TAMPA, Fla. – Florida Gov. Rick Scott pauses to be in a photograph with 4-H members, left to right, Marissa Coughlin, Meagan Borg and Krista Baker at the Florida State Fair. Scott attended the fair and the Fresh From Florida breakfast to talk about the importance of agriculture in Florida. In the photograph, he and the 4-H’ers stand in front of cutouts of political leaders who helped create the land-grant university and cooperative extension systems. UF/IFAS photo by Javier Edwards.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a resolution, sponsored by state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Thursday, at the state fair in Tampa recognizing the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which established the federal Cooperative Extension Service.
Scott formally opened the 110th Florida State Fair and held a cabinet meeting on the fairgrounds as a way to highlight the state’s agricultural heritage. He spoke briefly at the Fresh From Florida Breakfast.
Through the Smith-Lever Act, extension agents in every state work to share research information with various constituents, including farmers. Florida has an Extension office in every one of its 67 counties.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Whether you are in a blissfully happy, everything-runs-like-a-charm relationship or whether your significant other is your cat, the University of Florida’s Victor Harris – an expert in couples and premarital education – has tips to help strengthen your relationship.
Harris, an assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences at the University of Florida, says it’s a great time for relationship reflection.
Here are six tips from his arsenal:
The old adage about never going to bed angry? It’s a marriage myth, he says. Sometimes it’s best to get some rest before your tired, cranky self says something you can’t take back. During those times when you’re most aggravated by your spouse, he suggests calming down for at least 30-minutes and taking at least a three-minute meditation break, focusing on the things you love most about your partner.
The idea that marriage must always be a 50-50, straight-down-the-middle partnership? Also a myth. Many couples prosper and thrive with many different power balances and imbalances, he says. As long as both partners are happy, the balance works.
Every couple needs rituals, both the everyday and special occasion varieties, he says. “Men seem to especially need a ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’ touch. Basically, rituals help us increase positive bonds, which are a major aspect of the ongoing nurturing of friendship.” Rituals can include physical affection, gifts, keeping promises, acts of kindness, surprises and giving compliments. “The most important compliments are those that tell you ‘You are lovable and you are capable,’” Harris says.
One of the easiest routes to a busted union is when couples don’t learn how to de-escalate a disagreement. Couples stuck in criticism-defensiveness-contempt-stonewalling mode are in big trouble, he warns. “For a relationship to work, researchers have found that you’ve got to have at least a 5-to-1 ratio of positive to negative interactions and experiences, and you’ve got to learn how to short-circuit the argument cycle before it becomes a mud fight.”
If you’re wondering if your marriage is doomed: Find a couples therapist. Harris said some studies show that of couples who contemplate divorce but choose to stay together, more than 90 percent say later that they’re glad they did.
And for singles looking to find someone with whom to celebrate future Valentine’s Days, Harris advises: “Besides just finding a hottie, as my students say, you need to find someone who fulfills your needs – and you do that by finding someone first who knows how to meet their own needs. Another big key is finding someone who can accept influence from you when you express what your needs and opinions are.”
Harris can be reached at 352-273-3523 or at email@example.com. Here are links to three more of his pertinent publications:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Elaine Turner, senior associate dean of the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, has been appointed interim dean for the college, said Jack Payne, senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.
The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is one of the largest colleges of its kind in the nation, serving nearly 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students in agricultural, natural resources, family, youth, consumer and biological sciences.
“Dr. Turner has done exemplary work in her role as senior associate dean of the college,” Payne said. “Her commitment to the mission of land-grant education, research and extension is unparalleled.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Teri C. Balser, dean of the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, this week was elected to the board of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). The board governs the 66-year-old scientific association, headquartered in Reston, Va.
“I’m pleased to have an opportunity for national service,” Balser said, noting that the organization and its publication, BioScience, are dedicated to promoting new ideas and also has a focus on education. “I’m committed to supporting biology education and creating leadership in it. I think we really need more space for innovation and education in the life sciences.”
Al Wysocki, associate dean for the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, has been accepted for the fall 2013 Food Systems Leadership Institute, an executive leadership development program for academia, industry and government.
The institute emphasizes leadership, organizational-change skills, and a broad, interdisciplinary perspective on food systems. The organization works to prepare scholars for upper-level leadership roles in food system programs and to assume leadership responsibilities within their own organizations.
The two-year program includes intensive executive education residential learning sessions at three university locations, where scholars learn to increase awareness of their own leadership style, and aided by a professional coach, implement a personal development plan. During the second year, they work to apply what they’ve learned while carrying out an individual leadership project. More information about the program is available at www.fsli.org.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A number of people were honored for their contributions to UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the annual Dinner of Distinction, held at the UF Hilton Conference Center the evening of Friday, Oct. 4.
This was the second year of the awards banquet established to recognize individuals and organizations that support and advance the UF/IFAS Mission. It is held on the same weekend as the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ TailGATOR event, which serves as both a celebration of alumni achievements and an opportunity for students to learn more about CALS while networking with alumni.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Animal biodiversity suffers near conservation areas that border big farms, and the effects can spread for miles, according to a new study by University of Florida researchers and their colleagues.
Maintaining animal biodiversity is important as it can lead to greater control of agricultural pests and increased pollination around farmland as well as help maintain the health of an area’s ecosystem, said Robert McCleery, a study co-author.
The researchers studied small mammal populations across large-scale sugarcane production areas and adjacent to isolated pockets of conservation land in Swaziland, Africa. The study was published Monday in the online journal PLOS ONE and can be viewed here: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0074520.
UF/IFAS file photo of Austin Cary Forest palmetto and pine, by Dawn McKinstry
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — This spring, the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation has two reasons to celebrate:
One is the annual SFRC Spring Celebration on April 5-6. Here, alumni and friends of the School reconnect, recreate and learn about SFRC’s latest achievements.
The other reason: This year’s celebration includes a special milestone — groundbreaking for the new Austin Cary Forest Learning Center at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 6.
Dignitaries speaking at the groundbreaking include UF President Bernie Machen and UF Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources Jack Payne.
“This groundbreaking marks a huge step forward for the School of Forest Resources and Conservation,” Payne said. “Thousands will benefit from activities on-site at the new Learning Center, and many programs taught here will be offered via distance education to audiences statewide and beyond.”
The 7,800 square-foot building will facilitate education and outreach events at Austin Cary Forest. It’s larger and better-equipped than the conference center it replaces, said Tim White, director of the School. That facility fell victim to a fire in July 2011.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As part of a yearlong celebration marking the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, legislation that created land-grant universities in the United States, a group of University of Florida students will turn their attention to the future mission of land-grant universities.
The Jan. 31 event is called “Leadership and the Morrill Act: A 19th Century Initiative with 21st Century Implications.”