Montana Realtor Online Noxious Weed Training
(by Shantell Frame-Martin, Coordinator, Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign)
The Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign has an online training course for realtors. This course provides realtors with a broad understanding of noxious weeds through five modules: “Noxious Weeds 101,” “Plant Anatomy and Identification,” “Noxious Weed Identification,” “Understanding Montana County Noxious Weed Control Act,” and “Integrated Weed Management.” While the course will not transform realtors into noxious weed experts, it provides them with the basics, so they can direct buyers and sellers to tools and resources for appropriately managing noxious weeds and encouraging desired vegetation that meets land use objectives.
The course is certified through the Association for Real Estate License Law Officials and the Montana Board of Realty Regulation and is approved for four continuing education credits in the Environmental Issues category. The course has been offered every six months since 1 February 2016, and to date 61 realtors have successfully completed the course. Comments from realtors who have completed the course have been positive, for example, “Best training I have taken on-line in a long time,” “Would love to see more of the same in the future if possible,” and “Once I got started I didn’t want to stop!”
With the help of the Yellowstone Evaluation Service, Montana Noxious Weed Realtor Training course participants were surveyed to gauge their knowledge both before and after taking the course as well as to determine if they will share their new knowledge with clients. Most of the surveyed realtors specialize in small acreages (parcel size of 20 acres or less) (top graph), and the majority believe noxious weeds are a problem on the properties they list (bottom graph). Course participants self-rated their level of awareness about noxious weeds before taking the course, and the ratings were as follows: 19% of participants
reported to be “very aware,” 63% “aware,”12% “unaware,” and 7% “very unaware.” Before taking the course, 45% of the participants informed/directed clients to resources about noxious weeds whereas after taking the course, 90% of participants will inform/direct clients to noxious weed resources. Participants also reported that 83% of their real estate clients will follow suggested direction/advice as it relates to identifying and/or managing noxious weeds on their properties.
The fourth session of the Montana Realtor Online Noxious Weed Training opened 20 November 2017. A limited number of scholarships are available for those interested in taking the course. Once registered, realtors have until 20 May 2018 to complete the course. For more information, please contact Shantell Frame-Martin at [email protected] (406-328-4785) or [email protected] (406-994-5513).
The Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign is a cooperative effort among state and federal entities and non-governmental organizations that educates the people of Montana about noxious weeds and encourages them to participate in integrated weed management. The Campaign is housed within the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at Montana State University.