This week’s guest blogger is Chris Becker, our Consumer and Youth Specialist, who organizes our program’s major outreach events, including this year’s Farm Show.
Farm Show Posts Record Numbers in 2012
To say Farm Show was “BUSY” isn’t quite a big enough word to describe the massive number of people visiting this year’s event. The show was “packed,” to say the least. Whether from the show’s family-friendly activities and FREE admission, interest in Agriculture, mild weather, or a combination of all, Farm Show 2012 was the most well attended Farm Show on record. A press release cited nearly 70,000 vehicles parked in the Farm Show lots throughout the week. And, although that doesn’t mean much by itself, when compared to last year’s parking totals of 55,000 cars parked, that’s a 27% increase in attendance!
Our own Pesticide Education Program’s Miniature Golf Educational Exhibit enjoyed the benefits of the increased crowds. Over the past few years, we have boasted educating 10,000 children and adults about different aspects of Pesticide Safety. This year, we saw over 13,000 youth and adults visit our golf game and lean about the importance of knowing signal words, and other safe practices, to keep everyone in the family safe from poisonings. That’s a 30% increase for our exhibit alone.
Master Gardener Volunteers Practicing their Trade
With a four hole golf game, where every hole conveys a slightly different educational message, and an educational look-alikes display at the Farm Show, Pesticide Education relies on volunteer county Master Gardeners from around the state to staff the game. This year, over 140 master gardener volunteers provided their expertise to educate consumers, both youth and adults, about the importance of poison prevention with household chemicals. Their help and expertise are immeasurable, and then there’s the fact that they are all so enjoyable to work with throughout the event!
Master Gardeners love gardening and sharing their knowledge about gardening with others. At the Farm Show, those “others” are mostly children whose smiles and comments are heartwarming as they learn about pesticide safety through our latest golf theme.
2012 Farm Show Golf Theme
This year, the theme was “Learning Signal Words and Other Safety Practices including using Mr. Yuk to Keep Everyone in the Family Safe from Accidental Poisonings with Chemicals.” A number of adult visitors often question what pesticide safety has to do with chemicals found in the home. Many adults are surprised to learn that several chemicals products in the home, although not “traditional” pesticides, are used to kill or control various pests including bacteria, fungi, rodents, and insects. More than a few of those household chemicals are listed with one of the four signal words to indicate they are mild to severe in either toxicity or are a contact irritant of the skin or eyes. A few are even more deadly than “traditional” pesticides. Master Gardeners do a wonderful job of interacting with visitors, explaining the concepts, and teaching chemical safety.
Golfers In All Sizes and Species?
Golfers come in all sizes from the tiniest little toddlers to the most senior of senior citizens. But this year, we made room for a golfer of a different species? We had a visit from a famous Lion . . . the Penn State Nittany Lion!
Wikipedia says it is officially a Puma, northeastern Cougar, subspecies of the Puma concolor couguar but, we Penn State fans are all good with Lion. The Nittany Lion had loads of fun golfing through our game while learning about poison prevention. We Are… PENN STATE!!!
The Mini Golf Game is Always on the Road
Keep an eye out for the golf game. The golf game is used often by Master Gardeners across the state for local events. Look for it at a fair, festival, or other event in your area this year. You may want to contact your county Penn State Extension Master Gardener Program Coordinator to see if it will be used in your area. Remember, our Pesticide Education Program golf game is always free!
Pesticide Education Program Thanks All Volunteers
The Pesticide Education Program is grateful to all Master Gardener Volunteers who donated their time to help staff the golf game this year. Their educational service, to Penn State Extension and the people of the Commonwealth, in helping to keep all citizens and the environment safer, is immeasurable.
PA Farm Show Highlights
For more highlights of the 2012 Pennsylvania Farm Show, visit the Farm Show website at: http://www.farmshow.state.pa.us. For more information about Pesticide Education visit our website at: http://extension.psu.edu/pested.
Until Next Time,