More than 100 years of science-based, community service by Oklahoma State University Extension will continue unabated through the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, says Associate Vice President for OSU Extension Damona Doye.
“It is very important that we all remain safe, productive and healthy during this pandemic,” Doye says. “We face an evolving situation, which is forcing all of us to adapt and innovate. Extension resources will be available to help.”
OSU Extension is a state agency administered by the university’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and is a key component of OSU’s mandate to promote wellness, leadership and economic development for all Oklahomans.
Many Extension offices, which can be found in all 77 of the state’s counties, have been directed by state and local authorities to close their doors and cancel face-to-face meetings to protect the health of Extension personnel and the public. However, those workers are making themselves available electronically via social media, teleconferences, phone calls and texting.
Doye says a growing number of Extension efforts have moved online – for example, new virtual alternatives for 4-H programs. Federally required dicamba herbicide-handling training sessions are being held via teleconferences, and Extension experts are finding ways to deliver other consultations. Mission-critical services to support agriculture such as soil and forage testing continue using new drop-off alternatives.
The Extension website provides a wealth of educational content designed especially for Oklahomans, such as guidance on crops and livestock, gardening and insects, health and nutrition, and 4-H and family. The site also has more than 1,000 fact sheets tailored to state residents.
Oklahoma Gardening and SUNUP television shows have adapted production as well. Thousands of videos are available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/OklahomaGardening and https://www.youtube.com/SUNUPTV.
“Given the suddenness of our need to ramp up online education, many of our Extension educators are thinking creatively about how to respond,” Doye says. “I am proud of their dedication to their communities.”
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