IFAS News

University of Florida

Consumers to choose from more than 100 varieties at annual UF/IFAS poinsettia sale

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Cultivars, Families and Consumers, IFAS

2012 Horticulture Club's Poinsettia Show and Sale on Thursday, December 6th.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When people shop at this year’s 20th annual poinsettia sale at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, they may be surprised that not all poinsettias are red.

The sale, held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 8 and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9, takes place at the greenhouses behind Fifield Hall, 2550 Hull Road, Gainesville, Florida, on the UF campus. For more information on this year’s UF/IFAS poinsettia sale, click here.

Traditionally, consumers prefer red poinsettias, said Jim Barrett, a UF/IFAS professor emeritus of environmental horticulture who still plays a large role in UF/IFAS poinsettia trials. But as a result of breeding, the bright red poinsettia is now available in burgundy, pink, peach, white, yellow and marbled colors.

In fact, this year, a new, popular poinsettia is the ‘Love You Pink,’ Barrett said. “It’s not a traditional Christmas red,” Barrett said. “But it’s so popular, you’ll find it in retail outlets this year.”

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Applications open for 2017 UF/IFAS Plant Camp for educators

Topic(s): Announcements, Environment, Extension, IFAS, Invasive Species

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Are you a teacher who has always wanted to incorporate lessons on plants in your classroom? The University of Florida/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants is hosting its free Plant Camp, a five-day workshop, from June 12 to 16, 2017.

Applications will be accepted from Dec. 14th to Feb. 19, 2017. To apply, click here.

The workshop is designed for teachers—4th through 12th grade—interested in learning more about the 130-plus invasive plant species invading Florida’s natural areas and neighborhoods, as well as the native flora and fauna that make our state so unique.

“Invasive plants cost Florida taxpayers more than $80 million a year. They can block flood control devices and bridges, harbor mosquitoes, and cover valuable fish and wildlife habitats,” said Dehlia Albrecht, education initiative coordinator at the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. “Prevention and education are needed to protect our waters and natural areas.”

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UF/IFAS environmental horticulture faculty and CALS students win awards at international conference

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, CALS, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, RECs

mackthetford

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) students and UF/IFAS faculty recently took home several awards at the 41st International Plant Propagators’ Society (IPPS) southern region conference. IPPS is a global network of plant production professionals involved in horticulture research and education.

“It’s important for our students to attend and participate in professional conferences, such as IPPS, because they learn from top experts in the horticulture fields,” said Sandra Wilson, UF/IFAS environmental horticulture professor. “Our students engage in important experiential learning opportunities such as conversing with professors and other experts who have written these students’ college textbooks.”

The following students, faculty and staff received awards at the conference:

Sidney B. Meadows Award of Merit

  • Mack Thetford, environmental horticulture associate professor at UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center.

 

The award recognizes an outstanding individual for his or her contributions to the nursery industry and plant propagation in the Southern region of North America; it is the highest honor bestowed upon a member.

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UF receives mosquito traps for graduate and family housing

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

 

Paul Choi from Seoul Viosys meets with Dr. Philip Koehler and University Vilage housing workers to donate mosquito traps, photographed on November 21, 2016.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Department of Housing and Residence Education will receive traps designed to stop mosquitoes in their tracks through a donation from SEOUL VIOSYS, a South Korean-based company.

While there are no cases of locally transmitted zika virus on the UF campus, Gainesville or Alachua County, Sharon Blansett, assistant to the associate vice president for UF student affairs, welcomes the mosquito traps as a virus-prevention measure for students living in graduate and family housing.

“The Department of Housing and Residence Education is happy to receive the mosquito traps to help further protect residents living in graduate and family housing from mosquitoes that could potentially transmit viruses,” said Blansett, whose duties include managing UF student housing. “We do not have a mosquito problem at UF, but it’s great to know we’re getting more help in our continued efforts to keep students safe.”

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Artist named for Seahorse Key artist-in-residence program

Topic(s): Announcements, Environment, IFAS

artist-photo

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Cedar Key Artist-in-Residence Program has selected painter Daniel Gottsegen as artist in residence for 2017. Known for his meditative renderings of the natural world, Gottsegen will live and work at the University of Florida Seahorse Key facilities Feb. 12 to 18.

Sponsored by the Cedar Key Arts Center, UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Friends of the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges, the artist-in-residence program gives artists the opportunity to draw inspiration from the  natural beauty of the Nature Coast, said Mendy Allen, program coordinator for the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station in Cedar Key, Florida.

For the last four years, artists in residence have stayed at the Seahorse Key Lighthouse, a pre-Civil War structure that offers excellent views of the key and the Gulf of Mexico. Seahorse Key is also the site of the UF/IFAS Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory, which provides lodging and other resources for researchers studying local wildlife and coastal systems.

“We hope the meeting of art and science in a place such as Seahorse Key will be a fruitful one,” Allen said.

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CALS student wins prestigious award from UF International Center at the 22nd annual Outstanding International Student Awards Ceremony

Topic(s): Announcements, CALS, Honors and Appointments

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Erangi Heenkenda, a College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) master’s student, received the University of Florida International Center’s Scarborough-Maud Fraser Award at the 22nd annual awards ceremony held on Nov. 15. The center recognizes international students with exemplary academic records and a wide range of achievements each year.

