IFAS News

University of Florida

UF CALS seniors, juniors earn honors at annual banquet

Topic(s): CALS, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) celebrated the accolades and accomplishments of its top students at the annual awards banquet held April 18.

Graduating seniors, CALS Ambassadors, CALS scholarship recipients, CALS Leadership Institute participants, CALS Honors Scholars, Club of the Year and outstanding juniors were recognized for their academic success, leadership and service.

“Recruiting and retaining the very best students is a top priority for our college,” said CALS Dean Elaine Turner. “Our annual Scholarship and Leadership Awards Banquet celebrates the achievements of those outstanding students. We are honored these students pursue their education through CALS, and are proud of the service and leadership they provide at UF and in the community.”

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As UF/IFAS CREC turns 100, it celebrates decades working with Florida Department of Citrus

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Crops, Cultivars, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, RECs, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Citrus Research and Education Center celebrates its 100th anniversary, administrators are praising a decades-long relationship between researchers with CREC and the Florida Department of Citrus in bringing healthy, nutritious fruit and juice to your home.

“Housing the FDOC and CREC scientists at the same location has brought together the expertise needed to address any issue facing the Florida citrus industry, from the field to the grocery store shelf, and everywhere in between,” said Michael Rogers, director of the Citrus REC. “We’ve had a long and productive history working together to support the Florida citrus industry and continue to do so, as we are both working together to develop solutions for citrus greening disease.”

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UF brings families together for annual Bug Week Scavenger Hunt on May 20

Topic(s): Announcements, Biocontrols, Entomology and Nematology, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Invasive Species, Pests

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Local families will get to have fun and learn about crawly critters during the annual UF/IFAS Bug Week Scavenger Hunt set for 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 20. The event will be held at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Admission is free, and all children will receive souvenirs. The first, second and third place winners will receive special prizes.

“This year, our goal is to help families learn about invasive species and how they affect the environment and economy,” said Beverly James, UF/IFAS director of public relations. “The Bug Week website features lots of information on invasive species and how, sometimes, other insects are used to control them. So, not only will families learn about insects, but they will also have the opportunity to spend time together in a fun activity.”

During the scavenger hunt, participants will be given five clues that lead them to displays where an insect, spider or other arthropod appears. Each clue comes with a question that can only be answered by visiting the display.

In addition, the UF/IFAS department of entomology and nematology will present a Bug Zoo. The zoo features insects in glass enclosures, and children will have the opportunity to hold them and learn about them.

Bug Week is the University of Florida’s annual celebration of its entomology program, one of the largest and best in the nation. For more information on Bug Week, visit http://bugs.ufl.edu.

Don’t forget – if you are talking about Bug Week on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, use the official #UFBugs hashtag!

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CAPTION:Children and adults participate in the 2016 UF/IFAS Bug Week petting zoo and scavenger hunt at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu

 

Sisterly Competition: The Path to Graduation

Topic(s): CALS, Graduation, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. –  With more than 52,000 students at the University of Florida, the competition for leadership positions in student organizations, research opportunities and internships can be stiff. For Alessandra and Adriana Della Porta, competition hits close to home – or rather resides at home.

The twin sisters from Ponte Vedra Beach both study microbiology and cell science with goals of becoming medical doctors. Together they graduate from the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) with their peers on April 29 at 7 p.m. in the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Even with similar career aspirations, the sisters have crafted individual experiences at UF with regard to research, involvement and career plans.

“At the end of the day, we’re in competition, so that’s been really difficult,” Adriana said. “But we can shine because we’ve put our efforts in different places in (CALS) and at UF to maintain our independence. Because of this, we can truly be happy for one another and support one another. We’ve made our own names for ourselves – we aren’t ‘Adriana’s sister’ or ‘Alessandra’s sister.’”

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UF/IFAS expert: For Earth Day, save energy with small steps

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, Families and Consumers, IFAS

 

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And click here for video: http://bit.ly/2pCX6n3

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Sometimes, Wendell Porter gets a kick out of watching customers pick up LED lights in a store, look at them and put them back – again and again.

People don’t buy the lights because they’re afraid they’ll make a mistake, said Porter, senior lecturer in the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences department of agricultural and biological engineering.

His suggestion for Earth Day and year-round environmental and cost-savings?

