Since 2012, the AHB Extension team has reached and built relationships with thousands of stakeholders. The outreach work has increased knowledge and awareness of poplar, biofuels, bioproducts, bio-based chemicals, petroleum, and energy literacy.
Annual field tours at the AHB demonstration sites have attracted nearly 500 attendees. An average of 96% of surveyed field tour participants reported a better understanding of hardwood biofuels. In addition, 98% of survey participants reported that they were moderately or highly likely to communicate to others what they learned. Comments from field tours include:
- “Great presentation! Very excited to learn more and share with the senator and policy staff.”
- “Very happy to see that these tours occur. As a student of energy science, I would love to see tours of the refinery happen as well.”
More than 400 people have attended the hardwood biofuels webinars and thousands have viewed the archived webinars. From these events, 94% of participants reported being moderately or highly likely to share knowledge gained with others.
Classroom visits at 26 Washington schools focused on energy literacy for 3rd through 8th grade students. The students increased their energy literacy scores by 30% after attending workshops and had many energy-saving ideas including:
- Turning off electronics and lights after use
- Bike riding
- Turning off water after use
- Taking shorter showers
The AHB Extension work should have lasting impacts beyond the time of the grant and will be available through the vast archive of resources on the project website. The AHB Extension team helped establish the National Extension Energy Initiative through the Association for Natural Resource Extension Professionals (ANREP) that will have ongoing biennial conferences. Funding is being pursued to continue energy literacy and Latino programs. The idea of growing poplar for environmental benefits in combination with bioenergy is picking up steam and is paving the way for future funding opportunities.