UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources gears up for annual Ag Day event

On Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the University of Delaware will host its annual Ag Day event at Townsend Hall on the UD’s south campus.

A student-run community event celebrating its 43-year anniversary, Ag Day will have community and collegiate organizations on hand to show off agriculture and natural resources, as well as educate the public through numerous demonstrations, events, food and attractions.

Several clubs such as UD’s Food Science Club, Animal Science Club and Entomology Club will be present.

UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources gears up for annual eventAg Day—which has a 2018 theme of “Global Explorers”—will also have children’s games and activities, a livestock display with UD farm animals, musical entertainment, hayrides and much more.

This year, Ag Day will offer a new plant sale hosted by UD Fresh to You, a garden managed at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) that focuses on growing organic produce as a tool to help educate students interested in local and sustainable growth.

The UD Fresh to You program, which is managed by Mike Popovich, farm manager, is a fresh market vegetable program that offers internship opportunities to those studying plant science, soil science, agriculture and natural resources, food science and other related fields.

The program, which was started in 2013, gives interns the opportunity to grow vegetables year-round, thanks in part to two season extending high tunnels, and learn about production.

“It’s a learning environment. Interns can come and learn small scale vegetable production so that they can go off and do it on their own,” said Popovich.

This past January, the UD Fresh to You program was certified organic. After a three-year process to get certified, the organic farm now offers more teaching opportunities for students and allows them to learn more about organic production on a small scale.

In addition to learning the ins and outs of organic production, the work opportunities are greater now that they are certified organic.

“There is definitely more labor involved with the organic system. Not to take away from conventional farming in any way, but a lot of the tools that production method employs are not available to us,” said Popovich.

The increased labor helps Popovich reinforce the strong work ethic he feels is necessary to be successful whether farming two or 2,000 acres.

At the sale, visitors will be able to buy organic and heirloom plants as well as support the numerous students that benefit from the program.

The inaugural UD Fresh to You sale, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be in addition to the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (UDBG) annual spring plant sale.

The UDBG sale will take place for the general public on Friday, April 27 from 3-7 p.m. and on Ag Day from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional shopping days will be Thursday, May 3 from 3-7 p.m. and Saturday, May 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friends of UDBG will enjoy an exclusive day to shop on Thursday, April 26 from 3-7 p.m

For more information on Ag Day, visit the event website.

Article by Julia Damiano

Photo by Wenbo Fan

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

CANR to host annual community push lawn mower tune-up service

The University of Delaware’s Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) fraternity for agriculture and the Sigma Alpha sorority will host this year’s push lawn mower tune up.

The lawn mower tune up is in its 17thyear and over that time period, 8,750 mowers have been serviced.

Last year, over 650 mowers were serviced.

2018 Lawn Mower Tune up set April 13-15The lawn mower tune-up will be held this year on Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14, at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus with pickup on Saturday and Sunday, April 15.

The tune-up is provided by trained students and alumni members of the clubs and includes washing the mower, an oil change, spark plug replacement, air filter cleaning and blade sharpening.

Service performed is tune-up only; no repairs are performed and no riding mowers will be accepted.

The cost of the tune-up is $40. Payment in the form of cash or check may be made at drop-off. Checks should be made out to Alpha Gamma Rho.

Lawn mowers may be dropped off and picked up in the parking lot behind Worrilow and Townsend halls on UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources campus at 531 S. College Ave., just north of the Fred Rust Ice Arena.

For more information, contactJeffrey Hall at jeffhall@udel.edu or call the AGR Fraternity at (732) 672–0328.

Article by Adam Thomas

CANR 2018 Research Symposium set for Monday, April 30

The 2018 College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Research Symposium will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Monday, April 30 in a large tent behind Townsend Hall.

All CANR researchers, including undergraduate and graduate students, post-docs, staff and faculty are welcome to participate in the third annual symposium.

The 2018 CANR Research Symposium will be held Monday, April 30Participants will enjoy outstanding intellectual stimulation and lunch with colleagues and may present new posters or posters recently presented at a scientific meeting.

Awards will be given to the top presenters in undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and post-doc categories and all those will receive monetary awards.

To register for the symposium, complete the registration form here.

The deadline to register is Friday, April 6.

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources announces Ag Day date

Ag Day, an annual tradition of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at the University of Delaware, will be held on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Members of the campus and neighboring communities are encouraged to join the college for a day filled with music, exhibitors, great food, and fun for all ages on UD’s South Campus.

Registration for exhibitors and vendors is now open and runs until March 27.

UD Ag Day set for April 28Registration is available on the Ag Day Website.

This year’s theme is Global Explorers and will celebrate all that the college has to offer agriculture and natural resource related sciences on a global scale.

Visitors can experience everything from livestock exhibits, 4-H arts and crafts, hayride farm tours, and much more.

Both admission and parking are free and the event is open to the public, rain or shine.

The website also features additional information, announcements, and schedules, and will be updated as the event approaches.

UD holds sixth annual Microbial Systems Symposium

Much like the microbes they study in the world—which can be found anywhere from oceans to human skin cells—microbial researchers are spread out pretty much everywhere at the University of Delaware.

Because of this, the Microbial Systems Symposium plays an integral role in bringing together the microbial scientific community at UD to keep researchers up to date on the latest findings, techniques and tools available at the University.

This year’s symposium was held on Saturday, Feb. 10 in Townsend Hall.

Robin Morgan, interim provost, said that the event is a great way for faculty, graduate students and others to learn about the recent advances in microbiology at UD.

UD holds 6th annual Microbial Systems Symposium“The day-long event catalyzes collaborations and helps groups invested in microbiology appreciate the depth and breadth of efforts all across the UD campus. An added plus is that students gain valuable experience in presenting short talks and posters,” Morgan said.

Jennifer Biddle, associate professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), said the symposium is a great way to advance new research collaborations.

“Every year through this symposium we come together to see what other people are doing, share expertise and cultivate a community of microbiologists,” Biddle said. “Microbes are everywhere. Because there’s a very large clinical and applied aspect as well as an ecological aspect, you naturally fall into different places. We’re spread out across all these different disciplines and yet we’re asking very similar questions and using, more importantly, similar techniques.”

Biddle co-organized this year’s symposium with Amy Biddle, assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

The symposium included a keynote speaker from the region, Elizabeth Grice, assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania. Derrick Scott, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Delaware State University, also presented.

“We’re getting bigger and we’re trying to make this more regional with this idea that the methodologies are all shared and we’re all within a few hours of each other,” Jennifer Biddle said.

Poster presentations

Undergraduate and graduate students had a chance to present their research to those in attendance during a morning and afternoon poster session.

Cassandra Harris, a master’s level student in marine studies, is studying fish gut microbes. She’s looking at the differences between an herbivore (plant eater), a carnivore (meat eater) and an invertivore (eater of crabs, etc.) and how changes to their diets also change the gut microbiome.

The herbivores she is studying are Yellow Tangs, the invertivores are Lagoon Triggerfish and the carnivores are Dwarf Hawkfish.

Harris said that fish give off specific chemical cues with regards to their scent based on what they eat which aides in predator avoidance in prey fish.

“We are manipulating the diets of the herbivore and the invertivore to that of a carnivore and seeing how their chemical cue changes,” Harris said.

After running trials, Harris said that the researchers saw that the cues of the herbivore and invertivore changed to that of a carnivore because prey fish are avoiding them even though they aren’t predators.

“We think that the gut microbes may be causing this change. Gut microbes are highly dependent on the diet of the host and the microbiome shifts when the diet is changed. The end goal is to hopefully identify the metabolism within the gut microbes that is causing the change in chemical cues given off by the fish,” said Harris.

As an undergraduate, Harris worked with behaviors in the common bottlenose dolphin and wanted to try something different as a graduate student.

With Biddle as her advisor, Harris got interested in gut microbes.

“They’re not the most glamorous but I like the techniques I’m learning with bioinformatics and so that’s the real draw,” Harris said.

Lingyi Wu, a doctoral student in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) who works in the lab of Eric Wommack, deputy dean of CANR, talked about her research that focuses on viruses of microbes, specifically looking at a hypothetical device that would allow for a more time efficient, low-cost way to study these viruses.

“We have tons of viruses in the ocean and most of the viruses use bacteria as their host but the viruses are very small. We can’t just grab them and study them,” Wu said. “Usually, we observe the viruses under a microscope but it is very small if you want to see how they behave and it is time consuming and expensive to get a fancy microscope. We propose to build a microfluidic device and to put all of your bacteria and viruses into it.”

Award winners included:

Best student talks: Nathan MacDonald, who works in the Fidelma Boyd lab, Delicious but Dangerous: Unique sugars biosynthesized by bacteria; Kaliopi Bousses, a master’s level student in CEOE who works in the Jennifer Biddle lab, Microbial succession in a sulfur-oxidizing mat; and Michael Pavia, a master’s level student in the College of Arts and Sciences who works in the lab of Clara Chan, associate professor in CEOE, Colonization and S(0) Mineralization of Sulfur Oxidizing Biofilms in the Frasassi Cave System.

Best poster presentations: Amelia Harrison, a master’s level student in CEOE working with Wommack, Ribonucleotide reductase provides insight into marine virioplankton communities; Rebecca Vandzura, a master’s level student in CEOE who is working with Chan, Bacteriophage roles in hydrothermal vent iron mats: a metagenomic analysis; and Cassandra Harris, who is working with Jennifer Biddle, Identifying Hindgut Microbes in Ctenochaetus striatus and Calotomus spinidens: Comparing Community Composition, Function, and Identifying Genomes Through Metagenomics.

Support for the symposium was provided by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and Animal and Food Sciences), the College of Arts and Sciences (Department of Biology), the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, the College of Engineering (Departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering) and the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN). Betty Cowgill, academic support coordinator in the Department of Biological Sciences and Grace Wisser, CANR event coordinator, both assisted in putting together the event.

Article and photo by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

UD Extension offers instruction to crop consultants as part of annual Mid-Atlantic Crop School

The University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension teamed with professors and extension professionals from the University of Maryland and other regional land grant universities and the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to offer continuing education credits for certified crop advisers at the Mid-Atlantic Crop School held in late November in Ocean City, Maryland.

The Mid-Atlantic Crop School has been operating for over 20 years and offers continuing education credits over a two-and-a-half-day period in the five areas that certified crop advisers are required to gain knowledge: crop management, pest management, soil and water management, nutrient management and also sessions on professional development or an innovative topic.

Other Universities involved with the Mid-Atlantic Crop School include West Virginia University and Virginia Tech.

