University of Kentucky Extension Associate Amy Fulcher has earned a regional award for her leadership in integrated pest management.
On February 13, she received the Friends of IPM "Future Leader" Award from the Southern Region IPM Center. The award presentation took place during the Annual Southern Nursery Association Research Conference and Trade Show in Atlanta, Georgia.
From the beginning of her career, Fulcher has initiated and delivered IPM programs that generated results. As a County Extension Agent for Horticulture in Hopkins County, Kentucky, she coordinated a gardening program for inner city youth, called the "Seeds of Hope, Harvest of Pride" program. After she moved to the Research and Education Center at Princeton, she and University of Kentucky horticulture professor Winston Dunwell started the IPM Program for Nursery Crops. Fulcher coordinated and delivered much of the training for the program.
"Working with staff and faculty, Amy has developed, coordinated and helped deliver diverse educational programs yearly on topics ranging from scouting techniques and pruning to modeling disease incidence," wrote Patricia Lucas, IPM extension specialist at the UK Research and Education Center at Princeton. "This program has afforded Kentucky growers access to the best nursery crop researchers and educators and the most up-to-date information in the country."
From 2004 to 2007, growers estimated that they saved up to $400,000 because of what they learned during her workshops. Her scouting programs have saved growers over $34,000, and information disseminated in her weekly newsletter saved growers not in her programs as much as $5,750 in control costs for granulate ambrosia beetle infestations of redbud.
Fulcher encouraged her colleagues to share her interest in outcomes. Dunwell said she constantly strived to improve the nursery crops IPM program.
"She's always been pushing me to start looking at the impacts of what we do and to send out surveys," Dunwell said. "She makes people do better work by helping us ask the right questions."
The Friends of IPM Future Leader Award rewards professionals early in their careers with proven leadership qualities. Southern Region IPM Center Director Jim VanKirk said the term "future leader" did not adequately describe Fulcher.
"This year, like last year, we have a winner who is already a leader," he said as he presented Fulcher with the award. "We expect that Amy will continue to do great things."
Originally from Ohio, Fulcher pursued her bachelors in horticulture at Western Kentucky University. While in college, she worked for several nurseries, sparking her interest in working with the nursery business.
"There's so much more impact from success in a nursery," she said. "If a homeowner plants a plant and it dies, there isn't really a major impact. But if a plant in a nursery isn't successful, there's more at stake, because that nursery's survival depends on the success of its plants. So there's more of a chance to make a difference."
Dunwell said that her enthusiasm for personal improvement has inspired several of their volunteer nursery scouts to enroll in university programs. One of them, Derek Hammond, is now a Ph.D. student at the University of Kentucky.
Fulcher will receive her doctorate in crop science from the University of Kentucky in August. Now the Extension Associate for Nursery Crops at the University of Kentucky's main campus in Lexington, Fulcher has been coordinating a regional working group of southern university faculty and professionals in nursery crop IPM.
"When Amy asks people to participate in IPM educational programs, they give feely of their time and effort, enhancing the benefit significantly," Dunwell said.