GAINESVILLE, Fla. — They are known as gloomy scales, and these insects can make a red maple tree’s life downright dreary. This is because the arthropods feed and thrive on them, especially in warm and dry urban landscapes, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher says.
Melanaspis tenebricosa, or gloomy scale insects, reproduce more, especially when the trees they live on are under the stress of heat and drought, according to new study led by UF/IFAS entomology assistant professor Adam Dale.
Dale’s new research is important as residents and urban landscapers decide when and where to plant red maple trees, which are native and widely distributed in North America from Florida to Canada and whose canopy helps cool urban areas.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida State Capitol will be a sea of clover green on March 23 when approximately 500 4-H youth visit with state representatives and senators, and learn about the legislative process firsthand.
The day will include a group photo in front of the Historic Capitol building, a speech from Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, meetings with state legislatures and a tour of the Capitol complex.
“This is a very special event and one that is very near to my heart,” said Chris DeCubellis, associate state program leader for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension 4-H youth development program. “The idea of providing a framework in which young people can interact directly with their elected officials is an exciting prospect.”
Students will learn much from a firsthand look at government, DeCubellis said.
“This 4-H program provides an outstanding opportunity for our young people to understand how our government works and how their voices can be appropriately heard at the highest levels,” DeCubellis said. “We want our 4-H members to go on to be contributing members of their society, and this is an example of a program that helps youth on that positive journey.”
LIVE OAK, Fla. — Do you want to know how to grow plants without soil? More and more, people want to start a hydroponic farming business. To meet that demand, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension will host workshops this month to get you going.
This marks the ninth straight year that Extension faculty at the UF/IFAS Suwanee Valley Agricultural Extension Center will host the workshops. If you are interested, you can attend March 13-14 or March 17-18 at the center, 8202 County Road 417, Live Oak, Florida.
“We had great demand for information coming from growers and potential growers,” said center director and UF/IFAS Extension specialist Bob Hochmuth. “Although many growers are diversifying from traditional farming enterprises, I would say most are not coming from a traditional farming background.”
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – UF/IFAS plant science professors and University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) students will shave their heads and raise money to increase awareness of childhood cancer. The plant science team will participate in the UF Freshmen Leadership Council’s St. Baldrick’s service project on March 16 from 4 to 9 p.m. on Norman Field.
The effort is one of many events around the country that benefit St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The nonprofit organization works closely with leading pediatric oncologists to find childhood cancer cures, as well as ways to prevent lifelong damage resulting from surgeries, radiation and chemotherapies. UF Health is a recipient of grants from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
“This is something for students to diversify the service projects they can participate in on campus,” said plant science student Jimmy Herd-Bond, a participant in the plant science St. Baldrick’s team. “This is a way to show we care by not only giving money, but by taking action.”
This will be the second “shearing” plant pathology lecturer Brantlee Spakes Richter has gone through for a St. Baldrick’s event. She last participated eight years ago in Raleigh, North Carolina in honor of a sister-in-law she never met. Richter’s sister-in-law died from a misdiagnosed cancerous tumor she had as a teenager that spread throughout her body. Richter says her sister-in-law’s presence is still felt every day in their family.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Protecting the water Floridians will need for the 15 million additional residents projected to live here 50 years from now means getting today’s 20 million Floridians to conserve water, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher says.
Michael Dukes, a UF/IFAS professor of agricultural and biological engineering, said water conservation will be one of many topics at this year’s UF/IFAS Urban Landscape Conference, scheduled for March 16-17 at the Straughn Center, 2142 Shealy Drive, Gainesville.
UF/IFAS experts will share information on landscaping and the issues that go along with it, such as water, horticulture and human behavior, said Dukes, who also works as director of the UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Canadian farmer and motivational speaker Chris Koch, who was born without arms and legs, will speak to students and the public at the University of Florida on March 13 and 14.
After attending the 2016 Ag Media Summit where Koch spoke, several members of the University of Florida Agricultural Communicators and Leaders of Tomorrow (ACLT) club knew he was someone the larger UF and Gainesville community needed to hear.
