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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Biotechnology Outreach Program

Location: Tropical Plant Genetic Resources and Disease Research

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Provide marketing organizations, growers and associated industries with current information on agricultural biotechnology. 2. Contribute presentations and inputs as requested at hearing of bills related to agricultural biotechnology bills. 3. Biotechnology education for children. 4. Improved understanding of agricultural biotechnology issues by growers, marketers, legislators and consumers.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Outreach options suited to each target group will be used. These options include formal presentations, printed materials, electronic materials, small-group discussions, video, and television presentations. Certain groups will be provided with opportunity to obtain hands-on training in certain aspects of biotechnology, such as basic things like DNA extraction, sequencing and food testing. 1. Interaction with marketing organizations: Providing marketing organizations with appropriate information is central to this program. This will be achieved by first identifying marketers that require information on biotech crops. Once identified, their level of understanding of the issues will be determined through surveys. The outcomes of these surveys will be used to develop educational materials suited to the needs of different marketers. This information will provide improved marketing within Hawaii, and also outside of the State, including mainland markets and international markets. 2. Grower/Industry Involvement: Contact and interaction with industry and activists: It is important to maintain a balanced and educated perspective on developments in agricultural biotechnology, in both the commercial sector and among the groups opposed to these developments. I have developed working relationships with Monsanto, Pioneer and HARC, as well as opponent groups such as GMO Free Hawai'i on each island. Grower groups with which I work include banana grower associations, papaya growers and coffee growers. This project will continue to allow interaction among these major role players in the area of agricultural biotechnology. The types of interactions will vary as required, and will include most of the options listed above. 3. Legislative Presentations/Inputs: Work with State and County regulatory agencies: State legislators have to deal extensively with bills regarding biotechnology. In 2005 and 2006 legislative sessions, total of 64 bills and resolutions were introduced (House and Senate) opposing agricultural biotechnology. This underscores the importance of providing educational materials to legislators when requested. Documents SCA with Univervity of HI Manoa; formerly 5320-21000-011-04S. (06/08)Formerly 5320-21000-011-12S (11/10).

3. Progress Report:
The implementation guidelines of this project were to enhance outreach, extension, and technology transfer related to the deployment of transgenic Hawaiin crops; this understanding directly contributes to objective 3 of the in-house project. The total number of people that we have reached from October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012 is 2,611. Informational Booth at public events: 504 adults and children Adult Biotechnology Workshops and presentations: 346 adults Gene-ius day field trips: 702 students Gene-ius day classroom presentations (grade 4-7): 594 students Gene-ius day classroom presentations 8th graders: 240 students Saturday Gene-iuses on a Mission: 225 adults and children Outputs: Our most significant accomplishment for this reporting year is developing and launching “Saturday Gene-iuses on a Mission” (, our new educational program for children (K-6) and parents. Our Saturday Gene-iuses sessions are a spin-off from our original Gene-ius Day field trips for elementary schools. Each Saturday Gene-iuses Mission brings students and their parents onto campus for 2 hours of exciting, engaging activities that encourage scientific thinking and appreciation for all things science related with emphasis on agriculture and biotechnology. The Saturday workshop is organized by age-group (grades 1 to 3 and grades 4 to 6) and each session utilizes fun, interactive activities to teach key science and biotechnology concepts. The Saturday Gene-ius workshop initially launched on Oahu on March 31 and May 4, 2012 and brought almost 100 students and their parents to University of Hawaii Manoa (UHM). During this event, the students and their parents participated in the initial workshop titled, “DNA Detectives” where they used DNA to solve an “out of the world” mystery. Additionally, students become real scientists by working in a college laboratory to do a series of activities including DNA extraction. Since then, we have developed an additional six missions/workshops, and on August 4, 2012 we were able to successfully run Mission 2 (Plants to the Rescue) that brought a further 75 students and parents to UHM. Our long term goal is to open this program to as many Hawaiian Islands as possible. To accomplish this, we are looking for collaborators on different Islands. So far we have teamed up with Hawaii 4-H and Kauai Community College (KCC) and were able to offer Mission One “DNA Detectives” on the island of Kauai. On 19 May 2012, 50 students and their parents attended this event. This program will continue to run once a month starting now, until May 2013 on Oahu and Kauai. We are expecting that approximately 1000 students and their patents will attend this program during this school year. During the reporting period we have continued to run our Gene-ius Day school field trips. Now in its fifth year, the Gene-ius Day ( program teaches basic biotechnology concepts through fun, problem solving, and lab work that lets students extract, see, and stretch real DNA while learning that farmers and scientists work together to grow the food we eat. Presentations and field trips to UH Manoa enhance science education in participating schools and increase student awareness of biotechnology-based careers. Gene-ius Day teaching materials make it easy for instructors to integrate the ABCs of DNA into their biology, technology, or social sciences curriculum. The students also receive activity books (example “DNA today”) created by our program, to take home and share with their parents. The majority of the 702 students attending field trip were from the Roosevelt Complex of the Hawaii Department of Education. Classroom presentations reached 594 children and included field trip follow-up visits. An additional 240 students from the 8th grade received Biotechnology and Agriculture presentations. A public workshop, concentrating on importance of biotechnology in agriculture were provided to 346 high school through early college age groups, senior citizens, neighborhood board meetings and Kamehameha Schools Land Assets Division members. The Farm Fair on the island of Oahu, constitutes one of the major social events annually, and is attended by a substantial proportion of the local and visiting population. Exhibitions at this event thus reach a significant proportion of the public on Oahu. For this years farm fair, we developed an interactive display, visited by an estimated that 504 people our display, and on average stayed for at least 15 min). Outcomes: • A scientific program for Saturday Gene-iuses on a Mission has been created. • A Saturday Gene-ius Day website has been established • Seven 2 hours sessions per age group (grade 1 to 3 and grade 4 to 6) will continue to run until May 2013. • Collaboration between University of Hawaii at Manoa, Kauai Community College, Kauai Economic Development Board and Hawaii 4H has been established. • One year after participating, more than 80% of students remembered the five core concepts of the Gene-ius Day curriculum, and almost 90% remembered the most important ideas.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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