IFAS News

University of Florida

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

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

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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/IFAS CALS faculty awarded national USDA Excellence in Teaching awards

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

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – With exceptional track records for providing unique experiential learning opportunities to students, two University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) faculty have earned teaching honors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The UF/IFAS faculty members received Excellence in Teaching awards.

Eric McLamore, a UF/IFAS associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, earned one of two national awards in the New Teacher category. Nicole Stedman, a UF/IFAS professor of agricultural education and communication, received one of six regional awards across the nation. McLamore and Stedman received $2,000 each to put toward strengthening the instructional programs of their choice within CALS.

“CALS is proud of the work Dr. McLamore and Dr. Stedman have done to prepare students to address our world’s critical challenges related to agriculture, food systems, human wellbeing, natural resources and sustainable communities,” said CALS Dean Elaine Turner. “They provide a wonderful example of the kind of teaching excellence UF/IFAS educators promote around our state and across the nation.”

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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

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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-based PINEMAP project earns national award from USDA

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biofuels, CALS, Conservation, Crops, Economics, Environment, Extension, Forestry, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Research, Weather

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Caption: PINEMAP principal investigator Tim Martin, right, accepts congratulations from Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, at the NIFA Partnership Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. (Photo courtesy of USDA-NIFA)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The PINEMAP project, based within the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, devoted five years to helping the Southeastern planted-pine industry prepare for future production challenges. Now, PINEMAP is being honored with a prestigious national award from the United States Department of Agriculture.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, or NIFA, announced that PINEMAP would receive one of three 2016 NIFA Partnership Awards presented nationwide. The award recognizes PINEMAP for its outstanding performance integrating and fulfilling the education, Extension and research missions common to all land-grant universities.

The award confirms yet again the impact of UF/IFAS programs for one of the state’s most important industries, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

“Planted pine is cultivated on about 20 million acres throughout the Southeast. This industry is enormously important both economically and environmentally, and the work of PINEMAP was crucial to help secure the industry’s future,” Payne said. “Our UF/IFAS faculty members have shown exemplary leadership and scholarship; this honor is richly deserved.”

PINEMAP involved UF and 10 other southeastern U.S. land-grant institutions, as well as numerous collaborators from government agencies and private industry. The project was launched in February 2011 after leaders obtained one of three $20 million grants awarded concurrently by USDA as part of its Coordinated Agriculture Projects program, meant to strengthen vital domestic crop-production industries. (more …)

Two UF/IFAS food and resource economics faculty win awards for educational programming

Topic(s): Agriculture, Conservation, Crops, Economics, Environment, Extension, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

Tatiana Borisova and Edward “Gilly” Evans

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty in the food and resource economics department have each been selected for UF/IFAS Extension Professional and Enhancement awards.  These awards highlight exceptional UF/IFAS Extension programming, and earn faculty additional funding and program support.

Tatiana Borisova, associate professor and Extension specialist, has been selected for the Wells Fargo Extension Professional Award and Program Enhancement Grant, which recognizes a proposed educational program that responds to a public policy issue.

Borisova, who specializes in water economics and policy, is interested in educating Floridians about water resource management.

“In recent years, changes to water resource laws and regulations have rapidly accelerated in Florida and the U.S.,” said Borisova. “Meanwhile, public knowledge of water laws and regulations is limited. Public participation is vital for development and implementation of water resource management programs.”

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Hops research among UF/IFAS winners at national horticultural science awards

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

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Hops research by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers is gaining national scientific recognition in addition to media attention.

Three UF/IFAS scientists are not only trying to see if hops will grow in Florida’s hot, humid climate, but they also want to know whether they can quench the thirst of the fast-growing micro-brewing industry.

Brian Pearson, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of environmental horticulture, is one of three members of the hops research team. Pearson’s research to date won him third place in the Early Career Award for scientists at the American Society of Horticultural Sciences (ASHS) in early August. The Early Career Competition is for new faculty and professionals to share their discoveries to a peer audience.

“This is just the beginning of our alternative and specialty crop research,” said Pearson, a faculty member at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, Florida. “Working with hops, fennel, safflower and skullcap, we hope to bring an array of viable, high-value alternative crops to Florida growers.”

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UF/IFAS researcher wins global award for space life sciences

Topic(s): Environment, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, New Technology, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A UF/IFAS horticultural sciences professor, known worldwide for research on growing plants in space, has won the 2016 Jeffries Aerospace Medicine and Life Sciences Research Award.

The award is given to a member of the aerospace exploration community who embodies the innovation and insight exemplified by American physician, John Jeffries, who was the first person — back in 1786 — to utilize aeronautics to collect scientific data.

Robert Ferl, who researches how plants can grow in space, won the award. Specifically, Ferl was cited for conducting cutting-edge space biology research and for mentoring others in spaceflight research, pushing the boundaries of where biology can travel.

“I was surprised and enormously honored to win the award,” said Ferl, who was recognized this month in Vienna, Austria. “For a space biologist, recognition by the engineers — the rocket builders, the space suit designers, the people who plan the missions — is a huge honor that acknowledges the role of fundamental science in moving life into space.”

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UF CALS students, faculty shine at annual teaching conference

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences students and faculty were recognized for their outstanding teaching and research at the 62nd annual North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) conference in June.

More than 25 UF CALS faculty, staff and graduate students attended the meeting, said CALS Dean Elaine Turner. CALS is part of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Many UF CALS faculty and students contributed to the NACTA program with posters, oral presentations and workshops.

“The NACTA annual conference is a showcase for innovation and excellence in teaching and learning,” Turner said. “I am so proud of the UF/IFAS faculty and CALS graduate students who were recognized with teaching, leadership and scholarship awards this year. The constant pursuit of excellence in teaching is a key part of what makes CALS such a great academic home for students.”

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