“Make that first step; actually make a decision,” he said. “It’s that first step. Customers looking at LED lights don’t want to make a mistake. Well, what if you do? What if it’s the wrong color temperature, and it’s a brighter white than you wanted, and you wanted a warm color? Then the next time you read the label a little more carefully. And you think, ‘I wasted that $3.’ No you didn’t. Put it in the back closet.”

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Youth potato project plants seeds of STEM careers

Topic(s): 4-H, Agriculture, Crops, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When the Flagler County 4-H members started growing their own potato plants at home, they were a little worried at first.

“They would come to me and say, ‘I don’t see any potatoes on my plant. What’s wrong?’” said Amy Hedstrom, a Flagler County 4-H youth development agent with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.

“That was the day they learned potatoes grew in the ground, not above-ground,” Hedstrom said. ‘“Aha” moments like these really open their eyes to the science behind the food we eat.”

These youth are part of the Tri-County 4-H Potato Project created in 2015 by the UF/IFAS Extension 4-H programs in Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties. In addition to growing their own potatoes, youth also participate in planting and harvest field days at the UF/IFAS Hastings Agricultural Extension Center facility on Cowpen Branch Road.

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UF Plant Science Research and Education Unit gets new director

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Cultivars, IFAS

James Boyer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A veteran of the UF/IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit has been named its permanent director, and he hopes to help faculty continue improving crops.

James Boyer, who has worked at the unit for 17 years, was named interim director in May 2016. His appointment to the permanent post was effective April 7. Prior to that, he worked as research coordinator. In that position, Boyer coordinated research for agronomic crops, fruit crops and forages, said UF/IFAS Dean for Research Jackie Burns.

“He will be instrumental in providing leadership for the overall planning and development at PSREU,” Burns said in making the announcement. “I am so pleased to have such an experienced leader as Jim on board.  We look forward to working with Jim and his staff in the future.”

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Consumers will normally pay more for organic products – but not wine

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — You swish around a sip of organic wine in your mouth and it might tempt your taste buds, but that doesn’t mean you’ll pay more for it, a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences study shows.

For the study, former UF/IFAS graduate student Lane Abraben, used an economic model to determine if consumers are willing to pay more for organic wine. Abraben specifically examined wine consumed from the Tuscany region of Italy. But his adviser, Kelly Grogan, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of food and resource economics, said the research findings likely apply to any organically produced wine.

For many products, organic production costs more than conventional production; thus, to make organic products more viable, consumers must be willing to pay more, Grogan said.

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UF/IFAS scientists find Zika RNA in a second mosquito species

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences molecular biologist has found Zika RNA in a type of mosquito not often associated with the virus.

UF/IFAS entomology associate professor Chelsea Smartt led a research team that found Zika RNA in Aedes albopictus. That’s not the species — known as Aedes aegypti — most often associated with Zika. But scientists have never discounted Aedes albopictus as another possible carrier of the potentially deadly virus.

Brazil has the highest number of reported Zika virus cases worldwide, with more than 200,000 as of December 2016. So, Smartt set her sights on tracking down Zika-infected mosquitoes in Camacari, Brazil, near the Atlantic coast.

Smartt and her research team collected 20 female and 19 male Aedes albopictus mosquitoes as eggs, raised them to adults and tested the adults for the Zika virus RNA. They found five of them positive for Zika RNA, Smartt said.

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POSTPONED: UF/IFAS networking event to focus on organic agriculture

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Extension, IFAS

Please note that this event has been postponed.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As organic food goes mainstream, more small farms are looking to get into the industry, says Jim DeValerio, agriculture agent for Bradford County with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension program.

“We’ve seen growing demand in small farm communities for more opportunities to learn about organic agriculture, and meet others who are also interested in going organic,” DeValerio said.

Growers will have a chance to do just that at the next meeting of the Florida Agriculture Network (FAN), April 25 from 4 to 6 p.m. at 1655 SE 23rd Place in Gainesville, Florida. Attendees will tour two organic farms, mingle with other growers and help inform future UF/IFAS research.

Those interested in attending can register at http://tinyurl.com/l5yzv2y or call the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County office at 352-955-2402. Registration is $15.

Organized by UF/IFAS Extension faculty, FAN meetings help growers to network and also meet their local county Extension agent — all in one place.

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