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Story in Brief

During the COVID-19 crisis, educators were looking for ways to receive continuing education during the summer. In-person opportunities were rare and educators indicated that many counties were not allowing their teachers to leave their counties for training. Also, many teachers indicated they were suffering from on-line training fatigue and did not want an all-day computer-delivered training. University of Georgia Extension offered a hybrid teacher training event, part offered as an online webinar symposium and part as directed at-home activities. The online portion was a five-hour symposium featuring four school garden webinars and a question and answer lunch hour. After the educators attended the symposium they were given four at-home activities to complete. Each activity corresponded to a topic covered during the day: fruit plants in the school garden, seed saving, vermicomposting, and pollinators. After an educator completes the at-home activities, proof through photos is sent to the symposium coordinator and a Certificate of Completion is issued. These certificates are often required of teachers through their county education departments. A total of 376 people registered for the symposium. An average of 255 people attended each webinar and an evaluation poll was given after each webinar. Eighty-eight percent of participants indicated they were somewhat or very likely to have their students participate in the 2020 Great Georgia Pollinator Census after receiving the information and training in the webinar. One participant wrote, “This was really great!! Didn’t feel like five hours because it was so much useful information. All of us at Woodward Elementary in DeKalb County were in today, enjoyed it and look forward to getting started with these new tools and the census!”