latest News

  • During spring and summer of 2014, student interns, working with faculty experts and greenhouse staff, deployed and monitored biological pest control organisms in the College of Agricultural Sciences greenhouses, the Huck Institute Rooftop Greenhouse, and the Office of the Physical Plant Tower Road Greenhouse.  In all greenhouses biological pest control organisms effectively reduced plant pest populations and permitted major reductions in pesticide use in the facilities. The project team is excited to soon extend this work to the Eberly College of Science Biology greenhouse as well, at which time the program will effectively cover all UP campus greenhouses.

  • The biological pest control learning modules which were integrated into College of Ag classes in spring 2014 semester reached over 100 students and provided practical, hands-on experience with biological pest control organisms for students and will likely influence their pest control decisions as agricultural professionals.  An in-house biological pest control workshop, which is aimed at an audience of extension educators and greenhouse growers, is planned for spring of 2015 to correspond to the spring plant production period.