The Scarborough-Maud Fraser award is sponsored by the Scarborough Insurance Company in honor of Maud Fraser, who provided outstanding service to international students at UF for 13 years before retirement. These international awards are part of UF’s priority to expand international perspectives in the classroom, as well as in research and service.

“International students comprise a significant percentage (about 36 percent) of CALS’ graduate student population,” said CALS Associate Dean Allen Wysocki. “These awards provide one small way CALS recognizes the contributions of our international graduate students. We are immensely proud of them and their achievements.”

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Veteran UF/IFAS economist named interim director of UF/IFAS Tropical REC

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Extension, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

evans-trec-111416

Edward “Gilly” Evans

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Edward “Gilly” Evans, a longtime agricultural economist at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Tropical Research and Education Center, has been named interim director of the center as the unit is hiring seven new faculty members.

The new scientists include an agro-ecologist (a combination of agronomist and ecologist) who will study, among other things, how production systems can remain profitable while conserving natural resources and protecting the environment. Other TREC hires include one of two hydrologists, two crop breeders, and a plant stress physiologist. A biogeochemist and a hydrologist will be hired in the near future.

Evans credits recently retired TREC director Chris Waddill for laying the groundwork for the seven new faculty positions. Once the new faculty are on-board, Evans will be supervising 100 full-time center employees, which will include 17 faculty members.

“It’s an exciting time for us because this will mark the beginning of a new chapter in TREC’s history that will bring us to a new level of excellence,” said Evans, a professor in the UF/IFAS food and resource economics department. “More and more, growers are looking to us to help with the many challenges they face, including increased foreign competition, a barrage of pests and diseases and climate change sea-level rises that threaten the quality and quantity of water resources in Florida. My emphasis over the coming year will be on completing the new hires and getting our scientists the help and tools they need to be more effective in doing their jobs.”

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UF/IFAS Florida 4-H to host 4-H Gator Soiree on Nov. 18

Topic(s): 4-H, Announcements, Families and Consumers, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty, staff, industry leaders and 4-H alumni and friends, will come together at the second annual 4-H Gator Soirée to support UF/IFAS Florida 4-H University 2017. The event will be from 6 to 8 p.m., Nov. 18 at University House.

Every summer, youth from across Florida travel to the UF campus to learn, lead and serve at UF/IFAS Extension Florida 4-H Youth Development Program’s flagship program, UF/IFAS Florida 4-H University. 4-H University features workshops led by faculty, and helps youth discover educational and career opportunities, all while experiencing the university.

Attendees will hear from university leaders and 4-H State council president, while enjoying the company of fellow 4-H supporters and 4-H musical talent. In addition, longtime 4H booster Betty Jo Tompkins will be honored with the 2016 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award.

“By investing in Florida’s youth, we ensure future generations of citizen leaders ready to make a difference in our communities, state and nation,” said Caylin Hilton, assistant director of strategic operations for UF Advancement. “We are thankful to our 4-H Gator Soirée sponsors and attendees for their support of Florida’s 4-Hers.”

Cost is $150, and includes a cocktail style dinner of heavy hors d’ouevres. For more information or to buy tickets, contact Caylin Hilton at 352-392-1975 or cnewbern@ufl.edu.

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

Source: Caylin Hilton, 352-392-5432, cnewbern@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS gets $5 million to help families strengthen relationships

Topic(s): Announcements, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS

Image used in the 2013 IFAS Extension Calendar.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — About 160,000 people got divorced in 2014 in Florida, according to the state Department of Health. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension faculty have received a new $5 million grant to try to make sure people maintain healthy relationships and perhaps lower that number a bit.

Under the grant guidelines, Victor Harris, a UF/IFAS assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences, and Extension faculty and staff for the SMART Couples Florida project will teach people how to strengthen their relationships over the next five years.

This UF/IFAS Extension program is geared toward married, remarried, at-risk youth, those getting ready for marriage, parents and active military and veteran couples and will include those who are low-income, low-resource, those with substance abuse problems, mental health issues, and histories of domestic violence and child-abuse issues.

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UF/IFAS professor receives USDA grant to help small food businesses

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Departments, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Uncategorized
Soohyoun Ahn. Assistant Professor. Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Soohyoun Ahn. Assistant Professor. Food Science and Human Nutrition.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences professor has been awarded part of a $4.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to continue her food safety outreach programs.

The grant, through the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), will be used for safety education, training and technical assistance projects for producers who are impacted by the new food safety guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Food Safety Modernization Act. The grants, made available through NIFA’s Food Safety Outreach Program, will assist owners and operators of small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, small fresh fruit and vegetable wholesalers, food hubs, farmers markets and others.

“Providing food safety training for small farm owners and food processors is critically important to the health of consumers,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “Outreach, training and technical support are essential to the successful implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act.”

Soohyoun Ahn, an assistant professor in food safety in the UF/IFAS food science and nutrition department, will receive $163,284 to continue her programs that help Floridians enter the food business. Ahn, who also has a UF/IFAS Extension appointment, is leading the food entrepreneurship extension program as the coordinator, and has delivered food safety education throughout the state to those who want to sell products at farmers markets, or who want to open their own food businesses in Florida.

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