UD Extension offers instruction to crop consultants as part of annual Mid-Atlantic Crop SchoolIn addition to offering the certified crop adviser credits, the school also offers Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania nutrient management and pesticide credits for state programs.

Amy Shober, associate professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and a Cooperative Extension specialist, said that there were around 275 participants this year and that the school is mostly geared towards technical service providers, nutrient management plan writers and crop consultants who advise farm clientele and need the credits to achieve or renew their certification.

In addition, Jarrod Miller, assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and an extension specialist in agronomy, said that Extension personnel also attend the sessions in order to stay up to date.

“Sometimes you can read papers on certain topics but there’s nothing like sitting in a room with the expert. We get NRCS personnel and representatives from both the Maryland and Delaware departments of Agriculture who show up,” said Miller.

The school features local speakers from regional universities, and also national speakers who talk on topics of national interest.

“Some of the courses are similar to what an undergrad might get at the University of Delaware. It’s basic and applied but other times it’s a recent problem. We have pesticide resistance issues or maybe we’ll have a new method of applying nutrients,” said Miller. “Precision agriculture is a big one so this year we had talks on drones because that’s a newer topic. We also had an economic session which was very popular.”

Other topics covered included salt water intrusion, soil compaction, and managing different pests depending on the crop.

Shober said that the session led by Douglas Beegle, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Agronomy from Pennsylvania State University, on soil acidity and liming was very beneficial.

“He always gives great fundamental talks. Kind of going back to the basics and refreshing everybody’s memories. He gave a great talk this year. I feel like [soil acidity and liming] is a topic that I feel pretty comfortable with and I walked away from that talk with new information,” said Shober.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Jarrod Miller

Delaware Agriculture Week 2018

The Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington will once again serve as the venue for Delaware Agriculture Week, Monday, Jan. 8 through Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. Now in its 13th year, the event draws thousands of attendees — farmers, growers, producers, crop advisors, extension agents and allied agriculture industries from across the Mid-Atlantic region. They will network, listen to the latest research and best practice recommendations, earn continuing education credits, and have an opportunity to visit and meet with more than 90 leading industry exhibitors demonstrating new agricultural technologies and products.

Delaware Ag Week is sponsored by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

“Delaware Ag Week gets better every year, thanks to the important feedback we get from our community on topics they’ve indicated they would like to explore,” said Cory Whaley, University of Delaware agriculture extension agent and chair of the Delaware Agriculture Week planning committee. “Our team works hard to provide valuable information in a format that is both topical and relevant to the needs of our constituents. There is always something new each year.”

Education, networking, best practices the focus of a 13-year tradition, starting Jan. 8The four-day event provides numerous sessions that cover a wide array of topics including presentations by the Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware (FVGAD) on small fruits, fresh market and processing vegetables. New this year, FVGAD is offering a special session on Pesticides, Bee Safety and Value of Forage. Additional sessions include small flock and commercial poultry, grain crops, hay and pasture, beef cattle, tile drainage, risk management, and a special session on soil health and fertility.

Additionally, on Wednesday, Jan, 10, a morning session on “Agriculture and the EPA” hopes to open the lines of communication with the agriculture community and the Environmental Protection Agency. The sessions are taught by Cooperative Extension agents and specialists from UD, as well as from neighboring institutions and leading agriculture industry experts.

In addition to the events held in Harrington, the Delaware Urban Farm and Food Coalition (DUFFC) will host a session “The Power of Food: The Importance of Making Food and Agriculture Systems More Robust and Resilient Through Diversity and Inclusion” on Thursday, Jan. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Delaware Center for Horticulture in Wilmington. Networking and refreshments will begin at 5:30 p.m. General admission fee is $5 and registration is required. For more information, visit the Delaware Center for Horticulture, or contact Carrie Murphy at (302) 831-COOP (2667).

Agriculture is Delaware’s largest economic driver, contributing an estimated $8 billion to the First State’s economy each year according to a University of Delaware study. The success and continued growth of Delaware Agriculture Week reflect both the pride and the value of agriculture in the state.

As with last year’s event, the main meeting area will be located in the Exhibit Hall, with additional meetings in the Exhibit Board Room and Commodities Building. A trade show takes place in the Dover Building. Please visit the Delaware Agriculture Week website for details on the session and to view the program book.

Article and photo by Michele Walfred

Water Symposium participants discuss land use legacy, water quality, and stream restoration

The fourth annual Water Symposium was held on Friday, September 29, at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus in Townsend Hall.

The annual event provides an excellent opportunity for faculty and students affiliated with the interdisciplinary Water Science and Policy (WSP) Graduate Program to present their research, share ideas with peers, and network with professionals from industry, government, and nonprofit organizations. Around 70 people attended the symposium and represented a mix of academia, industry, and government agencies.

The symposium was inaugurated by CANR Dean Mark Rieger, who praised the rapid progress and accomplishments of the interdisciplinary program since its recent start in 2012.

“These are the types of graduate programs that President Assanis would like to see and which meet the vision of the grand challenges of the university,” said Rieger, adding that it was great to see alumni from the program attending and giving back and supporting the program.

Shreeram Inamdar, director of the WSP program, said that “the program is doing very well and is on a strong upward trajectory. The program has graduated 13 students with a 100 percent employment rate.”

Water Symposium participants discuss land use legacy, water quality, and stream restorationStudents who graduated from the WSP program are employed in institutions such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), Maryland Environmental Service, and Skelly & Loy Inc., to name a few.

Inamdar said “the program currently has 23 students that includes the largest incoming class of 13 new students in the fall of 2017.”

It was also particularly noteworthy that all students in the program were fully funded through assistantships, he said.

The plenary talks for the symposium were given by two highly distinguished, world recognized, and widely respected scientists – Dorothy Merritts and Robert Walter, who are professors at Franklin and Marshall University in Lancaster, PA.

Their groundbreaking work on colonial era mill dams and legacy sediments, which was published in the prestigious journal Science in 2008, dramatically changed how scientists see and interpret the geomorphology of fluvial systems in the Mid-Atlantic and eastern U.S.

Their work has been cited widely and they have received numerous awards and recognition for their cutting-edge research.  For example, in 2008 both of them were cited by the Pennsylvania State Senate Resolution 283 for outstanding contributions to stream restoration and water quality improvements in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Water Symposium participants discuss land use legacy, water quality, and stream restorationIn her talk, Merritts highlighted numerous examples of mill dams in Chester and Lancaster counties and how they shaped stream terraces and floodplains in the region.

“There were hundreds and hundreds of mill dams on creeks in this region, in some cases, every 1 to 2 miles along the creek,” she said. They recalled their discovery and how the light bulb went on as they saw the high stream banks immediately upstream of a breached mill dam—Denlinger’s mill—with pronounced horizontal layering of fine streambank sediments.

Walter added “the regular, horizontal layering of fine sediments was not what one would expect in stream floodplains but rather under the quiescent settling conditions in ponded waters.”

Merritts and Walters were able to make this connection and explain the presence of the vertical, eroding, streambanks, a puzzle that had previously eluded many distinguished and well-recognized geomorphologists.

Merritts also pointed to the pre-colonial sediment layers, many feet below the light brown colonial-era legacy sediments that were still apparent along the streambanks. These soil layers included the Pleistocene gravel overlain by a by a dark, organic rich layer, filled with decaying, and in some cases, still intact leaves and organic matter from a bygone era.

Walter discussed the significance of the legacy sediments for contemporary water quality, mitigation and restoration strategies, and management implications for the Chesapeake Bay.

Interestingly, in recent years, Pennsylvania is leading the nation in removal of low head dams.  How erosion of streambank legacy sediments and the removal of mill dams impacts stream sediment loads is a question that still needs to be addressed and is a top priority for the region’s natural resource agencies. Walter presented results from the restoration of legacy sediments that was implemented at Big Spring Run in Lancaster, PA. The restoration involved complete removal of streambank legacy sediments for a selected reach with conversion to a tussock-sedge wet meadow. “This restoration yielded immediate benefits – reduction in stream flow velocities and sediment loads, decreased nutrient concentrations and water temperatures, and enhanced habitat conditions,” he said adding that the Big Spring Run restoration could be one of the models to follow for restoration of landscapes with legacy sediments.

Following the plenary talks, 20 WSP students presented their research through short, 2 to 5 minute talks.  The talks ranged from science topics such as gas fluxes from coastal wetlands and biochar use for water quality, to policy and behavioral science issues such as transboundary water conflicts, and consumer attitudes to drinking water quality. The full program and detailed description of the presentations is available here.

Water Symposium participants discuss land use legacy, water quality, and stream restorationThe last part of the symposium included a panel discussion by WSP alumni in which they presented their personal experiences from the work place and tips and advice to current students.  WSP alums who took time out of their busy schedules to attend the symposium included – Jennifer Egan (PhD, 2015), Kate Hutelmyer (MS, 2014), Alex Soroka, Kelsey Moxey and Richard Rowland (all MS, 2016).

The alums emphasized the need to develop professional connections with industry early and to follow up on job applications but to not panic about the job search.

They also suggested that students make sure they learn valuable tools such as GIS, programming, and statistical techniques. The alums also shared with the current students the new job openings in their companies.

JMP Statistical Workshop Scheduled for November 1

A two-part JMP Statistical Software Workshop co-sponsored by the Biostatistics Core Facility in the College of Health Sciences and the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics will be offered on Wednesday, Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The morning session will take place in the Atrium of the STAR Health Sciences Complex; the afternoon session will be directly across South College Avenue in 132 Townsend Hall. Faculty and graduate students with general interest in JMP capabilities or specific interest in enhancing their statistical skills are invited to register.

Topics covered will range from very basic descriptive summaries to advanced analyses. JMP is a SAS product characterized as a family of statistical discovery tools tailored to meet specific analysis needs. It is visually based, interactive, comprehensive and extensible.

It can be used as a front or back end with R and Matlab, and JMP can create and run SAS code if a SAS connection is set up. JMP is available for free, courtesy of the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, to members of the University Community through UD Deploy and runs on both Macs and PCs.

Since its introduction on UD Deploy in 2012-2013, campus downloads have increased each year, with well over 4,000 in 2017-2018. Ease of use and powerful analytics make it a good choice for teaching and research.

Attend either one or both sessions as you like. Pizza provided for lunch. The sessions will continue in the afternoon in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. We encourage you to download JMP PRO before the workshop if you wish to follow along with the presentation, but this is optional. If you have no prior familiarity with JMP, we encourage you to view the Beginners Tutorial linked from the JMP PRO help menu. Registrants will be sent a link to access data featured during the workshop.

