By: Wayne Jewell
On Thursday September 21st, Sunset Memorial Park was once again the training grounds for The Ohio State University Cooperative Extension Service
County extension agents from Erie, Lorain and Summit counties conducted a “diagnostic walk-about” of the cemetery. The purpose of the seminar was to give area landscapers and other grounds maintenance people a chance to learn how to identify various insect and disease problems in the landscape.
Most attendees were from this area but some came from as far away as Toledo, Ohio to receive pesticide license re-certification credits. Sunset Memorial Park has been working in partnership with The Ohio State University extension for about 20 years now, allowing the extension educators to use our grounds for various training programs such as pruning schools, diagnostic walk-abouts and even some master gardener programs. I personally initiated this partnership when I overheard a couple of extension people talking about how hard it was to find a location to hold a pruning school. Following the approval of my General Manager, I contacted the extension agent at the time from Lorain county and offered our grounds for training purposes.
In case you are not aware, every state in the country has at least one “land grant” college or university and some states have as many as three. A “land grant” school must offer a curriculum that teaches agriculture, engineering and military science aka ROTC.
During the mid-1800’s, a Senator Morrill from Vermont proposed the concept of a land grant college so that people could go to school and learn new methods of farming that might improve crop production. Each state that agreed to start this type of institution of higher learning was given 3000 acres of land upon which they could either build the school or sell off the land to finance building a college somewhere in the state.
Ohio has one land grant school-The Ohio State University. Land grant colleges or universities conduct research in the areas of agriculture and horticulture and this information is shared with the state and federal departments of agriculture. They also have an agent in each county of each state whose job is to reach out to the public and share information. This is the extension program. These county agents conduct classes for the public, answer questions or concerns that individuals may have about their lawn and garden problems, etc.
Some of you may remember the TV sit-com known as Green Acres and the bumbling county agent Mr. Kimball who drove Oliver Douglas crazy with his rambling non-sense commentary. I mention this to point out that real life county agents are NOT “Mr. Kimballs”. In fact, the minimum education requirement is to have a Master’s Degree in some form of agriculture or horticulture discipline. These county agents are here for all of us and are a great source of information.