IFAS News

University of Florida

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

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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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UF/IFAS, agencies collaborate to help landowners fight invasive species

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, Extension, Forestry, IFAS, Invasive Species, Livestock, Pests

North Florida cattle rancher . UF/IFAS Photo: Josh Wickham.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It took a few years for Buzz Eaves to notice that tropical soda apple shrubs were overtaking his 1,200-acre cattle ranch near Fort Pierce, Florida. The prickly plant, with fruit the size of a golf ball and the color of unripen watermelon, was creating a barrier to the cattle’s grazing ground and displacing native plants.

“I was spending close to $6,000 a year on fertilizer and it wasn’t working that well,” Eaves said. “Then I heard about a program through the University of Florida that helps get rid of invasive species, so I turned to the school for help,” Eaves said. “It was the best thing I ever did.”

The UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences joined a dozen other organizations to form the Florida Invasive Species Partnership (FISP). The members work across boundaries to address invasive species challenges across the state, said Chris Demers, UF/IFAS Extension statewide program manager.

FISP began as a working group to address invasive species on state and federal land. The program expanded to include privately owned land, Demers said. “UF/IFAS Extension faculty provide various resources on invasive species, control and prevention,” he said. “We work across all species, plants, animals and fungus.”

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UF/IFAS researchers train Southeast growers on new federal food safety act requirements

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Departments, Extension, IFAS, RECs, Safety

Horacio Alvardo, left, and Troy Rumore load 200 boxes of oranges and grapefruit, Thursday DEC-6, 2001,  being shipped from the University of Florida to the families of those who lost their lives in rescue efforts in New York after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Students in the Gator Citrus Club at UF's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences started the holiday gift drive. Citrus packers from around the state are donating fruit, and members of the public can contribute to the cost of shipping and handling. Gift boxes can be sent to the fire or police department in New York. For additional information, contact the Gator Citrus Club at (352) 392-5653.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers and Extension agents are fanning across the state and the Southeast region to help growers and packers meet new federal food safety guidelines.

Driving across the state to packinghouses, farms and training centers, scientists such as Michelle Danyluk, Keith Schneider and Renee Goodrich are training growers in the latest regulations. “The state is massive, and we are not only tasked with helping Florida farmers meet new safety guidelines, but also are tasked with training educators in the Southeast so they can help growers in their states,” said Schneider, who with his colleagues is in the UF/IFAS department of food science and human nutrition.

Last fall, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released several major rules that comprise the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The federal government has recognized the role of Extension specialists in training programs for key sections such as the Produce Safety Rule and the Preventive Controls for Human Foods Rule, Schneider said.

The University of Florida is one of two institutions that was awarded a $1.2 million grant by USDA in 2015 to help lead such training, Danyluk said. The Southern Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Center to Enhance Produce Safety at UF, led by Danyluk, is one of two regional programs that play a leading role in coordinating and implementing FSMA-related training, education, and outreach programs for small and medium-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, small processors, and/or small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers.

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Hardee County 4-H alumna: Attitude, perseverance are the keys to success

Topic(s): 4-H, Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Livestock

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — One of the most important lessons Destiny McCauley ever learned happened in the show ring: “Never give up, even when you think you’ve lost,” she says.

After the first round of a cattle showmanship competition, McCauley, a long-time Hardee County 4-H member, was put last in the line of contestants, which usually signals a low score, she explained. Thinking she had already lost, McCauley just went through the motions in the second round.

She later found out the judges were testing her resolve. Her placement in the line-up had nothing to do with her score. After the first round, McCauley was in first place, but, after her lackluster second round, she had dropped to third.

Now, as she gets ready to graduate from the University of Western Kentucky with a double major in animal science and communications, that experience in the show ring still impacts the way she faces challenges.

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Habitat for Humanity, UF/IFAS Extension program work together for new homeowners

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

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As they prepare to be new homeowners with help from Habitat for Humanity, program candidates learn home maintenance, how to save energy and how to get along better with home occupants through the Homeflow program, offered by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.

A second Homeflow class will be offered starting Dec. 8, through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity in Jacksonville.

Known as HabiJax, the Jacksonville program is one of the largest in the U.S., having built more than 2,000 homes in the past 28 years, said Randy Cantrell, a UF/IFAS Extension housing and community development specialist. Qualified homebuyers complete educational workshops and hours of “sweat equity” – volunteer hours alongside community volunteers – to help build their own homes and upon completion, purchase their home with an affordable mortgage payment.

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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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UF/IFAS researcher: Neighborly conversations can help with water conservation

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, Lawn & Garden, Research

People work at a rain barrel building workshop at the Alachua County Extension Office. Photo taken December 4th, 2015.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Your neighbors and peers probably care more about water conservation than one might assume, and that may mean they’re open to some new ideas about using less water, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher says.

Laura Warner, who will publish a new study on UF/IFAS Extension water conservation programs, thinks these neighborly discussions could prove fruitful.

“You may not notice the ways someone conserves, but they may already be taking action to not waste water by using good irrigation practices, and they may be open to some new ideas if you strike up a conversation about how you save water in the home landscape,” said Warner, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of agricultural education and communications.

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UF/IFAS Extension helps Floridians ‘take charge’ of diabetes

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

Nancy Gal, standing, Marion County extension agent with the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, discusses diet selection with participants in her Take Charge of Your Diabetes class. Those participating in the class include, from left, Herman Boykin, Elzatie Miller, Edward Sugarman and Marcella Spencer. Take Charge of Your Diabetes is available from Extension offices throughout Florida. (UF/IFAS photo by Marisol Amador)

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Diabetes affects 29.1 million people in the U.S. — 9.3 percent of the population — and is the seventh leading cause of death in the country, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“In Florida, 9.4 percent of adults have been told by a medical professional that they have diabetes, and this doesn’t count those who have diabetes and don’t yet know it,” said Linda Bobroff, professor and UF/IFAS Extension nutrition specialist with University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Bobroff is director of the Take Charge of Your Diabetes program, a series of classes that helps those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes better manage their condition.

“Take Charge of Your Diabetes covers most aspects of diabetes self-care, and is offered by UF/IFAS Extension county faculty in collaboration with local health professionals who specialize in diabetes management. Participants attend nine weekly sessions and at least two follow-up meetings to encourage their continued adherence to best practices for good blood glucose control and to check their progress,” Bobroff 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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