MORNING SESSION – STAR Atrium

10:00     Exploratory Data Analysis and Data Visualization

Featuring Graph Builder and Distribution platforms

Dynamically linked interactive graphics

Root cause analysis

Reporting and Sharing Results – exporting HTML5, Flash

Creating Web Reports and Dashboards

11:00     Decision Trees

Decision Tree – classification for categorical or regression for continuous responses

Bootstrap Forest – averaging many trees (JMP PRO)

Boosted Trees – combining a sequence of small tree (JMP PRO)

11:30     Text Exploration

Visualizing Text Data

Working with the Document Term Matrix

Creating and Modeling with Document and Topic Vectors (JMP PRO)

12:00     LUNCH – free pizza

AFTERNOON SESSION – 132 Townsend 

1:00       JMP as Your Data Hub

Easily get data into JMP – from Excel, Text, Internet & Data Bases without coding

Cleanup messy and missing data – recode, outlier detection, data imputation

Connect JMP with SAS, R, MATLAB

Publish models in Python, C, Java Script, SQL or SAS (JMP PRO)

1:30       Building Better Models Using Robust Data Mining Methods to Prevent Overfitting

Honest Assessment Method – Train, Validation (Tune), and Test Data subsets

For smaller data sets use K-fold cross-validation or Penalization criteria

2:00       Regression Methods

Ordinary Least Squares, Stepwise Regression, Logistic Regression, General Linear Models

Generalized (Penalized) Regression (JMP PRO)

2:30       Neural Networks

Single layer of nodes with sigmoidal HTanh activation function

More flexible dual-layer of nodes plus Linear and Gaussian activation functions (JMP PRO)

Boosted neural network

3:00       Adjourn

For more information, visit the UD events website.

UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to host start of speaker series

The University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) will host a panel discussion entitled “Building a Sustainable Agriculture” on Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Roselle Center for the Arts. The discussion is the first in a series initiated by CANR Dean Mark Rieger, who asked Ed Kee, an executive in residence with the college and former Delaware Secretary of Agriculture, to organize the speaker series.

The event is free and open to the public.

Doors open at 3 p.m. and a question-and-answer period will follow the speakers’ presentations.

UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to host start of speaker seriesThe first panel discussion in the series will feature:

  • Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, who has been nominated to serve as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation
  • Bill Couser, an Iowa farmer who tills more than 5,000 acres, raises beef cattle, has been an early advocate of the ethanol industry in Iowa and the nation, and is a leader in adopting conservation practices that mitigate nutrient loading to Iowa’s streams and waterways

The focus of the series will be farms, food, energy and the environment.

The speakers will address include their background and story, the scope of Iowa agriculture, food versus fuel concepts with regards to ethanol, water quality issues in Iowa that connect similarly with the Chesapeake Bay, challenges to the profitability in agriculture and the importance of Land Grant Universities and colleges of agriculture.

A reception featuring UDairy Creamery ice cream will follow.

Co-sponsors include the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) and the University of Delaware Energy Institute (UDEI).

The speaker series will return in the spring of 2018.

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

University of Delaware Botanic Gardens presents Fall Wreath Workshop

Get in the autumn spirit by making a beautiful fall wreath at the  University of Delaware Botanic Gardens Tuesday, October 10 at 6:00 PM in 102 Fischer Greenhouse, behind Townsend Hall on UD’s south campus.

Craft your own vine wreath—round, oval or freestyle—then decorate with preserved greens, fruits, seeds and flowers, and finish with a colorful ribbon or natural adornment of raffia or burlap. The workshop is $45 for UDBG Friends and $55 for nonmembers. Pre-payment required. Call (302) 831-2531 or email BotanicGardens@udel.edu to register. Minimum of 12 and maximum of 20 participants.

To enjoy exclusive member benefits, join the Friends online at http://ag.udel.edu/udbg/ or contact Melinda Zoehrer at BotanicGardens@udel.edu.

The Gardens are open year round to provide ideas and inspiration, or for a quiet stroll. UDBG contributes to an understanding of the relationships between plants and people through education, research, cooperative extension, and community support.

Fall Fest 2017 Wrap Up

Over 400 members of the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources community gathered on the Newark farm from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, September 7 to take part in the college’s second annual Fall Fest activities.

The event, open to faculty, staff and students in the college, serves as both a celebration of the bounty of the garden and farm, as well as a welcome event for freshman in the college.

CANR Dean Mark Rieger said of the event, “the Fall Fest is our way of welcoming new students to the college and welcoming back our upperclassmen. It builds community and a sense of belonging, and it helps new students to find friends and possibilities for extracurricular activities. I was thrilled with the turnout and student response this year.”

In addition, the event serves as the annual fundraiser for the Sigma Alpha Professional Sorority and CANR student groups are on hand to recruit new members and inform the CANR community about all that they have to offer.

The produced served at the event was provided by the UD Fresh to You Garden and the meat options were from UD raised angus cows. The UDairy Creamery was also on hand to serve their tasty ice cream. The ice cream base comes from the milk the dairy cows produce on UD’s Newark Farm.

View the event photo gallery below.

CANR Fall Fest 2017

Photo Credit: Wenbo Fan

Landscape Architecture program hosts Breaking Urban Landscape Architecture symposium

The University of Delaware’s Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA) program will host a Landscape Architecture Symposium titled “Breaking Urban” from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday, September 29 at the Delaware Center for Horticulture with a tour and reception to follow at the DuPont Environmental Education Center.

The program was organized by students in the Landscape Architecture Symposium course who attended the Longwood Graduate Program symposium and the Pennsylvania-Delaware chapter meeting of the American Society of Landscape Architects to get ideas about how they wanted to organize a symposium of their own.

UD’s Landscape Architecture program hosts Breaking Urban Landscape Architecture symposiumSue Barton, professor and extension specialist in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, said that attending the two different symposiums “gave students, especially attending the Longwood symposium first and relatively early in the process, an idea of what we were striving for.”

Olivia Kirkpatrick, a senior majoring in landscape architecture with minors in horticulture and art, said that once the students settled on the Breaking Urban theme, focused on community engagement in urban design and landscape architecture, it was easier to pull together ideas for speakers.

This year’s speakers include:

  • Jeff Flynn, director of development for the City of Wilmington, who will give a talk entitled “Wilmington as a Sustainable City”
  • Bryan Hanes, founding principal of Studio Bryan Hanes who is also a is a Registered Landscape Architect in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and Indiana and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED Accredited) professional whose talk is titled “Who is this guy?”
  • Karen Washington, a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens who has lived in New York City all her life, and has spent decades promoting urban farming as a way for all New Yorkers to gain access to fresh, locally grown food, will give a talk entitled “An Empty Chair at the Table of Food Justice”
  • Mark Lakeman, a national leader in the development of sustainable public places who has directed, facilitated, or inspired designs for more than three hundred new community-generated public places in Portland, Oregon alone over the last ten years, will give a talk on “Demos and Design = The Best Destiny Ever.”

There will also be a panel discussion moderated by Anna Wik, assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and a registered landscape architect, focused on how and why some landscape architecture projects are successful and others are not.

Kirkpatrick said that she is most looking forward to how the students respond to the symposium.

“We’ve been planning it out and we kind of have an idea of what we want to hear from the speakers or what we’re anticipating but we don’t know exactly how it’s going to happen and exactly how the discussions are going to go so I’m interested to see how our anticipations compare to the actual day itself,” said Kirkpatrick.

Barton added that she is proud of the students for organizing the symposium which is never an easy feat.

The event is open to the public. Tickets cost $125 for individuals and $50 for students. There are also scholarship opportunities for students that attend.

The event is sponsored by the Pennsylvania-Delaware chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Delaware section; UD Career Services Faculty/Staff Career Innovation Grant; Delaware Nursery and Landscape Association; Chanticleer Garden and Larry Weaner Landscape Associates.

For more information, contact Barton at (sbarton@udel.edu) or (302) 831-1375 or visit the symposium website.

Article by Adam Thomas

June 9: Poultry Respiratory Health Seminar

June 9: Poultry Respiratory Health SeminarThe University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources will hold a Poultry Respiratory Health Seminar on Friday, June 9 from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Charles C. Allen Jr. Biotechnology Laboratory in Newark.

The Poultry Respiratory Health Seminar is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Poultry Respiratory Disease Combined Agriculture Project (PRDCAP).

Respiratory diseases continue to be a major concern to poultry producers because losses induced by respiratory diseases have a significant local and national economic impact to the industry.

Protection of poultry by effective prevention and control of diseases is critical to maintain wholesome poultry products, which is the most consumed animal protein in the United States. Such efforts make a significant contribution towards national food security. The PRDCAP is designed to rapidly transfer new science to the field.

Eric Benson, professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS), said that the workshop is “part of a multi-institution combined agriculture project. One of UD’s roles is to link the scientific information being developed in laboratories to the end users, many who would not use refereed publications as an information source.

Speakers from UD will include Benson, Robert Alphin, senior instructor in ANFS and Allen Laboratory manager, Daniel Bautista, senior scientist, Calvin Keeler, professor of molecular virology, and Brian Ladman, scientist and quality manager for the University of Delaware Poultry Health System (UDPHS), part of ANFS.

Other speakers include Jon Moyle and Nathan Tablante from the University of Maryland, Timothy Johnson from the University of Minnesota, and Emily Aston from the University of Georgia.

The program is being run in advance of the Emergency Poultry Disease Response (EPDR) Certificate Course.

To register visit: http://reg.pcs.udel.edu/search/publicCourseSearchDetails.do?method=load&courseId=36094

For additional information on the seminar, contact Eric Benson at 302-275-2131 or (ebenson@udel.edu).

UDairy Creamery opens new storefront in Wilmington

Grand opening ceremony, block party, and ceremonial “first scoop” in recognition of the opening of the first off-campus location for the UDairy Creamery.  (Evan Krape / University of Delaware)

The University of Delaware’s UDairy Creamery officially launched its first off-campus location on Tuesday, May 23, with a block party on the 800 block of Market Street in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, outside the new Creamery Market Storefront.

The two-hour block party had everything from free ice cream, tributes from dignitaries, an elementary school drumline medley, UD cheerleaders, YoUDee and a poetry reading about ice cream from one of UD’s Associate in Arts students.

Over the two-hour time period, the Creamery handed out 1,500 scoops of free ice cream to those in attendance.

UD President Dennis Assanis kicked off the festivities by welcoming everyone to the storefront and stressing how the new Creamery Market will give the Associate in Arts students a hands-on learning experience while also bringing a sweet treat to the city.

