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From EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs: On June 20, 2014, President Obama issued a directive to federal agencies to create a federal strategy to promote honey bee and other pollinator health. Scientists believe that honey bee losses are likely caused by multiple stressors, including poor bee nutrition, loss of forage lands, parasites, pathogens, and pesticides.  EPA will address the role of pesticides and take action, as appropriate, to protect pollinators. Read President Obama’s directive. Two important tools are being released as part of EPA’s ongoing actions to protect pollinators. These and other EPA pollinator protection efforts complement those of the USDA, the lead federal agency tasked with identifying and mitigating the causes of U.S. honey bee decline.

EPA’s New Pollinator Risk Assessment Guidance: EPA has posted its new Pollinator Risk Assessment Guidance online. The guidance is part of a long-term strategy to advance the science of assessing the risks posed by pesticides to bees, giving risk managers the means to further improve pollinator protection in our regulatory decisions. The guidance, developed in cooperation with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory agency, builds upon our ongoing efforts to advance the science of pollinator risk assessment

We are already implementing elements of the guidance in our ongoing registration review of neonicotinoid pesticides as well as in our other pesticide regulatory work.  At the request of beekeepers and growers alike, the agency has also posted our Residual Time to 25% Bee Mortality (RT25) Data online. Bees may be susceptible to harm from direct exposure to pesticides sprayed on flowering plants, but pesticide residues generally decrease in toxicity as the spray dries and time passes. Farmers and beekeepers can use EPA’s RT25 data to gauge the amount of time after application that a particular pesticide product remains toxic enough under real-world conditions to kill 25 percent of bees that are exposed to residues on treated plant surfaces. Some have used this information to select pesticide products with shorter periods in which the chemicals remain active and can affect bees.

Registration for the 2014 Southern Region Conference is underway! This conference for 2014 will feature an outstanding cast of speakers, a variety of educational break-out sessions, tours, and gala fun!  The 2014 Southern Region Master Gardener Conference is scheduled for October 20-24 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Early bird registration ends July 15th. For complete information on registration, accommodations, scheduling, tours, and all conference activities go to: www.southernregionmgconf2014.com  and go to this U-Tube link for your invitation to join us in October for the 2014 Southern Region Master Gardener Conference!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj5bymY-_ng

What inspires and motivates people to volunteer; to act selflessly and make personal sacrifices that help others on behalf of someone else? Whatever the reasons, volunteers do make a difference in people’s lives every day. Take a moment to view this heart-warming video that demonstrates well how lives are touched through a simple volunteer act of helping someone.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/uaWA2GbcnJU

The educators at Smithsonian Gardens want to get the word out about a new program and are pleased to announce the launch of Community of Gardens, a participatory, digital archive for crowdsourcing stories about gardens and gardening in the United States. You can browse the stories on a map or submit your own story. Smithsonian Gardens is collecting stories about backyards, community gardens, memories of gardens past, heirloom plants, gardening through the decades, and more. Over the next year Smithsonian Gardens will also be rolling out a project-based learning curriculum and toolkit to support teachers interested in getting their students out into their community to collect stories about gardens. This summer Smithsonian Gardens will launch a mobile app. Here is a link to the project: https://communityofgardens.si.edu/

Take a moment browse stories from around the country, and think about adding your own story. Does your grandmother have memories of her Victory Garden? Have you always wanted to interview your neighbor about their community garden plot? Community of Gardens is about connecting communities and sharing stories about the green spaces that enrich our lives.

For questions regarding this grassroots, educational initiative, please email Kate Fox at communityofgardens@si.edu<mailto:communityofgardens@si.edu>.

