Katie Wagner
Horticultural Agent
Utah State University
Salt Lake County

Wagner, Katie1, , Murray, Marion2, , Yeip, Olivia3,
1 Extension Associate Professor of Horticulture, Utah State University Extension, Salt Lake City, UT, 84114
2 Integrated Pest Management Project Leader, Utah State University Extension, Logan, UT, 84322
3 Lead Graphic Designer, Utah State University Extension, Kaysville, UT, 84037

A 2019 needs assessment of participants of Utah State University (USU) Extension horticulture public outreach events held in Salt Lake County asked participants about their current gardening activities and activities they want to learn how to do.  Survey results found 62% of participants wanted to learn how to attract natural enemies to garden areas yet only 18% of respondents currently do so.  In effort to educate the public on ways to attract and retain beneficial organisms to Utah farms and gardens, USU Extension faculty and staff developed an interpretive sign to display at USU Extension maintained demonstration gardens throughout Utah.  The ‘Promoting Beneficial Organisms’ sign was created to expose the public to basic concepts of conservation biological control and introduce them to landscape elements that attract and retain a range of beneficial organisms.  To date, one sign has been fabricated and mounted at Wheeler Historic Farm (estimated 500,000 annual visitors) although multiple other USU Extension faculty with demonstration garden spaces in Utah have expressed interest in also displaying the sign.  The applicant secured grant funding for sign fabrication and worked with Marion Murray, USU Extension integrated pest management project leader, and Olivia Yeip, USU Extension graphic designer, to design and create content for the sign.  Design of the sign was finalized in summer 2019, fabricated fall 2019 and mounted early winter 2019.  The sign will not only provide locally relevant and research-based information to visitors, but also help to support educational outreach efforts during USU Extension hosted sustainable agriculture field days, Master Gardener working labs and Junior Master Gardener programming held at Wheeler Historic Farm.  Although not a traditional Extension factsheet or bulletin, the interpretative sign is a publication type that employs an innovative approach that reaches diverse audiences at demonstration gardens and other outdoor spaces.