“We are proud to share with you not only our ice cream but also our students,” Assanis said. “At the University of Delaware, we say that students are our product and ice cream is just the byproduct. We are really thrilled that our students from our Wilmington Associate in Arts Program around the corner are going to be the people who will be the part-time employees involved in the production and serving of the ice cream.

“We also don’t just scoop the ice cream here, we actually make it,” he continued. “Experiential learning is a very big part of what we teach our students at the University of Delaware, and it’s all about hands-on learning, literally, and you will be the beneficiaries of the application of the learning today.”

Delaware Gov. John Carney said the revitalization of the city of Wilmington was of the utmost importance to his administration and getting attractions like the University of Delaware on the Market Street Mall will help the city to be successful.

“We need some ice cream downtown number one, and we need business here on the Market Street Mall,” said Carney. “We’ve been working since I was sworn in as your governor three and a half months ago on doing everything that we can to strengthen the neighborhoods in our city, to strengthen our central business district and to make Wilmington strong and vibrant again. You are the folks that are going to make it happen by coming down here on the Market Street Mall, so thank you for coming today.”

Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki, a 1967 UD graduate, said it is truly exciting to have the Creamery in Wilmington, both because ice cream is an admitted guilty pleasure and it is a unique attraction for the city.

“Everybody wants the city to grow in big leaps and bounds, but the city grows in small increments of quality,” Purzycki said. “It’s the small things that make a city great. It’s the little individual things, the things that are special that nobody else has that make your city great, and we welcome you with open arms.”

Michael Hare, senior vice president of the Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG), said his firm couldn’t be prouder to have UD as a partner. BPG has been the driving force behind the revitalization of downtown Wilmington and its historic Market Street corridor. The firm partnered with UD to bring the Creamery to Wilmington and owns the site where the Creamery Market Storefront is located.

UDairy Creamery opens new storefront in Wilmington“The key to getting people to want to work in Wilmington, to want to live here, is to add amenities for our residents who are already here and to make this a compelling city is to bring exciting attractions to our city, and this is an exciting attraction,” said Hare. “We in the city have been working for years to expand the University’s footprint, and I can’t think of a more delicious way to do that. On behalf of the lactose-intolerant in our community, myself included, this is a risk worth taking.”

Hare noted that his uncle majored in agriculture at UD and milked the cows on UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus. He said it was a privilege to watch the “full trajectory of cow to cone now that this ice cream is in Wilmington.”

CANR Dean Mark Rieger highlighted the UD students who helped put together the business plan for the Creamery Market Storefront, specifically Keith Medwid, a senior majoring in food and agribusiness marketing and management and the assistant manager intern at the creamery.

“Keith Medwid worked at the Creamery on campus for two years, and he is going to go on to a wonderful career in agribusiness or food science because of his experience in the Creamery,” said Rieger. “The reason that we’re here, and the product of that place across the street is a better educated student.”

Rieger also thanked Melinda Shaw, director of Creamery operations, LeeAnne Ahamad, manager for the Creamery’s Wilmington location, Jen Rodammer, manager of UDairy’s Newark location, and Grace Wisser, CANR event coordinator, for all their work with the Creamery and with putting the opening event together.

Associate in Arts student workers

The new location provides a great job opportunity for many students in the University’s Associate in Arts program.

“It’s my first real day and I already love it,” said Ameerah Taylor, a rising freshman planning to major in early childhood education.

She and her fellow co-workers agreed that UDairy’s willingness to work with their schedules made their lives a lot easier.

Other perks of the job include free ice cream, getting to suggest new flavors and camaraderie.

Derek Simpson, a rising freshman planning to major in biology, said that he had taken classes with some of his co-workers, but working with them in this setting was already bringing them closer together. “When you’re producing ice cream, you get to know people,” Simpson said.

Blaise Cristello, a sophomore planning to major in criminal justice, said that he was most excited to see what new flavors come out of the new location. While he could not disclose the new ones, he was happy to serve the new flavor that had been created for the grand opening: 8th and Market, which was inspired by the new UDairy location and consisted of chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookie swirls and mini-marshmallows.

Medwid said that he is excited to see the impact that the new UDairy Creamery will have.

“I think it’ll be good to get fresh food in here because we’re going to be selling UD produce,” Medwid said. “And I think it’s just a more welcoming face,” he added.

More than UD produce, the creamery will be selling locally sourced foods with a menu that will include grilled cheese using bread from local bakeries and eventually cheese that will also come from UD, cheeseburgers, and salads that feature UD’s produce.

UDairy Creamery opens new storefront in Wilmington
Elbert-Palmer Elementary School drumline also was on hand for the event, playing an impressive set

Poetry contest and drumline

The UD Associate in Arts Program held an ice-cream themed poetry contest in conjunction with the event.

The winners were Christian Wills, first place, and runners-up Nolan O’Neill and Daniel L.L. III.

Wills read his winning poem, “Creamery Sensation,” to the crowd ending with the line: “Every cup, every cone, we make it with pleasure, In hopes that you love our ice cream we treasure.”

The Elbert-Palmer Elementary School drumline also was on hand for the event, playing an impressive set that included everything from classical music to a royal-themed contemporary line-up of hits from Prince, Queen and Michael Jackson.

Article by Adam Thomas and Anne Grae Martin

Photos by Evan Krape and Wenbo Fan

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

May 23: UDairy Creamery sets block party on Market Street to celebrate new storefront

UDairy Creamery sets block party on Market Street to celebrate new storefront May 23The University of Delaware’s UDairy Creamery will host a block party on the 800 block of Market Street in Wilmington to celebrate the opening of its new UDairy Creamery Market storefront from noon-2 p.m., Tuesday, May 23.

Free ice cream will be available during the two-hour window, and there will be entertainment, including an ice cream-themed poetry reading by UD Associate in Arts Program students.

The downtown Wilmington location, located at 815 North Market Street, directly across the street from Wilmington’s Grand Opera House and managed by LeeAnne Ahamad, is the UDairy Creamery’s first off-campus location.

Students from UD’s Associate in Arts Program will operate the new UDairy Creamery Market, making the ice cream on site from locally sourced milk, serving customers, supervising the storefront and developing the marketplace into a sustainable business.

In addition to the creamery’s ice cream products, honey, wool blankets and other items produced by UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources will be available for purchase. The farm-to-table menu will include burgers, gourmet grilled cheese, salads and other items straight from the University’s organic garden.

The University partnered with Wilmington-based developer Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) to develop the project. BPG owns the site and supported a student-run feasibility study to assess the viability of a creamery marketplace.

Just like its sister location in Newark, UD students will staff the UDairy Creamery Market, gaining exposure to food science and business management practices.

Students will have a very short commute from their UD Associate in Arts Program courses, held both at UD’s Downtown Center, just around the corner, and on the Delaware Technical Community College campus a few blocks away. More than 400 Associate in Arts Program students combined attend classes at the two campuses in downtown Wilmington.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

UD’s Webb Farm hosts 22nd Envirothon high school competition

Delaware students to compete in state Envirothon on April 27 at CANR webb farmHigh school students from throughout the state of Delaware descended on the University of Delaware’s Webb Farm to take part in the 22nd Envirothon, a team-based outdoor academic competition.

The competition challenges high school students’ knowledge and practical application of aquatic ecology, forestry, soils and land use, wildlife, air quality, special environmental topics and public speaking.

This year’s special topic was “Agricultural Soil and Water Conservation Stewardship” and the students traveled from four ecostations to explore horse and sheep pastures and the Cool Run tributary, and work on their public speaking in the Webb Farm stable.

The goal of Envirothon is to prepare students to be future leaders in environmentally related careers, and provide knowledge about the environment. The competition provides experience in real world situations, which fosters sound decision making, problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Rick Mickowski, a conservation planner and public outreach coordinator for the New Castle Conservation District and chair of Envirothon, said the event provides students valuable hands-on learning opportunities.

“This gives the students a real-life experience out in the field, putting into practice what they’ve been learning through training workshops and in school and after school activities and it gives them the opportunity to be out on a working farm to answer questions about the environment,” said Mickowski. “It gives them a taste of what it’s like to be out in the real world and interact with resource professionals that do that work for a living.”

Mickowski thanked Larry Armstrong, farm manager in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Scott Hopkins, farm superintendent, and all the farm staff for preparing Webb Farm for the event.

Sponsored by the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts (DACD), a voluntary, non-profit association that coordinates conservation efforts statewide to focus on natural resource issues identified by Delaware’s three local districts, the Envirothon offers students monetary awards for higher education and commendable effort.

Twenty-one teams, consisting of five students each, competed to rank in one of the top four spots, which offered students more than $3,000 in college scholarships and special team awards combined. In addition, cash awards totaling approximately $2,200 were given to the top seven teams.

The winning team was Charter School of Wilmington Team A, marking the school’s 18th win in the event’s 22-year history, including an unbroken winning streak since 2002. Middletown FFA finished second and Charter School of Wilmington Team B finished third.

The 21 competing Envirothon teams worked hard all school year to prepare for the event. Each team identified samples, took measurements and answered questions on various topics and also had to give a seven to 10-minute oral presentation on a scenario utilizing the nine steps of conservation planning to identify resource concerns and best management practices of a cropland and poultry farming operation.

Each member of the winning team earned a $500 scholarship from the Delaware Envirothon, a $100 gift card and other prizes. The winning team will also receive an award plaque for their school and will represent Delaware at the National Conservation Foundation North American Envirothon at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmittsburg, Maryland, at the end of July.

The second, third and fourth place teams received more than $1,670 in special team awards and cash prizes.

Prizes in the form of gift cards and ribbons were awarded to the top seven teams.

The official Envirothon results were:

First place: Charter School of Wilmington, Team A – Siddharth Gangrade, Catherine Yu, Connor Sweeney, Allen Wang, and Ashley Pennington. Team advisers: Rose Lounsbury and Greg Darone.

Second place: Middletown High School FFA – William Nylander, Ariana Gaston, Joshua Housler, Timothy Mulderrig, and Sara Collins. Team adviser: Jeff Billings.

Third place: Charter School of Wilmington, Team B – Adraitha Anne, A.J. Yuan, John Garcia, Elan Tran and Pooja Kaji. Team advisers: Rose Lounsbury and Greg Darone.

Fourth place: Peach Blossom 4-H Club – Oliver Menard, Lida Gannon, Reese Yost, Leslie Webb, Maci Carter, Drew Harris (alternate) and Adam Collier (alternate). Team adviser: Elaine Webb.

