IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station raises $9,000 for aquarium, local causes

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, IFAS, Pollution

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — More than 50 residents from Florida’s Nature Coast and Gainesville paddled, jogged or cheered during the Workout on the Waterfront event held in Cedar Key, Florida to raise money for local causes. The event, held March 18, was sponsored by the Nature Coast Biological Station, part of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The goal of Workout on the Waterfront was to raise funds for the future UF/IFAS NCBS aquarium, the Cedar Key Library and the International Coast Clean-up, said Mike Allen, director of UF/IFAS NCBS. At the end of the day, Workout on the Waterfront raised $9,000.

“The aquarium will foster ecotourism in the Cedar Key area and will showcase efforts to conserve wildlife from the region,” Allen said. “The Florida Aquarium has generously donated its time and expertise to help with the planning of the new aquarium, for which we’re very grateful.”

Funds will also go toward new audio-visual equipment for the Cedar Key Library, which was badly damaged during Hurricane Hermine. This equipment will allow the library to continue hosting seminars and presentations for the community.

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UF/CALS student earns university-wide dissertation fellowship

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, IFAS, Pests

GAINESVILLE, Fla. –  A University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Ph.D. student received the university-wide Emerging STEM Scholar Award at the 2017 Women’s History Month Awards on March 1. The honor is part of the Association for Academic Women Graduate Student Awards.

Entomology and nematology student Vanessa Dias came to UF from Bahia, Brazil after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) awarded her a fellowship to conduct research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture lab on UF’s campus. While in the U.S., Vanessa was awarded a four-year scholarship from the Brazilian government through the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel Foundation to pursue her Ph.D. at UF. Dias’ research involves improvements to the sterile insect technique that reduces the need for pesticide use on crops and makes the technique available at an affordable cost.

The award Dias earned is named after Madelyn Lockhart, who served as the Dean of the UF Graduate School and Dean of International Studies and Programs between 1985 and 1993. Dias said she is grateful for the award. Recipients are provided up to $2,000 annually to assist in the dissertation phase of the doctoral degree.

“Through CALS I have learned a sense of responsibility,” Dias said. “The university gives me the opportunity to complete research on a large scale – research that can change the world indeed. In CALS, we are well prepared to do any research we want to pursue. We can affect other cultures in a positive way.”

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UF/IFAS experts help growers ready for tonight’s cold snap

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Landscaping, Lawn & Garden, Plants, Weather

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Growers are bracing for a cold snap tonight that could cost them thousands of dollars in damage. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension agents and researchers are here to help.

A hard freeze warning is in effect from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. Thursday, March 16 for many counties in North Florida, according to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville. Temperatures are predicted to be 24 to 27 degrees during these hours.

UF/IFAS Extension specialists are available to give growers advice for the cold spell. Find your county’s UF/IFAS Extension specialists by clicking here. Then click on your county.

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UF workshop to help homeowners navigate HOA issues for landscaping

Topic(s): Announcements, Conservation, Environment, Extension, Florida Friendly, Green Living, IFAS, Landscaping, Lawn & Garden, Plants, Vegetables

Landscaping at a home garden.

SANFORD, Fla. — Wondering if that new lawn will mean a discussion with your Homeowner’s Association? The University of Florida Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM  program offers a workshop on April 26 to help homeowners navigate the process.

“Legally Speaking: FFL in The Planned Community” will run from 12:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the UF/IFAS Extension Seminole County office. The location is 250 County Home Road, Sanford, Florida 32773.

“We are offering the course to help homeowners learn about current legal issues, and to give them strategies they can use when working with an HOA board to install a Florida-Friendly landscape,” said Claire Lewis, UF/IFAS statewide Florida yards and neighborhoods coordinator. “We want homeowners and HOA members to work together and also be able to avoid problems by learning the science-based ways to landscape.”

The workshop will include topics such as a review of issues and outcomes of installing a Florida Friendly landscape, a presentation by a community association attorney on disputes arising between HOAs and homeowners, and 10 strategies for working with an HOA.

Cost to attend is $5. Click here to register. For more information, contact Claire Lewis at clairelewis@ufl.edu or 352-273-4518.

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

Florida peaches pack a punch as a succulent snack

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida peaches make for a succulent snack, say consumers surveyed by a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher.

That’s encouraging news for Florida producers trying to expand their reach, not only in the Sunshine State but nationally, said Joy Rumble, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of agricultural education and communication.

“I was surprised to see that one of the most common ways people reported eating peaches was as a snack,” Rumble said. “I thought that people would be consuming them as part of a meal such as lunch or in a dish such as cobbler or as a topping, like on yogurt. This finding is encouraging for the Florida peach industry because the Florida peach tends to be smaller than those produced elsewhere. There is an opportunity to position and market the Florida peach as the perfect snack.”

