WVSU | West Virginia State University

Extending Knowledge. Changing Lives.

We are committed to providing research-based educational programs and technical assistance to farmers, commodity groups and agribusiness, and to providing horticultural and pest management assistance to the broader citizenship of West Virginia. We focus on alternative agriculture; sustainability; urban forestry; and community, youth and adaptive gardening. We offer hands-on workshops throughout central and southern West Virginia, reaching gardeners of all ages and experience levels. 
 
Agriculture Workshops: Workshops are offered based on needs and requests and may be delivered as a single workshop or developed into a multi-class series, with lectures, hands-on demonstrations, and on-site observation to enhance every participant’s education experience. Sample topics include rain gardens, composting, container gardening, wreath-making, backyard conservation, cold-frame construction, irrigation, rain barrels, and weed identification and control.
 
Backyard Habitat: The Backyard Habitat is a hands-on interactive display that introduces preschool and elementary kids to agriculturally based topics through independent learning opportunities. Designed as stations, youth are encouraged to interact in various scenarios such as a farmers market, flower garden and a campsite where their imagination is left to lead them in constructive play. Based on the themes introduced through the Junior Master Gardener program, the intention of the display is to open the minds of both youth and adults to the world of agricultural education. 

Community & Adaptive Gardening: Community gardens are gardens developed within a community setting to provide participants with the skills and resources to produce their own fruits and vegetables, while encouraging the adoption of healthy eating habits. Adaptive gardens serve the same purpose as community gardens, but they are designed to meet the needs of the population by taking into account accessibility barriers, as well as other factors that may limit interaction in a garden setting. We work with low-income housing developments, as well as community and professional organizations, to design and implement gardens in central and southern West Virginia.

Junior Master Gardener: Developed by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Junior Master Gardener is a comprehensive gardening education curriculum targeting elementary, middle and high-school youth. Our extension specialist is the state coordinator of JMG here in West Virginia.
 
The SCRATCH Project: The SCRATCH Project brings together inquiry-based science, real-world technology and outdoor education at the elementary level to prepare children to become problem-solvers, entrepreneurs and live a sustainable lifestyle. SCRATCH participants actively participate in the Junior Master Gardener youth gardening program and receive various levels of certification based on JMG curricula. The SCRATCH Project also includes development and implementation of several backyard edible gardens, greenhouse production, hydroponic/aeroponic growing and a specialization in high-yield urban gardening for end-product production in support of local foods initiatives in Cabell County.
 
Small Fruit Production: We have developed an educational mini-series covering blueberries, blackberries, fruit trees, grapes, raspberries and strawberries. The primary educational focus is for the backyard gardener to understand small-scale production basics. Continuing educational workshops will focus on disease and insect management and hands-on training of pruning techniques. Participants are also requesting workshops on growing asparagus, rhubarb, kiwi, fig and mushrooms.
 
Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE): Since 1988, the SARE program has helped advance farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program. Sustainable agriculture practices address pest management, cultural practices, soil fertility, adding value and farm profitability. At WVSU, SARE funding has been utilized to study sustainable agriculture and provide training opportunities for local agriculture producers.
 
Urban Forestry: Our urban forestry programs are made possible through a Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA) grant. This annual grant provides the funding to support hands-on workshops and educational mini-series across the state. Arbor Day celebrations provide outreach to youth with tree seedlings, educational materials and hands-on learning about the natural resources surrounding us all. Workshops are also offered on alternative forestry and natural resource enterprises. 
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