2nd Place Winner
Citizen Science Spotted Lanternfly Detection Program
Northern Shenandoah Valley Extension Master Gardener Program
The Spotted Lantern Fly (SLF) presents a serious threat to the local agriculture economy and is an extreme nuisance to citizens. In an effort to mitigate this threat, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Extension Master Gardener Program and Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association (NSVMGA) have partnered with Virginia Tech, Extension Master Naturalists, and local government employees to determine the boundaries of SLF’s expansion into Virginia and provide that data to researchers at Virginia Tech.
Within months of the first sighting of SLF in Virginia, Extension Master Gardener volunteers in the Northern Shenandoah Valley received training from Virginia Tech researchers on how to identify and trap for SLF. Training sessions and trapping expanded in 2019 and 2020, with more volunteers across the state providing more data points each year. Additionally, the NSVMGA printed displays and handouts to make them available at areas with high public traffic including such places as farmers markets, county fairs, or other events as they open back up as the pandemic eases. An SLF update is posted each Friday on NSVMGA’s Facebook page.
Results of the citizen science program provide valuable data for where a breeding population of SLF is present. Equally valuable, counties where no SLF sightings occur can be listed on U.S. Department of Agriculture maps as apparently free of the pest. Extension Master Gardeners serve as important members of the volunteer force both looking for and providing information about SLF.