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UF/IFAS Milton Campus, Pensacola State College to host Spring Festival of Flowers on April 7-9

Topic(s): Agriculture, Cultivars, Extension, Families and Consumers, Green Living, IFAS, Plants, RECs

MILTON, Fla. — The seasons are changing and it’s time to enjoy the blooming plants across the state. Families are invited to enjoy the Spring Festival of Flowers on April 7 to 9 in Milton. The University of Florida IFAS Milton Campus and the Pensacola State College are sponsoring the free event.

The festival will be held at the UF/IFAS and Pensacola State College Milton Campus, 5988 Hwy. 90, Building 4900, Milton, Florida 32583. The festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The festival will feature arts and crafts, plants, flower and herbs, garden supplies, locally grown vegetables, and great food and music. Educational booths will feature UF/IFAS Extension agents answering questions about plants and flowers, eclectic gardening, good bugs and bad bugs, sprinklers and air layering demonstrations, and experts offering advice and hands-on demonstrations on wildlife for your backyard.

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UF/IFAS Extension agent: Smart eating tips for National Nutrition Month

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

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — How’s that New Year’s resolution holding up? If you resolved to eat healthier in 2017, you have a second chance during National Nutrition Month, which runs through March.

The theme for this year’s observance is “Put your best fork forward,” according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Experts from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have a few tips to help you get started.

“Putting your best fork forward means making every bite count and getting the most out of our ‘food investment’ —  a forkful of salad gives us a lot more than a forkful of pie,” said Nan Jensen, family and consumer sciences agent in Pinellas County with the UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program.

“As we celebrate National Nutrition Month, I would encourage everyone to eat a variety of foods from all food groups,” said Lacey Corrick, education and training specialist for the UF/IFAS Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).

Corrick and Jensen recommend starting with small changes that will improve your health over time.

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UF/CALS graduate students host annual coleus plant sale

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. –  The Environmental Horticulture Graduate Student Association (EHGSA) will host its 18th annual plant sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 25 and 26. The sale will be held at the University of Florida horticulture greenhouses, 2475 Memorial Road, Gainesville. This is the fourth year the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) student organization will feature coleus plants.

The graduate students recently began featuring coleus to showcase the plant breeding that happens at UF and the plants club members have grown themselves. All coleus sold at the event have been patented by UF. The sale will also include donated plants from local horticulturalists.

“The coleus we are selling are mostly available commercially, but not all in one place considering the amount of varieties we have,” said Tia Tyler, EHGSA president. “We already have people calling to make sure they don’t miss the sale. It’s nice to see we are picking up a following.”

New coleus varieties to be sold at the event include Velveteen (a dark burgundy leaf with a pink center) and Salsa Verde (a lime color). The Gator Glory variety with orange leaves and yellow highlights is not available commercially and was recently retired as UF’s official plant.

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UF/IFAS Global honors three faculty members for international work

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Departments, Extension, IFAS, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Taking the charge to bring agricultural solutions to countries far and wide, three faculty members with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have done just that. Thus, they were honored at the third annual UF/IFAS Global forum and awards ceremony in February.

Luke Flory, an assistant professor in the agronomy department, received the UF/IFAS Global International Achievement award for his work on reducing the effects of invasive plants around the world. His research has received international recognition, with invitations to speak at universities and organizations in Asia, Canada and Europe, said Rob Gilbert in a nomination letter.

William Giuliano, a professor and UF/IFAS Extension specialist in the department of wildlife, ecology and conservation, was named a UF/IFAS Global International Fellow. Giuliano secured substantial funding for, established, and now directs the Program for Tropical Ecology and Conservation Science and its associated two field stations in Belize. Also, he established a program to conduct research with and train Belizean scientists, said nominator and colleague Eric Hellgren.

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Neighboring termite colonies re-invade; expose themselves to deadly bait

Topic(s): Economics, Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, Household Pests, IFAS, Invasive Species, Pests, RECs, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Even after an insecticide bait weakens Formosan subterranean termites, a neighboring colony will invade the same area and meet the identical lethal fate, new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences research shows.

The research finding is key for a pest that accounts for much of the $32 billion annual cost caused by subterranean termites worldwide.

“The good news for a homeowner is that as soon as the colony is weakened by baits, the neighboring colony would immediately invade its tunneling system, discover the baits and consume them,” said UF/IFAS entomology professor Nan-Yao Su, co-author of the study. “This always results in the elimination of the invading colony. The results showed that as long as the baits are still present in the bait stations, they will continue to intercept and eliminate incoming colonies.”

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