The next West Coast Rodent Academy will take place March 3-4 and will be a virtual event. The University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC Agriculture and Natural Resources) has offered the event since 2016.
Because the event is virtual, the number of attendees is not as limited as the in-person West Coast Rodent Academy events have been. The first virtual West Coast Rodent Academy was held Nov. 12-13, 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic. It featured online presentations by Rodentologist and Pest Management Professional Hall of Famer (Class of 2008) Dr. Bobby Corrigan, RMC Pest Management Consulting; and Vector Ecologist Laura Krueger, MPH, BCE, PCA, Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District, among others.
The in-person event focuses on a mix of lecture-style learning and hands-on breakout sessions, and attendance is limited to maximize the effectiveness of this type of experience. In addition, the space where the event is held accommodates only so many attendees, according to Dr. Niamh Quinn, a Human-Wildlife Interactions advisor with the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Up to 1,000 participants can attend the virtual event, however. As a result, attendees are from places other than the west coast. At the West Coast Rodent Academy held in November, people from 14 different states attended, as did members and representatives from different tribes. “We even had a rodent biologist join us from Pakistan this time, which was so cool,” Dr. Quinn said.
“The West Coast Rodent Academy has a tradition of offering scholarship places at in-person training,” she added. “As a result, it has been able to serve diverse audiences that would not normally be supported in their attendance.”
For the virtual November event, it offered 22 scholarships funded by Gold Sponsors BASF, Bell Laboratories, Liphatech and VM Products. In addition, it reached out to women in pest control, professionals serving K-12 schools, and tribal stakeholders.
“It is important to ensure we reach underserved communities,” Dr. Quinn said. “Now more than ever, pest control is so important in our communities, and this is also true for our underserved communities.”
November’s West Coast Rodent Academy raised $20,000 to support rodent research conducted in Dr. Quinn’s lab. Donations can be made on the West Coast Rodent Academy website or the California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources donation page.
“It is wonderful to be able to sponsor a well-organized virtual event,” said Sylvia Kenmuir, BASF Technical Services Representative. “The West Coast Rodent Academy provides up-to-date information from leading rodent experts as well as leading [industry] experts who have on-the-ground info from decades of experience.”
After covering costs for running the event, any additional funds from registration and sponsorships go toward Dr. Quinn’s rodent research.
“It is such a great feedback loop because we are always able to provide pest management professionals with up-to-date information direct from the field,” she says. “It also makes for some really interesting stories that are fun to share at the in-person event.”
Click here to register for the virtual West Coast Rodent Academy.