Fifth place: Charter School of Wilmington, Team C – Nicole Flowerhill, Tara Lennon, Eddie Huang, Priyanka Hoskere, and Harshitha Henry. Team advisers: Rose Lounsbury and Greg Darone.

Sixth place: A.I. du Pont High School, Team Clean Coal – Jan Castro, Mackenzie Crossley, Bethany DeGrotto, Julia Szymanski, Rachel Widom, Alicia Chen (alternate) and Sophie Girke (alternative). Team adviser: Amy Huebner.

•  Seventh place: MOT Charter, Mustangs Team A – Viktoria Brown, Shannon Hanggodo, Vishnusundar Somasundaram, Shachi Shah, Jalen Williams. Team adviser: Michelle Guenther.

Since its inception, the Delaware Envirothon has awarded $55,000 in scholarships to 110 students.

For more information about the Delaware Envirothon, visit the website or contact Rick Mickowski at 302-832-3100, ext. 8979.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Wenbo Fan

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Crowds gather to view agriculture, natural resources exhibits at superhero-themed Ag Day

Crowds gather to view agriculture, natural resources exhibits at superhero-themed Ag DayOne of the warmest Ag Day celebrations on record was also one of its most well attended as an estimated 7,000 visitors flocked to the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus to take in bird shows, bee demonstrations, livestock exhibits, 4-H arts and crafts, farm tours, plant sales, and much more.

Mark Rieger, CANR dean, welcomed the crowd to Ag Day and said that the event is all about celebrating “food, fun and agriculture and natural resources. We really appreciate the community coming out, and we do this for you.”

Rieger recognized Keith Medwid, a CANR senior who chaired the Ag Day student planning committee, and also Grace Wisser, CANR event coordinator, for the key roles they played in organizing Ag Day.

Talking about the history of the event, Rieger spoke about Dave Frey, professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, and how he and Paul Sammelwitz, a department colleague and emeritus faculty member, started Ag Day 42 years ago.

Rieger also plugged the UDairy Creamery’s new location on 815 North Market Street in downtown Wilmington, which will have a block party with free ice cream from noon-2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, to celebrate its opening.

“The reason we’re doing that is we’ve had so much success with this creamery – 250 to 300 students have worked here, we’ve probably sold over a million scoops of ice cream, and we’re going to extend the same opportunity to the students in the Associate in Arts Program in the city of Wilmington. They are University of Delaware students and we’re taking a branch of the UDairy Creamery to them,” said Rieger.

This year’s Ag Day had a superhero theme, highlighting how the research and teaching efforts of the faculty and staff members at CANR are of extraordinary importance as they try to figure out ways to feed the world and protect the planet.

As part of the superhero theme, the first 300 kids who attended the event were given free capes and superhero cutouts adorned the lawn in front of Townsend Hall.

The entertainment stage was a big draw this year as, in addition to the band’s Frisco and Eclectic Acoustic, crowds gathered to watch a UD Swing Dance Showcase, the Agricultural College Council’s Pie in the Face fundraiser in which Rieger and other professors and staff members participated, CANR trivia, and an improv showcase courtesy of Riot Act.

Another popular aspect of Ag Day was the Center for Experimental and Applied Economics (CEAE) asking attendees to participate in four separate research studies. Those who took part were paid in cash for their participation or given a coupon to the UDairy Creamery for a free ice cream cone and by the end of the day CEAE had 1,529 research observations, an all-time high and up from around 750 last year.

Continuing at Ag Day this year was the popular Recipe Contest, which was started in 2015 by Christy Mannering, communications specialist at CANR.

The winners of the recipe contest included:

  • Stephanie Anderson – First place with Tomato Peach Bruschetta. The first place prize is a 50-pound voucher for canning tomatoes, 20-pound box of mixed vegetables, a jar of honey, an Ag Day T-shirt and UDairy Creamery items.
  • Nathan Thayer – Second place with Can’t Beet Local Burger. The second place prize is a 20-pound box of mixed vegetables, a jar of honey and an Ag Day T-shirt.
  • Karin Pleasanton – Third place with Zucchini and Lettuce Boat California Rolls. The third place prize is an Ag Day T-shirt and UDairy Creamery items.

In addition to Medwid, the 2017 Ag Day student planning committee was made of up of Kelly Holland, Julie Leznar, Andrew Mason, Michelle McEnroe, Melody Walkiewicz, Amanda Obosneko, Alexis Omar, Natalie Zelenky and Natalia Ziemecki.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Wenbo Fan

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources opens second high tunnel greenhouse

UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources opens second high tunnel greenhouseRepresentatives from the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), Cooperative Extension and Rimol Greenhouse Systems held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, April 13, to officially open a new high tunnel greenhouse donated to the University by the company.

The high tunnel, a state-of-the-art growing space greenhouse designed with practicality, sustainability and year-round opportunities for education in mind, is the second one on UD’s CANR campus provided by Rimol and will double the amount of indoor growing space available to offer hands-on learning opportunities and fresh produce to both students and the Delaware community.

CANR Dean Mark Rieger began the ceremony by thanking Rimol and highlighting how Mike Popovich, farm manager at CANR, uses the high tunnel to offer a farm-to-chef model with some of the produce grown on the farm going to local Delaware restaurants.

Rieger also spoke about how he teaches a class in the high tunnel, which is a big benefit as the growing season doesn’t always coincide with the school semesters.

“The only way that we could do that is by having some kind of protected cultivation because our students are here in the fall and the spring; they’re really not here in the summer when we could do it outside. Last fall for example we were in the high tunnel growing broccoli, cauliflower and kale all the way through to Thanksgiving and it wouldn’t have been possible without that,” said Rieger. “I’m personally benefiting from this, the college is benefiting from this, and the state of Delaware will benefit as well from the engagement and the kinds of demonstrations that we’re going to be doing out of these tunnels.”

Rieger also thanked the donors who help fund student interns who get hands-on experience growing food in the high tunnels and on the farm.

Bob Rimol, owner of Rimol Greenhouse Systems, said that he has fond memories of Delaware and highlighted the importance of partnerships between private and public sector institutions.

“When Mark and I started talking about this opportunity, I saw the enthusiasm with Mark and with Mike and we know what Delaware is capable of doing, and I’ve always been a big believer in supporting educational institutions,” Rimol said. “We’re all focused on these two high tunnels today but it just doesn’t stop here. We want to support you all the time in educational workshops. This is a great opportunity for you as educators to help growers, help students, help the whole industry that we’re trying to make better.”

Rimol added, “Eating right starts with fresh produce. This is an example of locally grown, healthy fresh produce, and when you can teach more and more people on how to do it — whether it’s urban agriculture or the family farm — we’re all going to benefit.”

Michelle Rodgers, associate dean and director of Cooperative Extension, thanked Rimol for the donation and highlighted how the high tunnel will enable extension agents to offer more courses that will benefit the community.

“This is a Cooperative Extension dream to have an opportunity for real life, hands-on experience. Extension is really into experiential learning and putting research we’re generating into the hands of the people who are going to use it,” said Rodgers.

Rodgers highlighted how Carrie Murphy, agriculture program leader, had already used the high tunnels for a beginning farmer class. The class brought together a diverse group of growers with varying levels of experience and allowed for networking opportunities among the participants, who shared their experiences and learned from one another inside the high tunnel.

“We have a lot of interest, particularly in this county, around urban agriculture and what we can do to expand and work in the area of food security and local food needs, and being able to help people to know different ways that they can do that,” said Rodgers, adding it will be beneficial “having them come here, whether it’s kids learning about where their food comes from or adults learning to use local resources to produce food for people in the communities.”

Rodgers also talked about how the high tunnel will allow extension to teach about urban gardening and urban food production, as well as to expand on already existing workshops for industry members and farmers.

“We can do some more things concerning production in terms of soil health and also the latest research around high tunnels that we can share and bring to Delaware for agricultural production. We are very enthusiastic about what we think we can do and how this really enriches our opportunity to partner with other organizations and reach out,” said Rodgers.

The event featured UDairy Creamery ice cream and was catered by Grain Craft Bar and Kitchen.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Wenbo Fan and Christy Mannering

This story can also be viewed on UDaily.

University’s Ag Day solidifies entertainment lineup

University’s Ag Day solidifies entertainment lineupThe University of Delaware’s annual Ag Day event invites community and collegiate organizations to educate over 8,000 visitors on the agriculture and natural resources industry. Entering its 42nd year on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the student-run event is working to attract more attention to the stage with a diverse list of performers.

“This is a chance to bring life to our stage on Ag Day,” said Nat Ziemecki, a senior majoring in pre-veterinary medicine and animal biosciences who is serving as this year’s Ag Day entertainment chair. “It’s an opportunity to draw in people to the entertainment portion of the event — something that may not have been as popular in years past.”

Riot Act and Swing Dance Club at UD, Frisco, WVUD and Eclectic Acoustic will be the featured performers on April 29.

Riot Act is one of the improvisational comedy groups at UD. Although performances are typically long-form, play-like narratives, they plan to use Ag Day as an opportunity to involve the audience with shorter skits.

Declan McLaughlin, senior and three-year improv veteran of Riot Act, said he is comfortable performing in front of large crowds but that Ag Day will be a new atmosphere.

“The group is really excited to have a full hour block because normally we get about 10 minutes and it’s difficult to get through all the material with the time limit placed on us,” McLaughlin said. “This is an opportunity to try some stuff we normally wouldn’t have the freedom to try out.”

The Swing Dance Club at UD, another first-time Ag Day performer, will bring traditional swing dance to beginners and experts alike. The group travels to Baltimore and Philadelphia for performances in ballrooms, outdoor venues and also hosts jazz social events on campus. For Ag Day, the dancers will perform their own pieces and hope to teach audience members a few moves as well.

Originating from Newark, Frisco’s indie rock band is comprised of four male musicians. Frisco is no stranger to the Ag Day stage, as they have performed at this event last year. Frisco plans to cover songs in addition to playing new, original material.

WVUD, “the voice of the University of Delaware,” brings non-commercial, educational radio programming to its listeners. WVUD is operated by staff, students and community members who bring various musical interests to the table for people of all ages to enjoy.

The Eclectic Acoustic duo, Ruthie Toole and Jack Bartley, cover popular 1970s and ’80s songs at coffeehouses and country clubs in the Newark area. The Ag Day stage will be a new performance venue for the duo.