Despite the challenges Koch faces, he chooses to take life in stride and make the best of every situation. He spreads the message “If I can” to the public. Koch uses his message to inspire others to overcome their own obstacles, and has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Koch will speak at the UF J. Wayne Reitz Union grand ballroom at 6 p.m. on March 13 and again at 9 a.m. on March 14 at the Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center. The events are free and open to all. Participants are encouraged to bring two non-perishable food items for the Alan and Cathy Hitchcock Field and Fork Food Pantry on campus.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As we head into allergy season, you may feel less likely to grab a hanky and sneeze. That’s because new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences research shows a probiotic combination might help reduce hay fever symptoms, if it’s taken during allergy season.
Many published studies have shown a probiotic’s ability to regulate the body’s immune response to allergies, but not all of the probiotics show a benefit, UF/IFAS researchers say.
“Not all probiotics work for allergies. This one did,” said Jennifer Dennis, a doctoral student in the UF/IFAS food science and human nutrition department and first author on the latest study.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – After a summer job working along the Oregon border in California for the U.S. Forest Service, Dave Lewis knew a career in forestry was his calling. With nearly 40 years of forestry experience, Lewis has continued to find the industry to be a rewarding profession.
Lewis will channel his passion for forest management into his new role as vice president of the national Society of American Foresters (SAF).
“Dave has a strong moral and professional character with outstanding leadership skills,” said SAF 2015 president Bob Alverts. “It was a well-informed choice to elect him. He has ideas to move this organization forward and grow it into one that is inclusive, benefits members and will continue to achieve objectives by having the resources with which to do so.”
Previously, Lewis served on the 2012-2014 SAF board of directors representing Florida, Georgia and Alabama. After his first year as SAF vice president, Lewis will serve for another two years on the board of directors as president and immediate past-president. Lewis said he is most looking forward to meeting and working with foresters from all over the country.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — How about grapefruit as a dessert or snack? That is how many South Koreans, especially younger ones, view the fruit. Therefore, Florida grapefruit growers may want to expand their shipments to that Asian nation, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers say.
UF/IFAS researchers are doing a series of surveys for the Florida Department of Citrus, comparing the consumer behavior and market potential for grapefruit in the U.S., Europe and Asia. In the latest study, Yan Heng, a postdoctoral researcher in the UF/IFAS food and resources economics department, conducted an online poll of 992 South Korean female shoppers over 20 years old.
She found South Korea may be a growing market for U.S. grapefruit. Furthermore, South Korean consumers generally consider U.S. products as high quality, so U.S. growers would have a chance to profit by selling with a premium, Heng said.
“We really look at this study and South Korea as information to see if we can increase younger consumers in other countries,” said Lisa House, a UF/IFAS professor of food and resource economics and a study co-author. In addition to eating grapefruit, South Koreans also use grapefruit in beer, tea and ice cream, so marketing opportunities abound.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Sailors with a knack for building their own seaworthy vessels will join in the fun on March 18 in Cedar Key, Florida, for the first annual Workout on the Waterfront (WoW) Repurpose-It-Regatta.
Organizers challenge participants to make their vessels out of recyclable materials.
“Pollution of our coasts and oceans with debris and other waste is a global problem, and we can all take steps to make sure harmful materials stay out of these ecosystems,” said Savanna Barry, Florida Sea Grant agent with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Nature Coast Biological Station. “We’re encouraging regatta boaters to use natural, biodegradable materials, such as paper and natural fabrics, when constructing their boat.”
The Repurpose-It-Regatta will begin at the intersection of G Street and Second Street at 10:30 a.m. Children must be accompanied by at least one adult. Boaters can win awards for fastest boat, most creative boat, pulling up the rear, and “pirate heat” — the fastest out of the boats that, while creative, don’t pass inspection at check-in.
A list of qualifying and disqualifying boat materials can be found on the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station website. Self-made boats must also have a name and figurehead or decoration. “We are really asking people to be creative while also showing how our choices impact the environment,” said Mendy Allen, program coordinator for the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station.