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UMass Extension's Green School

2020 Dates

October 26 to December 10, 2020

2020 Location

Green School is going VIRTUAL! The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a temporary shift to remote delivery, and thus dramatic changes in the way that we are offering the program for 2020. Using available technology, we have attempted, to the extent possible, to recreate the classroom environment and routines of the Green School experience. Accessible from anywhere with an internet connection!

Program Background

Green School poplar logo

UMass Extension’s Green School is a comprehensive 12-day certificate short course for horticultural professionals who wish to gain an understanding of economically feasible and environmentally responsible plant and land care practices and the relation of those practices to the protection of the environment.

This course is designed for practitioners such as landscapers, lawn care specialists, nursery operators, sports field managers, public and private grounds managers, arborists and others in the green industry. Both experienced professionals as well as those entering the green industries benefit from this course.

Green School students learn about sensible and sustainable methods of plant and land care as well as responsible nutrient and pest management. They learn scientifically sound information that enables them to make better purchasing and management decisions, and to be better stewards of the environment.

The curriculum, which emphasizes a systems-based approach to plant care, is based on current research and focuses on environmental stewardship, Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Students develop an understanding of how proper management practices can enhance conservation of precious natural resources such as soil and water.

Green School is taught by University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension Specialists, UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture faculty, and guest presenters. While the in-person interactions and networking that Green School traditionally offers will be missed, this temporary shift to virtual instruction will benefit Green School attendees in many ways while prioritizing current public health best practices and restrictions:

  • Registration cost savings due to reduced overhead.
  • Savings of time and travel expenses.
  • Attendees who have previously been unable to attend due to travel restrictions/distance will now have the opportunity to join us from the convenience of their own homes!

NOTE: While attendees from far and wide are welcome to join us for this virtual course, please note that the information presented will have a geographic focus on Massachusetts and New England, and therefore will be most applicable to those locations.

Green School has been successfully offered to the industry as a certificate short course since the early 1990’s, and more recently for UMass Amherst Stockbridge School of Agriculture academic credit. Green School is only offered every other year, and the course will not be offered again until 2022.

Three Educational Tracks to Choose From

Green School students must choose a "specialty track" when registering. Three tracks are offered. Click the corresponding track name for complete curriculum and schedule information:

   

Cost 

Preregistration is required, as space is limited. Early-bird registration by September 15, 2020 is $650 per person; the regular rate thereafter is $725 per person. If paying by cash or check, there is a reduced rate of $600 per person by 9/15/20; $675 thereafter. The deadline for applications is October 15, 2020. 

Registration

To register using a PO or by check through the mail, print and return this completed Registration form.

To register using a credit card, go to the online portal at:

https://umasscafe.irisregistration.com/Form/2020greenschool

How Does the Virtual Green School Work?

The 2020 course runs Oct. 26 – Dec. 10, 2020 and instruction in 2020 will be 100% virtual, providing attendees with online resources via an online learning management system (Moodle and Echo360). This will include a combination of live and pre-recorded lectures, handouts, quizzes, surveys and guided discussion/Q&A opportunities to compliment pre-recorded lecture material. The live lectures and live discussion/review sessions will be held on Mondays and Thursdays, primarily in the mornings, although some will also held in the afternoons – check the detailed schedule of the track you are interested in by clicking on the tab for each track above. 
 
It is also possible to attend Green School without attending the live lectures, since these will be recorded and made available by the next day (Note: The discussion/review sessions will not be recorded, since they are intended to provide interaction with instructors whose material was not offered live.) While this option may fit the schedules of students who have other obligations during the day, the optimum educational experience will come from participating in as much of the content in real time as possible. Disclaimer: While we will make every effort to provide the recordings of the live lectures within 24 hours, technical difficulties may sometimes interfere and that timing cannot be guaranteed.
 
Quizzes: There will be four graded quizzes (1 per topic) each week. While there is a great deal of flexibility in when students may view the recorded lectures, the quizzing however will be held on a regular, defined schedule. Quizzes open at 5:00 PM the day of instruction (Mondays and Thursdays) and close at 5:00 AM the day of the following class, giving students a limited 3 to 4 day window to take each quiz. 
 
Prospective students should have a basic understanding of online learning and access to a computer or other device, a reliable internet connection, functioning speakers and microphone or headset, and a webcam if desired (optional). These materials will not be provided. Previous experience with GotoWebinar, Zoom, Moodle, and Echo360 is not required.