The entertainment line-up is as follows:

• 10-11 a.m., WVUD DJ

• 11:15-11:45 a.m., UD Swing Dance Showcase

• Noon, Dean’s welcome

• 12:15 p.m., recipe contest announcement

• 12:30 p.m., “Pie in the Face” Ag College Council fundraiser

• 12:45 p.m., Play to Win – UD trivia for prizes

• 1-2 p.m., Frisco

• 2-3 p.m., Riot Act improv troupe

• 3-4 p.m., Eclectic Acoustic

“I am grateful to be part of the revitalization of the entertainment programming,” Ziemecki said. “My first year on the Ag Day planning committee has been an amazing experience and I can’t wait to see it come together.”

Ag Day is a full day of family fun and brings in thousands of people from neighboring towns of Newark to enjoy all aspects of the event in addition to entertainment including botany, horticulture, animal science, entomology, various demonstrations and local eateries.

Article by Michelle McEnroe

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

UD Botanic Gardens celebrates 25 years of spring plant sale

UD Botanic Gardens celebrates 25 years of spring plant saleThe University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (UDBG) will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its annual spring plant sale, offering up a wide array of trees, shrubs, perennials and tropical/tenders, as well as a great selection of tomatoes and sweet and hot peppers.

In each of the past 25 years, the UDBG spring plant sale has explored a featured woody plant group that has included popular species and cultivars as well as unusual and rare variations.

For its silver anniversary sale, UDBG reflects on a quarter century of great plant groups that make it easier for the home gardener to compare and contrast a plant’s merits, gaining a greater understanding of how they vary and how to choose plants for the garden.

The sale kicks off Wednesday, April 26, with the UDBG patron reception from 4:30-6 p.m., and Members’ Day is scheduled Thursday, April 27, from 3-6 p.m. The sale is open to the public on Friday, April 28, from 3-6 p.m., and Saturday, April 29, from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., which coincides with Ag Day.

The sale, held on the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus on South College Avenue, raises funding for graduate students and interns for the gardens, as well the operating budget.

It also serves as an educational opportunity for the whole UD community, offering plants that the general public might not necessarily be familiar with, while having knowledgeable staff and volunteers available to answer questions.

Greatest hits

Since 1994, the sale has had a featured woody plant, and in 2016, a featured herbaceous plant was added. This year will be a cumulative “greatest hits” of plant sales past, from Abelia to Viburnum.

Each plant sale is also commemorated with a colorful T-shirt, and most of the featured plants have been illustrated and printed onto those shirts, with shirts from past years displayed behind the cashiers’ table at the plant sale as an ode to the longevity of the sale.

John Frett, professor of landscape horticulture in CANR and director of the UDBG, said that it is interesting to see how some of the plants have changed over the years. Vacciniums (blueberries and cranberries), for instance, have new cultivars and selections that weren’t around when they were first featured in 2003.

“We can take the Vacciniums from back in 2003, but also add onto them and build on the selection,” said Frett.

Growing garden

The spring sale, which draws thousands of visitors to the UDBG, has come a long way in its 25-year history. When it began, Frett said that it wasn’t even called the “plant sale,” and he was just handing out plants from the back of his truck in an attempt to raise funds for the garden.

The first year, I think I gave them away, and then I think there was a year or two where I had 100 of one thing and sold them for a dollar a piece. It was very, very small. I can’t remember what really kicked it into gear, but after the first year, it’s increased ever since,” he said.

While the first year had a plant list and the third one evolved to a booklet of plants, the plant sale now has a color catalog that is available in a hard copy exclusively to UDBG Friends and is available online for anyone to peruse or print at home.

The catalogue provides plant information and images and has a strong educational component in addition to raising funds to support the gardens.

Much like the catalog, the UDBG itself has evolved, now encompassing 15 acres featuring 3,000 species and cultivars of perennials, shrubs and trees, where plant and wildlife-related studies are pursued through experiential learning.

Originally a collection of plants used mainly for plant identification classes, it now includes an ecological component with the introduction of the Lepidoptera Trail and the Wetland Gardens, as well as demonstration gardens.

“The garden’s role in course work has increased dramatically. We’re supporting over 35 courses right now — many within the college, but several from across the University,” said Frett. “The way the garden is used has also changed and the garden’s use in research has increased.”

Frett said UDBG’s primary goals are serving and supporting the needs of the University, as well as educating and inspiring the public. They are the gardens of the University of Delaware, first and foremost. Any interaction and visitation is strongly encouraged,” said Frett.

UD Botanic Gardens celebrates 25 years of spring plant saleFeatured plants

The plants featured at the plant sale include those grown by UDBG, often from propagating unusual plants in the gardens’ extensive collection, and others brought in from nurseries across the United States. Frett is careful to select plants that aren’t widely available at box stores, and he also strives to obtain plants that won’t compete with those available at surrounding nurseries.

Valann Budischak, the gardens’ volunteer and education coordinator, said that while the herbaceous plants are a bit easier to grow to feature at the plant sale, having a featured woody plant is a complex process that can require years of preparation.

“(Frett) is thinking several years out as far as what would be the featured plant…they come from far and wide,” said Budischak.

‘Plant Geek Party’

One of the things that keeps the plant sale growing and thriving year to year is the effort put forth by UDBG volunteers.

“We have 80-some volunteers that help pull the sale off and that’s just during the actual sale hours. That doesn’t include the many volunteers that help prep and pot throughout the year. Really, they’re the blood, sweat and tears behind the whole thing,” said Budischak.

Budischak said that it’s great to see the volunteers who are from diverse backgrounds and age ranges interact with one another.

“I looked out this morning and saw a senior and a freshman interacting with two retirees, one of whom was a UD librarian – just talking about anything and everything. It’s really neat to see those relationships form,” said Budischak.

Donna Lee Gerst, publicity and plant sale assistant at the UDBG, added that the volunteers are a great pipeline and knowledge source.

“We’ve had several student volunteers who continue to come back even though they’ve moved on from the University. It’s a tribute to the program that Valann runs, that they want to come back and hang with this group of people. We have Master Gardeners in the volunteer group that have been gardening for 50 years, and there’s an awful lot of knowledge in these folks,” said Gerst.

As for her favorite part about the plant sale, Budischak said that it is great to reconnect with old friends as the sale attracts many repeat customers—from students who bought their first plant for their dorm window freshman year and return throughout their UD career, to professionals from across the region who know the diversity, quality and, often times, rarity of the plants available.

“It really is a ‘plant geek’ party. We try to make every experience here beneficial: You learn something, you have a good time, you make some friends and you work hard. The plant sale is a great time. We are blessed to have many local horticultural organizations whose staff jumps in and helps the UDBG by lending their expertise for the sale,” said Budischak.

Become a UDBG Friend online to enjoy Members’ Day shopping and other exclusive member benefits.

 Article by Adam Thomas
Photos by Wenbo Fan and Valann Budischak
This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

April 7-9: Annual Lawn Mower Tune-Up

CANR to host annual community push lawn mower tune-up serviceOver the last 16 years, the University of Delaware’s Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) fraternity for agriculture and the Blue Hen Racing Club have serviced more than 8,000 lawn mowers at their annual push lawn mower tune-up.

Last year, the groups serviced over 500 mowers.

The lawn mower tune-up will be held once again this year on Friday and Saturday, April 7-8, at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus with pickup on Saturday and Sunday, April 8-9.

The drop-off time for Friday, April 7, is 2 p.m.-8 p.m.

The drop-off time for Saturday, April 8, is 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

The pick-up time for Saturday, April 8 is 1 p.m.-6 p.m. for the first 300 mowers taken on Friday.

The pick-up time for Sunday, April 9 is 8 a.m.-2 p.m. All mowers must be picked up by 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The tune-up is provided by trained students and alumni members of the clubs and includes washing the mower, an oil change, spark plug replacement, air filter cleaning and blade sharpening.

Service performed is tune-up only; no repairs are performed and no riding mowers will be accepted.

The cost of the tune-up is $38. Payment in the form of cash or check may be made at drop-off. Checks should be made out to Alpha Gamma Rho.

Lawn mowers may be dropped off and picked up in the parking lot behind Worrilow and Townsend halls on UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources campus at 531 South College Ave., just north of the Fred Rust Ice Arena.

For more information, contact Seth Furbush at sethfurb@udel.edu or call the AGR Fraternity at (302) 519-1768.

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

March 8: Interfaith UD group to host hunger awareness dinner for campus community

An interfaith group of University Delaware students from Lutheran Campus Ministry, Episcopal Campus Ministry and Presbyterian Campus Ministry, among others, will host a Hunger Banquet at 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 8, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on South College Avenue.

The event is free and open to the public. Those who plan to attend are encouraged to RSVP to guarantee a spot, though individuals will be accepted at the door.

The goal of the dinner is to raise awareness about food insecurity world-wide, and the event will feature speakers and interactive events.

Spencer Hoernes, a senior majoring in food science in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that the groups are hoping to “show what actual bare bones poverty is like and to bring awareness to the issues throughout the night through conversations.”

Funds raised at the event will go to Oxfam International, a global movement of people working together to end the injustice of poverty, and Blue Hen Bounty, a new campus-area food pantry led by UD’s Episcopal Campus Ministry that is designed to help students who are food insecure themselves. The pantry is fully stocked with canned meats, fruit and vegetables; various grains and single-serve meals; cereal, snacks and condiments; assorted beverages; and even basic toiletries such as shampoo and toothbrushes.

Cash or food donations for Blue Hen Bounty food pantry are appreciated but not required.

For more information on the dinner, visit the Facebook page or contact Hoernes at shoernes@udel.edu.

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

March 3: Daylong symposium sponsored by UD’s Longwood Graduate Program

Registration remains open for an annual symposium on Friday, March 3, hosted by the University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. It will bring together experts in economics, public policy, advocacy and researchers affiliated with public and historic gardens.

The symposium, “Growing Together: Gardens Cultivating Change in the Economic Landscape,” will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Longwood Gardens Ballroom.

Seven sessions and a panel discussion will explore how public gardens can influence local and regional economies while advancing their organizations. Registration is $119 for professionals, $59 for full-time students with ID from any institution and $35 to join the symposium via an online webinar. For details, see the symposium website.

Sponsors include UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Longwood Gardens, and the Parvis Family Endowment.

Yoram Bauman, dubbed “the world’s first and only stand-up economist,” will kick off the event, blending humor about economics and politics with economic trends affecting gardens and museums.

“We are pleased and excited to offer a broad range of topics relating public gardens to economic change,” said Tracy Qiu, a fellow in UD’s Longwood Graduate Program. “The symposium will explore different perspectives of gardens as economic drivers. For example, Ethan Conner-Ross, director of Econsult Solutions Inc., will share the results of the report The Economic Impact of Greater Philadelphia Gardens. The study offers key takeaways, including implications for arts organizations seeking optimal ways to calculate and communicate their economic impact effectively.

