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May 2010

West Virginia

WV AgrAbility staff presented Caring for Caregivers: Tools for Caregivers in Rural Areas at the West Virginia Chapter of National Association for Social Workers Conference, April 28-30th in Charleston. This training covered care giving related issues,impacts,strains as well as disability and farming awareness. Coping strategies and relaxation techniques were introduced and practiced. This training was designed specifically for healthcare professionals working with caregivers.

AgrAbility took part in the first Therapeutic Gardening Conference hosted by West Virginia State University. The purpose of the one day conference was to increase participant awareness of the role that gardening can play in physical rehabilitation, injury prevention, and a healthy lifestyle for any person at any level of ability. AgrAbility staff presented information on ergonomic tools, the role of assistive technology in accessible gardening, and how adaptive gardening can reduce injury caused by traditional gardening methods.  Staff also demonstrated the proper use of many of the ergonomic tools.

AgrAbility made its traditional showing at the annual Lawn, Garden, & Forestry Expo. The Expo included speakers on a span of topics ranging from soil testing to hedge and tree pruning. In addition, vendors and displays represented all parts of lawn and garden care and production, from preserves and salsas to garden and landscape ornaments. Staff pulled double duty by presenting and exhibiting on accessible gardening and ergonomic tools. Staff demonstrated how to properly use tools as well as accessible gardening techniques, such as raised garden beds.

Staff represented AgrAbility at six different Extension Educational Dinner meetings for farmers. Staff spoke at each one to audience sizes ranging from 40 to 120 farmers. Staff presentations reminded farmers that AgrAbility and assistive technology are not just for post-injury adaptations or managing chronic health conditions after onset. Both can be used by young farmers to help prevent injuries and minimize the effects and causes of chronic health conditions.

WV AgrAbility has a new program brochure. The brochure has a new look, format, and more information on the services offered. You can check it out on the web page at

Submitted by:Mary Slabinski