What to Expect

  • Four classes, comprising approximately 8-10 hours of instruction, per week. These will include:
    • A mix of pre-recorded lectures, to watch at your leisure (ahead of your scheduled class time) once they are posted, and
    • “Live” virtual lectures.
    • Pre-recorded lectures will be supplemented with “live” Q&A discussion and review sessions (up to 60 minutes) via Zoom during the scheduled class times.
  • Four graded quizzes (1 per class) each week.
    • Quizzes open at 5:00 PM the day of instruction (Mondays and Thursdays) and close at 5:00 AM the day of the next class. You will be given 50 minutes to complete each quiz. 
  • Additional time will be needed to study and take quizzes.
  • Extra points for attending “live” Q&A discussion and review sessions.
  • Syllabus indicating when course materials will be available in Moodle, the online Learning Management System for the course.
    • Learning objectives, outlines/notes, and pre-recorded lectures to be posted by 5:00 PM the Friday before Monday’s classes and 5:00 PM Monday for Thursday’s classes.

Course Requirements

Computer Access: Regular, reliable access to a computer or other device and the Internet is a must! Delivery of lectures, outlines, supplemental materials, and quizzes will all be online.

Students will be issued a UMass NetID, which is needed to gain access to all Green School materials, to take the quizzes, and to view the recorded lectures.

To prepare for this virtual learning opportunity: 

  • Have a device capable of connecting to the Internet (e.g., desktop or laptop computer, tablet, smart phone; these are listed in the order of preference/convenience for remote instruction) with audio capability. Having a webcam will also allow access to Zoom instructor meetings.
    • If you plan to use a tablet or smart phone, plan to download the Zoom app onto your device. Accessing Moodle and GotoWebinar with a tablet or smart phone may not be as convenient as with a desktop or laptop.
    • The ability to print is highly recommended. It’s strongly advised that you make a copy of the outline to take notes on during each lecture.
  • Check the bandwidth on your device in the location where you will participate in Green School.
  • You’ll need a reliable internet connection – broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE). The following pages have information that will help you to determine bandwidth requirements for both Zoom and GotoWebinar:
  • Get familiar with Zoom and GotoWebinar. There are a variety of YouTube videos that can be helpful.
  • Become familiar with Moodle, the Learning Management System at UMass Amherst that we will be using: https://www.umass.edu/it/support/moodle/a-quick-tour-moodle-students
  • Attend the Orientation and “Technical Check-in Day” via Zoom before the first class to do a practice run with Zoom, and ask questions about GotoWebinar and Moodle (you'll receive the Zoom link after you register for the course).

Key Information

  • Pesticide & Professional Contact Hours: 12 contact hours for Massachusetts categories 29, 36, 37; 6 contact hours for Massachusetts Licensed Applicator Training. Pesticide credits awarded will be valid for all New England states. Credits available for MCH, MCLP, MCA, ISA, SAF, CFE and AOLCP certifications.
  • Certificate: Awarded upon achieving a 70% final average score. There will be a quiz on each class. An average of all quiz grades will comprise the final grade. It is not necessary to take the daily quizzes to attend Green School if receiving the certificate is not desired.
  • Quizzes and Grading: All quizzes will be done online. Quizzes will be open-book, with a maximum of 50 minutes allowed for completion once begun. Each quiz will be available for students to complete between 5:00 pm of the day the class is offered and 5:00 am on the day of the next class. All scores are confidential and available only to the registered student.
  • Certification Exam Preparation: Green School is also helpful for people preparing to take the following professional certification exams - Massachusetts Certified Arborist (MCA) offered by the Massachusetts Arborist Association (MAA), Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist (MCH) offered by the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA), and the Massachusetts Certified Landscape Professional (MCLP) offered by the Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals (MLP).
  • UMass Academic Credits: UMass academic credit is pending (3 credits requested) and will be available for an additional fee of $100/credit plus a $47 processing fee. This is in addition to the Green School registration fee. Contact Ellen Weeks at eweeks@umext.umass.edu or 413-545-0895 for more information on this option.
  • EMPLOYERS! For eligible employers, the Green School registration fee may be partially reimbursed through the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund Express Grant Program. Employers should submit an online application to the Express Grant Program at least 4 weeks in advance of UMass Green School’s starting date. To find out if you qualify and to apply for benefits, go to http://workforcetrainingfund.org/programs/express-program/.

Testimonials from Past Green School Attendees

  • “Green School is a must for the landscape professional. I had been in the landscape business for 29 years, operating at a high level. Yet, the amount of knowledge I gained helped to transform my business to the most effective tree care business in my area.”
  • “After a few months post-graduation (the following spring) I received a raise.”
  • “Yes, the amount of confidence I gained by knowing I had the latest research and scientific understanding has been immensely beneficial to my personal life and my business life.” 
  • [I became] “better qualified to charge a higher hourly rate."

Questions?

E-mail eweeks@umext.umass.edu or call the UMass Extension Landscape, Nursery & Urban Forestry Program at (413) 545-0895.