“Participants will also learn about how Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, South Carolina, changed their business structure over three centuries of political and economic changes. Sandra Albro of Cleveland Botanical Gardens will share how they revitalize the beauty and productivity of vacant urban lots.”

Brenna Goggin, director of advocacy for the Delaware Nature Society, will discuss how nonprofit organizations, nature centers and gardens can cultivate relationships with key decision makers while educating members on the budget process.

Karen Washington — a community activist, owner of Rise and Root Farms, and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens — will address the question, “Is community gardening a gateway towards gentrification?” She will examine the challenges of urban renewal and greenspaces through the lens of policy, race and economics.

Washington, Albro, and Marnie Conley, vice president of marketing and communications at Longwood Gardens, will lead a panel discussion on strategies that public garden professionals can apply to become more involved beyond their immediate organizations and within their communities.

Andrea Kee will speak about the 21st-century Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, where she is assistant director of plant introduction and health. She will share the story of Singapore’s “City in a Garden” vision, which spans 101 hectares of prime land in the heart of downtown, and its economic impact.

“This symposium is a unique opportunity for UD students, garden professionals and the public,” said Qiu, who helped organize the event. “Many people aren’t familiar with public horticulture, but it’s a fantastic mashup of people and plants. This area is rich in gardens. There are about 30 gardens within 30 minutes of Philadelphia. Even on the UD campus, we have the UD Botanic Garden — 12 gardens over 15 acres maintained by staff, students, and volunteers.”

About the Longwood Graduate Program

The Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture is a partnership between Longwood Gardens and the University of Delaware. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the field of public horticulture.

This two-year, thesis-based fellowship program emphasizes experiential learning, project management, and leadership. Since its inception in 1967, graduates have served in upper management and directorial positions around the world. For more information, visit the website.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

University of Delaware Master Gardeners offer a day of learning

March 11: March to the GardenThe University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners will offer a “March to the Garden” workshop from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Saturday, March 11, at the New Castle County Cooperative Extension Office, located at 461 Wyoming Road in Newark.

Master Gardeners are volunteer educators who distribute research-based information from UD and the horticulture industry to home gardeners.

The workshop will be a day of learning with mini-workshops, displays, giveaways and food. The day will also provide an opportunity for participants to network with other local gardeners.

“March to the Garden” will feature topics such as basic pruning, lawn care solutions, soil health and composting and hummingbird gardening, among others. The topics will be presented by Master Gardener experts.

Additional Master Gardener experts and resource tables will feature the teaching gardens at the Extension office and other lawn and garden services and projects including soil testing, plant diagnostics, and the Master Gardener home landscape visitation program.

Registration is $55 if registered by Feb. 15.

For more information, visit the Cooperative Extension website or contact Carrie Murphy, extension educator and Master Gardener coordinator, at cjmurphy@udel.edu or 302-831-COOP.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

2017 Delaware Agriculture Week offers information on best practices, new technologies

The 2017 Delaware Agriculture Week will be held Jan. 9-12 in Harrington, offering information on best practices and new technologies in the industryLast year at Delaware Agriculture Week, nearly 3,000 agriculture stakeholders learned best practices and new technologies, networked with leading industry vendors and experts and met with other agricultural producers.

This unique opportunity returns for its 12th year as the 2017 event will open on Monday, Jan. 9, and runs through Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington, Delaware.

“What has become a 12-year tradition, Delaware Agriculture Week continues to grow in impact,” said Cory Whaley, University of Delaware agriculture extension agent and chair of the Delaware Agriculture Week planning committee. “We’re pleased to offer fresh, practical and topical sessions that matter to our farmers, growers, crop advisers and industry. Our planning committee and team of experts and guest speakers have once again created a dynamic agenda to meet the needs of our stakeholders.”

The four-day event provides numerous sessions that cover a wide array of topics including small fruits, fresh market and processing vegetables, woodland management, small flock and commercial poultry, grain crops, hay and pasture, beef cattle, irrigation, direct marketing and a special session on soil health.

A risk management session on retirement and succession planning will be featured. Nutrient management, pesticide, and certified crop adviser continuing education credits will be offered. The sessions are taught by Cooperative Extension agents and specialists from UD, as well as from neighboring institutions and leading agriculture industry experts.

In addition to the events held in Harrington, the Delaware Urban Farm and Food Coalition will host a session “Feel the Pulse of Delaware’s Urban Agriculture Community” on Thursday, Jan. 12, from 6-8 p.m. at the Delaware Center for Horticulture in Wilmington. This session will engage in discussion focused on local school and community gardens, urban farming, and corner store efforts. Networking and refreshments will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The event is free, but registration is required. For more information, visit the website or contact Carrie Murphy at 302-831-COOP.

Delaware Ag Week is sponsored by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture is an $8 billion industry in Delaware according to a 2010 University of Delaware report that factors in agriculture jobs and related production, goods and services that support the largest industry in the First State.

As with last year’s event, the main meeting area will be located in the Exhibit Hall, with additional meetings in the Exhibit Board Room and Commodities Building. A trade show with 89 exhibitors will take place in the Dover Building.

The Delaware Ag Week website features a listing of daily sessions as well as the 2017 program book, available for download. There is no fee to attend.

Article and photo by Michele Walfred

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UDBG’s Frett to discuss seasonal color in herbaceous perennials

UDBG’s Frett to discuss seasonal color in herbaceous perennialsThe University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (UDBG) will hold a winter mini-series on seasonal color in herbaceous perennials on Wednesday evenings, Jan. 11, 18 and 25 at Townsend Hall.

John Frett, director of UDBG and professor of landscape horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will look at spring, summer and late summer/fall perennials.

Perennials add excitement and diversity to the landscape or garden as they burst into flower each year. Some feature colorful foliage in addition to beautiful flowers, while others add architectural and multi-season interest.

Mini-series classes will meet from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in 132 Townsend Hall on the University’s South Campus. In the event of snow, classes will be held Thursday evenings.

Registration and prepayment are required. Those interested in attending are asked to mail BotanicGardens@udel.edu or call 302-831-2517 to reserve a spot.

The cost is $25 per class for UDBG Friends and $35 per class for non-members.

To enjoy exclusive UDBG Friends benefits, join the organization online or contact Melinda Zoehrer at BotanicGardens@udel.edu.

The gardens are open year round to provide ideas and inspiration, or for a quite stroll.

UDBG contributes to an understanding of the relationships between plants and people through education, research, Cooperative Extension and community support.

Santa Claus to make festive holiday stop at UDairy Creamery

Santa Claus to make festive holiday stop at UDairy CreameryDuring this busy holiday season, Santa Claus will make a stop at the University of Delaware’s UDairy Creamery from 3-6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 19.

Those who stop by on Monday will be able to meet and get their picture taken with Santa as well as try some of the creamery’s seasonal treats. Children under 12 years of age will also get a free scoop of ice cream.

New ice cream flavors available for the holidays at the UDairy Creamery include peppermint hot chocolate, black forest cake, eggnog, gingerbread house and peppermint bark. The creamery is also offering special holiday kits featuring everything needed for an ice cream party.

For those looking for last minute holiday presents, the UDairy Creamery is still offering Blue Hen Blankets, made from the wool shorn from UD’s flock of Dorset sheep at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, as well as Dare to Bee honey from UD’s apiary and UDairy Creamery hats, shirts, toy cows and gift certificates that can be used at the creamery or the GoBabyGo! Café in the Health Sciences Complex at the Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus.

The creamery also has UD Angus beef patty burgers for sale at $10.25 for a four-pack.

The creamery is open year-round but will be closed from Dec. 24 through Jan. 2.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Internationally known ecologist to speak on invasive species

Noted ecologist Daniel Simberloff of the University of Tennessee will discuss the effects of biological invasive species on the environment in a talk Nov. 14 at UD.
Noted ecologist Daniel Simberloff of the University of Tennessee will discuss the effects of biological invasive species on the environment in a talk Nov. 14 at UD.

Noted biologist and ecologist Daniel Simberloff will discuss the effects of biological invasive species on the environment with his talk, “Shoot First and Ask Questions Later: Progress, Problems, Promise and Polemics in Managing Biological Invasions” at 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 14, in Clayton Hall on the University of Delaware campus in Newark.

A reception in the lobby will begin at 4 p.m., followed by the lecture at 5 p.m. in Room 125.

This event free and is open to the public.

The seminar is sponsored by the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, housed in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Simberloff is the Nancy Gore Hunger Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Tennessee. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1964 and doctorate in 1968 from Harvard University and was a faculty member at Florida State University from 1968 through 1997, when he joined the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee.

“Dr. Simberloff is an ecologist with an international reputation,” said Jake Bowman, chair of UD’s Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology. “He continues to challenge our thinking about major ecological issues. His recent work is landmark. I look forward to hosting him and him sharing his inspiration and knowledge with our students. Then to follow that with a public seminar is a great honor for UD.”

Simberloff’s publications number approximately 500 and center on ecology, biogeography, evolution and conservation biology. Much of his research focuses on causes and consequences of biological invasions.

His research projects are on insects, plants, fungi, birds and mammals. He is editor-in-chief of Biological Invasions, senior editor of the Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions (2012) and author of Invasive Species: What Everyone Needs to Know (2013), and is a member of the editorial board for several other journals.

Simberloff served on the U.S. National Science Board 2000-06. In 2006 he was named eminent ccologist by the Ecological Society of America, in 2012 he won the Margalef Prize for research in ecology, and in 2015 he won the Wallace Prize of the International Biogeography Society.

He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Article by Michele Walfred

Originally posted on UDaily

Symposium considers water quality, climate change, environmental education

Symposium considers water quality, climate change, environmental education
Featured speaker Diane McKnight (center) with water science and policy graduate students (from left) Dan Warner, Chelsea Krieg, Diane McKnight, Erin Johnson, and Jordan Hockman Martin.

The third annual Water Symposium was held on Friday, Sept. 30, in Townsend Hall on the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus.

The annual event provides an opportunity for faculty and students associated with the interdisciplinary water science and policy (WSP) graduate program, which is spread across multiple departments and colleges at UD, to come together to present their research and share ideas.

The symposium included a plenary talk by Diane McKnight, an internationally-renowned water expert, short five-minute talks by WSP graduate students, and an open forum on how to further enhance water and environmental education at the University.

The symposium was opened by CANR Dean Mark Rieger, who highlighted the importance of water quality for agriculture and food production in the Delmarva region. Rieger emphasized the importance of understanding climate variability because it has significant consequences for crop yields, farming practices and the economic wellbeing of the agricultural community.