This is an invitation to all states and their Cooperative Extension Service faculty, as well as those involved in production, processing and/or distribution of locally sourced produce and protein, to come and participate in the 2014 Farm to Table International Symposium, scheduled for August 2-4 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

The Farm To Table International Symposium (F2Ti) offers practical knowledge for all those interested in the topics of sourcing, producing, and consuming foods locally. Join in lively discussions on the topic which will feature the brightest thought leaders and leading practitioners in the burgeoning farm-to-table movement. This year’s theme, “The Process,” examines the agricultural-culinary cycle at all levels and will feature its own organic urban farm research project. Topics will include the best practices for urban farming, bringing products to market, sourcing locally, sustainability and the latest with the imposing Food Safety Modernization Act. The Symposium occurs in tandem with the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s Annual Food-service Expo in a city that has its own unique culinary culture. The LSU AgCenter is a partner supporting this educational opportunity. For more information and registration visit:

http://f2t-int.com/#sthash.fHGhuLH7.dpuf

More than 180 Louisiana Master Gardeners (LMG) braved showers and cloudy skies to attend the annual LMG Appreciation Day at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station on May 9th. Each year Louisiana Master Gardeners provide more than 70,000 hours of volunteer service to the AgCenter through involvement in everything from plant health clinics to answering gardening questions in LSU AgCenter parish offices, to manning educational booths at fairs and festivals. Some Master Gardener associations also are actively involved in the rapidly expanding youth gardening, school gardening and community gardening programs.

The annual appreciation day has been held in Hammond the past several years to show Master Gardeners how much their volunteer efforts mean to the statewide horticulture programming efforts of the AgCenter. Activities for the day included a presentation by LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill. In addition, LSU AgCenter extension specialists Alan Morgan, Ron Strahan, Kathryn Fontenot and Raj Singh participated by having booth displays at the event. The program included contests, such as “Name that Weed” and “What’s Wrong with This Plant?” Horticulturist Allen Owings lead a tour of the sun garden trials featuring new plants for 2015 in addition to a new planting of tropical and sub-tropical plants from Florida.

This year Louisiana Master Gardeners voted for their favorite Louisiana Super Plant. The winners were – Camelot foxglove (first place) and Kauai torenia (second place). Belinda’s Dream rose and Serena angelonia tied for third place. Master Gardeners also voted on their favorite plants in the shade and sun gardens at the station during their event: The winners were – Mesa Bright Bicolor gaillardia (Gold Medal), Diamonds Blue delphinium (Silver Medal), Tidepool Dark Blue lobelia, Camelot Mix foxglove and Carnival summer poinsettia (Bronze Medals).  Honorable Mentions went to Drift Coral rose, Endurascape Red  verbena, Kauai Deep Blue torenia ,Techno Heat Lite Blue Improved lobelia, Dash Magician dianthus, Mesa Peach gaillardia, Swan Mix columbine, Flutterby Petite Tutti Frutti Pink butterfly bush, Dalmation Lavender Improved foxglove, Fragrant Bouquet hosta and bog sage (Salvia uliginosa).

For additional information about the Louisiana Master Gardener program, contact your local LSU AgCenter parish office or State Master Gardener Coordinator Miles Brashier at mbrashier@agcenter.lsu.edu or 225-638-5533.

 

The Smithsonian Gardens education team is pleased to announce the launch of Community of Gardens just in time for National Garden Month. Community of Gardens is a participatory, digital archive for crowdsourcing stories about gardens and gardening in the United States. You can browse the stories on a map or submit your own story. Smithsonian Gardens is collecting stories about backyards, community gardens, memories of gardens past, heirloom plants, gardening through the decades, and more. Over the next year Smithsonian Gardens will also be rolling out a project-based learning curriculum and toolkit to support teachers interested in getting their students out into their community to collect stories about gardens. In the summer Smithsonian Gardens will launch a mobile app.

Here is a link to the project: https://communityofgardens.si.edu/

Take a moment browse stories from around the country, and think about adding your own story. Does your grandmother have memories of her Victory Garden? Have you always wanted to interview your neighbor about their community garden plot? Community of Gardens is about connecting communities and sharing stories about the green spaces that enrich our lives.

For additional information email Kate Fox at communityofgardens@si.edu<mailto:communityofgardens@si.edu>.

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