Event Title

Analyzing Natural Resources Extension for Spanish­ Speakers: A Perspective from Florida

Location

Latham Ballroom A/B

Event Website

http://www.cpe.vt.edu/cuenr/index.html

Start Date

26-3-2010 1:25 PM

End Date

26-3-2010 1:30 PM

Description

Hispanics are the U.S.’ fastest growing minority and have become Florida’s largest minority group. Given the fact there is a substantial population of Spanish‐speakers in the U.S. using natural resources, it is important that these audiences are targeted by extension educational programs. Although some educational programs designed specifically for Spanish‐speakers exist, few assessments have measured the effectiveness of delivering services or understanding their needs. Since extension agents (EAs) are often the primary intermediary or contact point between the community and education efforts, this study identified and assessed the need for Spanish language extension material about natural resource and environmental topics by comparing two very different regions: South Florida with a substantial Hispanic population and north Florida with a smaller but growing population of Hispanics. The term “Spanish‐speaking audiences” in this study are Hispanics/Latinos who have difficulties communicating in English (oral and written) and speak primarily in their native Spanish language. Extension Agents were asked 23 questions on their perceptions and attitudes about the need for, quality of, and preferred dissemination methods of Spanish extension materials on the University of Florida’s Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS). Responses were measured using 2 to 6 point Likert scales and data on Spanish speaking abilities were also collected. The 174 respondents included both County and State‐level extension faculty, others identifying themselves as state and county employees and USDA Forest Service employees. Results showed EAs expressed a need to reach these audiences through the translation of existing extension materials. However, EAs are not able to effectively communicate this important information to Spanish‐speaking audiences due to the language barriers and the dearth of translated materials, with a greater need for these materials found in south Florida. The coverage of relevant topics for extension materials was ranked poor and found to be significantly greater in south Florida where respondents indicated the natural resource and environmental topics needing translated information were catastrophic events management (i.e. hurricanes and floods), environmental horticulture, arboriculture, and agricultural production. This inability to reach Hispanic audiences may also be attributed to their low participation in extension activities in Florida. Considering Florida’s vulnerability to hurricanes and the importance of horticulture within Florida, the ability to reach diverse audiences with regionally relevant information should be a critical role of extension programs. The study results can help assess natural resource extension efforts nation‐wide aimed at the growing Spanish‐speaking population and can benefit different community groups (e.g., neighborhood associations, emergency management services) interested in educating minority groups.

Comments

Citation: Wyman, M.S., F. Escobedo. 2010. Analyzing natural resources expension for spanish speakers: a perspective from Florida. UENR Biennial Conference, Poster Session, Paper Number 6. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/Poster/6/.

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Mar 26th, 1:25 PM Mar 26th, 1:30 PM

Analyzing Natural Resources Extension for Spanish­ Speakers: A Perspective from Florida

Latham Ballroom A/B

Hispanics are the U.S.’ fastest growing minority and have become Florida’s largest minority group. Given the fact there is a substantial population of Spanish‐speakers in the U.S. using natural resources, it is important that these audiences are targeted by extension educational programs. Although some educational programs designed specifically for Spanish‐speakers exist, few assessments have measured the effectiveness of delivering services or understanding their needs. Since extension agents (EAs) are often the primary intermediary or contact point between the community and education efforts, this study identified and assessed the need for Spanish language extension material about natural resource and environmental topics by comparing two very different regions: South Florida with a substantial Hispanic population and north Florida with a smaller but growing population of Hispanics. The term “Spanish‐speaking audiences” in this study are Hispanics/Latinos who have difficulties communicating in English (oral and written) and speak primarily in their native Spanish language. Extension Agents were asked 23 questions on their perceptions and attitudes about the need for, quality of, and preferred dissemination methods of Spanish extension materials on the University of Florida’s Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS). Responses were measured using 2 to 6 point Likert scales and data on Spanish speaking abilities were also collected. The 174 respondents included both County and State‐level extension faculty, others identifying themselves as state and county employees and USDA Forest Service employees. Results showed EAs expressed a need to reach these audiences through the translation of existing extension materials. However, EAs are not able to effectively communicate this important information to Spanish‐speaking audiences due to the language barriers and the dearth of translated materials, with a greater need for these materials found in south Florida. The coverage of relevant topics for extension materials was ranked poor and found to be significantly greater in south Florida where respondents indicated the natural resource and environmental topics needing translated information were catastrophic events management (i.e. hurricanes and floods), environmental horticulture, arboriculture, and agricultural production. This inability to reach Hispanic audiences may also be attributed to their low participation in extension activities in Florida. Considering Florida’s vulnerability to hurricanes and the importance of horticulture within Florida, the ability to reach diverse audiences with regionally relevant information should be a critical role of extension programs. The study results can help assess natural resource extension efforts nation‐wide aimed at the growing Spanish‐speaking population and can benefit different community groups (e.g., neighborhood associations, emergency management services) interested in educating minority groups.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/Poster/6