Back in 2012, the Western IPM Center supported a Signature Program to develop educational material to prevent pesticides from entering surface and groundwater. The authors, from four Western states, developed PowerPoint slides sets for trainers to use in presentations to the agricultural industry, to landscape professionals, or to homeowners. The slides were posted on-line in January 2013, for free, but we asked for name, email, employer, city and state to gather evaluation information.
There were 106 total downloads and several individuals downloaded more than one slide set. People from 20 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and one Canadian providence downloaded slides with the top states being 41 downloads in California, nine in Oregon, five in Idaho, and four each in Hawaii, Iowa, North Dakota and New York. People from universities, extension, or county agriculture commissioners offices downloaded slide sets 39 times; agricultural and landscape industries 28 times; city, county, state or federal government agencies 18 times; and water quality control boards or waterkeeper groups eight times.
Survey and results
In April 2014, a survey was sent to 89 individuals who had downloaded at least one of the three slide sets. Six emails were returned undeliverable. There were 12 responses for a response rate of 14.5%. The questions and responses are summarized below.
1. Why did you download the Water Quality Protection Slide set from the Western IPM Center? (multiple answers allowed)
50% (6/12) to prepare for a presentation
25% (3/12) to share with colleagues
17% (2/12) for my own personal education
42% (5/12) curious to see what information was covered in the slides
2. Which Water Quality Protection Slide set(s) did you download? (multiple answers allowed)
75% (9/12) Water Quality Protection Measures for Agriculture
66.7 % (8/12) Water Quality Protection Measures for Landscape Professionals
66.7% (8/12) Water Quality Protection Measures for Homeowners
3. Did you increase your knowledge on the use of pesticide handling best management practices to protect water quality?
75% (9/12) Yes 17% (2/12) No 8% (1/12) Did not answer
4. Did you change your pesticide handling practices as a result of the information presented in the Water Quality Protection Slides?
0% Yes 33.3% (4/12) No 66.7% (8/12) Not applicable
5. If yes, how did you change your pesticide handling practices?
One person who answered “No” explained that he/she was using the slides to make sure he/she was doing everything possible to keep pesticides out of water resources.
6. Did you give a presentation using the slide set?
25% (3/12) Yes, gave a presentation using all or most of the slide set
25% (3/12) Yes, gave a presentation using some of the slides in the set
50% (6/12) No
7. Which Water Quality Protection Slide set(s) did you use for the presentation? (multiple answers allowed)
50% (3/6) Water Quality Protection Measures for Agriculture
66.7% (4/6) Water Quality Protection Measures for Landscape Professionals
16.7% (1/6) Water Quality Protection Measures for Homeowners
8. If you used all or parts of the slide set for presentation(s), to whom did you give the presentation(s) and how many people attended?
Commercial applicators - about 250
Presentation to Pest Control Businesses - 52
Undergraduate students - 30
Iowa Certified Handlers – 200
Iowa Seed Treatment Continuing Instructional Course - 800
To a group of about 100 municipal staffers. Mostly parks and rec maintenance workers
Landscape and turf management professionals
9. If you gave a presentation, did the audience members increase their knowledge of pesticide handling best management practices to protect water quality?
66.7% (4/6) Yes 33.3% (2/6) of presenters No
10. If yes, how did the audience members say they increased their knowledge of pesticide handling practices?
‘Yes’ answers based on anecdotal evidence.
‘No’ answers based on acknowledging a lack of evaluation data.
11. If you gave a presentation, did the audience members indicate plans to change their pesticide handling practices in order to protect water quality?
50% (3/6) Yes
33% (2/6) No
17 % (1/6) No answer
12. If yes, how did the audience members say they planned to change their pesticide handling practices?
‘Yes’ answers based on anecdotal evidence.
13. Did the slide set meet your needs?
100% (12/12) Yes
14. If no, how could they be improved to meet your needs?
There were no answers to this question
15. Is there any additional feedback you would like to give the Western IPM Center regarding the Water Quality Protection Slide Sets?
“Very nice quality. I would suggest doing a color commentary audio narrated version video clip of the presentations. Use Camtasia or Adobe Presenter. This would be targeted at the presenter and not necessarily towards the end user.”
“Thanks for putting together those slide sets. They were helpful for self-study for our grounds maintenance crew at the County.”
“Didn't like the red banners in the Ag slide set.”
“Thank you for sharing!”
“The slides are a good educational resource, I didn't end up using them because they were a little too basic for my purposes. I work for the water quality regulatory agency, so I am glad these presentations are available for others because these are the basic principles we are trying to educate about to prevent water quality problems.”
The response rate was 14.5%, which may have been influenced by the time between the release of the slide sets and the survey. The survey was planned to give people sufficient time to have given a presentation prior to the survey. However, 15 months may have been too long. Most of the survey responses (10/12) were from people who downloaded more than one slide set. While this is not representative of the whole group, it does capture data from those most interested in the water quality protection topic.
Most of the respondents increased their knowledge of water quality protection during pesticide application but were not responsible for applying pesticides. This is not surprising since the slides sets were intended to “train-the-trainers.” Half of the respondents gave a presentation using “most” or “some” of the slide sets. Two-thirds gave presentations to landscape professionals and half gave presentations to agricultural groups. Presentations on protecting water quality from pesticides reached more than 1,400 audience members. Presenters responded that audience members increased their knowledge of water quality protection measures and would change their pesticide handling practices, however all responses were based on anecdotal evidence.
In conclusion, the water quality slide sets were downloaded by a large number of people across the United States. Based on self-evaluation, the slide sets increased the knowledge of the majority of people who downloaded them. Those who gave presentations based on the slide sets did not have evaluation data to demonstrate the audience members either increased their knowledge or would change practices, but did have anecdotal evidence to suggest this was the case. All of the survey respondents stated the slide set met their needs.