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Utah State University’s Summit County extension program offers free webinars to locals

For information about Utah State University’s Summit County extension programs, visit extension.usu.edu/summit.

At the same time Summit County Health Department issued the shelter-in-place order to help stop the spread of COVID-19, Utah State University Extension for Summit County moved their offerings to a digital format.

Information about these free programs that include agriculture webinars can be found at extension.usu.edu/summit, said Elizabeth Cohen, USU’s extension assistant professor for agriculture, small farms and natural resources.

“We wanted to make sure we were still serving the community during the shutdown, especially when people have time on their hands,” Cohen said. “So we were able to pivot quickly to make our upcoming programming online.”

The next webinar, “Be a Honeybee Helper,” is scheduled to run from 6:30-8 p.m. on Monday, April 27, according to Cohen.

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It’s rewarding to help people solve problems or bring information that is science- and research-based to people…” Elizabeth Cohen, Utah State University’s extension assistant professor for agriculture, small farms and natural resources.

The public can register for and view the webinar by visiting bit.ly/2S1hwWw.

The session, led by Stephen Stanko of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Farms, and Sheridan Hansen, USU assistant professor of horticulture, is a partnership with Summit County, Summit County Weed Management Association (CWMA) and Ecology Bridge, a landscape project management company, Cohen said.

The topics covered will include noxious weeds and environmental threats to honeybees and other pollinators, as well as honeybee diseases and seasonal hive care tips.

“They will also discuss plants that support pollinator health and horticulture, and those who register for the webinar will receive a packet of native grass and wildflower seed mix,” Cohen said.

The seed packets were made possible through an Integrated Pest Management Grant from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Farms, she said.

“We’re still trying to figure out how we will distribute those, but we may just put them in the mail,” Cohen said.

Another pollinator-based webinar, “Out of the Weeds, In with the Pollinators,” will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 4.

This session, which will specifically cover Utah’s native bees and butterflies, is made possible by a partnership with the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter, Summit CWMA, and Ecology Bridge LLC, Cohen said.

The public can register and view this webinar by visiting bit.ly/3bwThY5, and questions can be directed to Hunter Klingensmith at the Swaner EcoCenter at hunter.klingensmith@usu.org or by calling 435-797-8943.

The panelists, who will include Amy Sibul from the University of Utah, Mindy Wheeler of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, and Dee Downing from Red Ant Works Inc., a local landscape company that works with native plants, will discuss how the public can make their yards pollinator havens, Cohen said.

“Like ‘Be a Honeybee Helper,’ participants will also receive a seed mix packet,” she said.

There will also be a webinar about composting, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19, and the registration link will be posted soon at swanerecocenter.org/calendar, Cohen said.

This session, led by Dr. Melaine Stock, a soils scientist and the USU extension specialist for urban and small farms, will be hosted by USU Extension and the environmental Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter, which is also run by USU, she said.

All webinars will be recorded, and the EcoCenter will make the links available for people who aren’t able to watch them live, Cohen said.

“The mission of the USU extension is to help make people’s lives better,” she said. “It’s rewarding to help people solve problems or bring information that is science- and research-based to people.”

The public can help Cohen and other USU extension facilitators direct programming by filing out Summit County COVID-19 needs assessment survey at usu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cOaxxSU4H3rWs97, she said.

“It only takes a couple of minutes, and the survey link will be active through Sunday, May 3,” Cohen said.


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