2016 Master Volunteer Entomology Specialist training scheduled

Molly Keck, urban IPM program specialist in Bexar County, is putting together the 2016 MVES training in San Antonio.  And believe me it’s going to be GREAT!  Huge!  Here’s her description:

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September 26 (noon) – September 29, 2016 (noon) Master Volunteer Entomology Specialist Training – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Bexar County Office & Hardberger Park, San Antonio, TX

Get immersed in the wonderful world of insects this September, and come out feeling like a true entomologist.  Meet others like you, who have a passion for bugs!  Topics will include: Ento 101, Integrated Pest Management, Beneficials, Urban Pests, Veggie Pests, Landscape & Ornamental Pests, Invasives, Pollinators and much more!

Purpose of the Class. MVES training provides a unique opportunity for Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of arthropod life.  The purpose of the program is to equip Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists to support and expand insect-related county educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. The goal of the Entomology Specialist program is not to produce entomology “experts”–rather it is to identify and recognize master volunteers who have received special training to support specific entomology-related programs or projects. In the past, projects have included educational projects for school children about bugs, building entomology collections for county programs, training other master volunteers, developing presentations, and/or applied research relating to insects.

What we’ll do. We will explore insects and their relatives as an important part of both the human and the natural environment.  Expert speakers will address topics covering insects in the environment, insect identification, integrated pest management, pesticide safety, bees, biting and stinging insects/arthropods, collecting methods and preservation techniques. One evening will be dedicated to night collecting in a local bee yard–so we can observe bee behavior and see what comes out when the sun goes down.  You will also have an opportunity to start an insect collection during the course.

Expectations. Upon completing the course, you will be asked to begin entomology projects within your county to complete the training, and receive a special pin and official title of Master Volunteer – Entomology Specialist.

Registration.  Registration is on a first come/first serve basis. Only 30 participant spots are guaranteed for this training, along with 5 auditing slots (see below).   Submit your registration forms as soon as possible.  Payment and forms must be in the Bexar County office by August 15, 2016 and no refunds will be given for any reason after this date. A detailed agenda is being prepared and once all speakers are confirmed it will be advertised.

Cost. Registration fee of $295 per person that includes:

  • Two lunches (T,W), one dinner, snacks and drinks during the week.
  • Insect collecting kit including insect net, collecting jars, vials, insect storage box and other essential goodies
  • Handouts and reference material
  • Click here for a registration form

Transportation. We rely on participants to provide their own transportation for travel to local insect collecting and possible field trip sites.  Participant should be prepared for outdoor activity and dressed appropriately.  We recommend long pants and shoes with socks, long sleeved shirt, sunscreen, insect repellent, flashlights or headlamp, and any other personal items you require.

Auditing the Class. Any volunteer who has previously completed the MVES training and would like to audit an individual class day this year, will be charged a $25 fee per day which only applies to T, W and Th classes ($70 for all three days) to cover costs of meals, snacks and drinks (no collecting supplies). Please pre-register for the number of days that you plan to attend.  Only 5 auditing slots each day are available.***

Still Have Questions? For more information, contact Molly Keck, mekeck@ag.tamu.edu or at 210-631-0400. Otherwise, download and follow the directions on the registration form.  To maximize the experience of our students, class size will be limited to the first 30 registrants.  We will, however, maintain a waiting list if necessary.

This year’s program is hosted by Molly Keck with the assistance of the Bexar County Master Gardeners.

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