UW Extension offers online GMO information course

Jeremiah Vardiman

Issues surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMO) will be examined during a six-week online course through University of Wyoming Extension.

The weekly sessions beginning Monday, May 22, are meant to divide fact from fiction about biotechnology, said Jeremiah Vardiman, UW Extension educator who is leading the course.

“This online course focuses on educating professionals in the health and nutrition fields and any other inquisitive mind on the main topics that are discussed or brought up about GMOs,” he said. “Participants will gain practical knowledge on the GMO topic, which will aid in education and conversations with clientele.”

Registration and more information is at bit.ly/gmocourse. Those taking the classes can access the course starting May 11, with materials available to participants until June 30.

Vardiman said he hears from community members and extension educators that GMOs are a common conversation topic and say they don’t always have the right answers or information.

“I also hear from local agricultural producers they want the public to be more educated in the topic,” he said.

The first face-to-face online discussion is noon to 1 p.m. (Mountain), Thursday, May 18. Other meetings will be determined based on the majority of participants’ availability, he said.

Topics and dates are:
* May 22 – Traditional plant breeding versus GMOs.
* May 29 – How GMOs are created.
* June 5 – Food safety.
* June 12 – Pesticide use in agriculture.
* June 19 – Environmental concerns with GMOs.
* June 26 – The most current scientific review of GMOs.

Approximately three hours of work per week are required, Vardiman said: one hour of face-to-face Zoom online meetings, about two hours of presentations and supplemental videos to watch, and supplemental readings flexible to a participant’s schedule.

The materials are background for the weekly face-to face-group discussions, he said.

Participants will need access to a computer with internet service fast enough to view online videos. A computer webcam and microphone are suggested but not required.

Contact Vardiman at 307-754-8836 or jvardima@uwyo.edu for more information.