BMGA members Faye Beery and Carolyn Woodruff completed the two-day First Detector Training June 11-12, 2018 in Angleton. The Master Gardener Specialist First Detector-Plant Disease training course introduces participants to the National Plant Diagnostic Network’s effort to protect US agriculture and plants through awareness information of invasive, non-native pests and pathogens. Trainees learn basic plant disease diagnostic skills and symptom documentation skills. The ultimate goal of the training is to provide these trainees, all of whom are already certified Texas Master Gardeners, with expertise to assist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service with early detection of invasive and exotic pathogens & pests. This year’s class was sponsored by the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, the Brazoria County Master Gardener Association and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service of Brazoria County.
While the classroom part of their training is complete, to obtain the First Detector Specialist designation recognized by the Texas Master Gardener Association, Ms. Beery and Ms. Woodruff must complete 20 hours of field work assessing citrus and palm plants for pathogens. If you have citrus or palm in your gardens, be sure to contact Ms. Berry or Ms. Woodruff to conduct an assessment of your plants for invasive, non-native pests and pathogens. Their completed assessments and information forms will be submitted to the Plant Disease Clinic for Dr. Kevin Ong’s approval. Additionally, Ms. Beery and Ms. Woodruff are equipment with photos and other information to use educating the public through presentations to interested groups, clubs and societies.