Rieger said that this year was an excellent example of such variability, with a wet and cold spring followed by a hot and dry summer that posed challenges for crop growth, irrigation and crop harvest. As per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this July and August have been the hottest months on record, and if trends persist, this year could be the warmest year on record.

Rieger applauded the strong progress and accomplishments of the WSP program and said that such multi-college and multi-departmental interdisciplinary partnerships were key to solving environmental problems. The dean said UD President Dennis Assanis is a strong supporter of such innovative and interdisciplinary programs, adding that the WSP program provides an excellent example of how such programs can succeed at UD.

Shreeram Inamdar, director of the WSP program, provided a quick update indicating that the program, which started in 2011, is doing very well and moving ahead by leaps and bounds.

Inamdar said that the program did particularly well this past year with 18 graduate students, eight of whom successfully completed their master of science degrees. He said this success resulted in the permanent approval of the WSP master of science degree program in the spring of 2016.

The program also graduated its first doctoral candidate, Jennifer Egan, this summer.

Inamdar said that the program continues to attract highly qualified and motivated students. It only recruits students that are fully funded and supported by adviser grants and assistantships. This fall, four new students joined the WSP program.

Plenary talk

The plenary talk for the program was presented by McKnight, a professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder and a fellow at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), who is internationally recognized for her research on water quality of aquatic ecosystems.

McKnight’s talk was sponsored by four departments and programs, including WSP and UD’s departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Geography and Plant and Soil Sciences. The talk was attended by nearly a 100 people from across and beyond the University.

McKnight is a founding principal investigator of the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. She is also an elected member of the National Academy of Engineers (NAE).

In her talk, McKnight discussed some of the water quality challenges posed by acid mine drainage in the Rocky Mountains and by climate change in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. She said that legacy contamination associated with historic, abandoned mines posed a threat not only to the water quality of Rocky Mountains streams but also impacted sensitive and fragile aquatic habitat in the alpine streams.

For a scientist who has visited Antarctica 23 times, she said it was a new learning experience every time.

Despite the isolated and harsh environment and time-limited and difficult working conditions in Antarctica, McKnight and her research team have been successful in recording the changes in chemistry and ecology of polar streams at the bottom of the world. She said she jumped at the opportunity to study in Antarctica since it provided one of the only places in the world where aquatic/stream organic matter was derived primarily from microbes as there are no plants or other terrestrial sources in this frozen landscape.

Directing her attention to the students, she said that they should never hesitate to take up such unique and exciting challenges because they will learn more from such experiences that take them out of their comfort zones.

Student presentations

Following the plenary talks, current WSP students provided quick 5-7 minute talks on their research. Research presentations covered a wide range of topics including extreme storms and water quality, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and urban runoff.

For example, Erin Johnson and Chelsea Krieg discussed how extreme storms associated with hurricanes and tropical depressions could flush sediments and associated nutrients into streams; Dan Warner and Margaret Capooci emphasized the need to study GHG emissions from soils, vegetation, and coastal marshes; and Joe Brown highlighted the benefits of using biochar as a soil amendment to improve soils and reduce surface runoff in urban landscapes.

Since some of the new WSP students had yet to define their research projects, they spoke about what attracted them to the WSP graduate program. Jordan Hockman-Martin, who graduated in the spring 2016 from UD’s environmental engineering program, said she was especially attracted to the WSP program because of its novel focus on both the science and policy aspects of water. She said very few graduate programs address both of these important issues simultaneously. Linking science and policy issues is critical to developing sustainable solutions for today’s water challenges, she said.

At the end of the symposium, faculty and students had an informal dialogue about how to further enhance the WSP program and strengthen the linkages and partnerships with working professionals in industry, state and federal governments, and non-profit organizations.

One of the ideas that was mentioned was developing an “environmental boot camp” which would be designed and taught by working professionals — with assistance from UD faculty — with the intention of providing critical missing skills and tools for UD students.

The rationale was that with such skills and tools, UD students could hit the ground running when hired by employers and consulting firms in the region. The boot camp would also benefit working professionals and employees to learn alongside UD students.

WSP’s first doctoral graduate, Egan, who is currently employed with Skelly and Loy, an engineering and environmental consulting firm, has agreed to identify the needs for such a boot camp and has already sent out surveys seeking input and participation from employers and industry in the Mid-Atlantic region.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Emergency poultry disease response workshop considers biosecurity, rapid reaction

Emergency poultry disease response workshop considers biosecurity, rapid reactionAccording to Vimbai Michael Magaisa, the most vulnerable birds when it comes to avian influenza (AI) in his hometown of Montclair, South Africa, are ostriches. And while there aren’t as many ostriches in Delaware as there are in his home country, Magaisa still learned helpful tools and important lessons about how to manage the disease and other poultry afflictions at the 2016 Emergency Poultry Disease Response Certificate Program workshop held at the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) from June 20-24.

Magaisa, who works as a veterinarian responsible for a municipality and heard about the CANR program through an email from a friend, was one of 20 international participants who attended the certificate program, now in its eighth year.

Magaisa said that having participants from many different countries was beneficial as it allowed them to get a wide range of perspectives on the poultry industry.

“With the interactions, you get to understand other perspectives that you might not see in your own situation but that might help you in applying some of the concepts that we are learning. We’ve got quite a diverse group and we are learning from each other,” said Magaisa, who added that he plans to keep in touch with the other participants through email and the program’s Facebook group.

Magaisa said the program was very beneficial and also a memorable experience.

“We got to visit a broiler farm, which was an eye opener. The establishment is quite big and some of the procedures were quite new to me. Then we went through to a processing plant that was also awesome. It was just out of this world,” Magaisa said.

Having to deal with several layer farms and a great number of broiler farms, as well as backyard chickens, Magaisa said that everything in the course was useful but perhaps the most beneficial aspect was the importance of surveillance of a disease — such as Newcastle disease or AI — and how to control the disease once it has emerged.

With regard to the state of Delaware and the UD, Magaisa said there were a lot of friendly people and that “the weather is also very friendly, considering where I’m coming from.”

On the first day of the program, participants got to hear from and ask questions of U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) who spoke about the importance of the poultry industry in the United States and specifically in Delaware, where in Sussex County more broiler chickens are grown than in any other county in America.

Coons also spoke about his experience working with U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Republican from Georgia, to help bring the first American poultry in more than 15 years to South Africa.

“The University of Georgia from his home state does a great deal of education and outreach but no one does a better job than the University of Delaware,” Coons said. “I think it’s a wonderful thing that you’re able to spend a week with us and get concrete, relevant, hands-on training from the people who have responded to the avian influenza outbreak in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest, and you can hear from us how we coordinate between industry, government and non-profits at a grassroots level and at a statewide level to make sure that we are monitoring, that we are responding, that we are training. I hope you will also bring your knowledge to us and if there’s contributions you care to make, criticisms or questions about how we do it, we welcome that as well.”

Coons said he believes poultry can play a major role in providing protein for a hungry and fast-growing world population.

“Chicken is much more environmentally sound, easier to scale and a more accessible protein for a hungry world and particularly, a rapidly growing Africa. I think poultry has enormous potential but if all we do is grow more poultry in the United States and export it to the rest of the world, I think we will have failed because there are billions more hungry people than are currently being fed,” Coons said, adding, “We should grow the poultry industry in Senegal, in South Africa, in Kenya, in Nigeria, in partnership and learn that way from each other because AI will affect the whole world if we do not manage it, maintain it, control it and poultry can benefit the whole world if we coordinate.”

The program was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) in conjunction with UD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Studies and is part of a combination of science-based training programs provided by CANR and the Avian Biosciences Center (ABC) to help Delaware’s national and international emergency disease response capability.

The program was led by Eric Benson, professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS); Jack Gelb, professor and director of the ABC; Robert Alphin, instructor in ANFS and manager of the University’s Allen Laboratory; Soma Chakrabarti, director of Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS); Patricia Allen, project manager in PCS; and Dan Hougentogler, research associate in ANFS.

The participants spent five days learning about the avian influenza virus, disease surveillance and outbreak response and control, among other topics.

The training program also presented and utilized the “Delaware model,” which emphasizes close cooperation between government, industry and educational institutions to manage avian influenza outbreaks with best management practices and technologies related to controlling outbreaks of avian influenza and other diseases.

The participants were able to listen to experts from across the country and Canada with lectures on specific topics — such as the current status of avian influenza in wild birds and how to effectively manage live bird markets.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Wenbo Fan

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UD faculty to lead international conference on impacts of extreme climate events

UD faculty to lead international conference on impacts of extreme climate eventsAn international conference on the impacts of extreme climate events on aquatic biogeochemical cycles and fluxes will be convened by a group that includes two faculty members in the University of Delaware’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences from Jan. 22-27, 2017, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The special meeting — which is being organized in part by Shreeram Inamdar, professor of plant and soil sciences, and Thomas Parr, a postdoctoral scientist in the department — has been selected as an American Geophysical Union (AGU) Chapman Conference.

Chapman conferences are highly selective conferences that push the boundaries of science and advance current understanding. Other conveners include Bill McDowell of the University of New Hampshire, Elizabeth Minor of the University of Minnesota, James Shanley of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Vermont, and Ji-Hyung Park of the Ewha Womans University in South Korea.

The conference will bring together leading scientists from across the world to address the most challenging questions and concerns associated with extreme climate events — tropical storms and hurricanes, thunderstorms, heat waves, droughts, ice storms, snowstorms and/or northeasters, unexpected frost/freeze events, and tornadoes — and how they impact aquatic ecosystems worldwide.

A total of 100-125 selected scientists are expected to attend the meeting.

Inamdar was recently awarded a $50,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the meeting, funds that will be valuable for organization and travel support for the attendees. Additional funding is being sought.

Extreme climate events, or ECEs, have increased and are projected to further increase in intensity and frequency across the United States and the world.

Scientists and policy makers are extremely interested in determining how these events might impact streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries, bays and other vulnerable and valuable ecosystems. The recent problems that Hurricanes Irene (2011) and Sandy (2012) posed to the Mid-Atlantic and parts of coastal New Jersey and New York are excellent examples of these challenges.

Heat waves are also on the increase worldwide. July 2015 was the warmest month on record for the Earth dating back to January 1880 and the year 2015 was the warmest on record by a clear margin, surpassing the previous record set just the year before.

According to the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO), globally, 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. In the United States, December 2015 was both the warmest and the wettest on record. These trends suggest that extreme climate events might be the new normal.

This meeting will be unique because participants will synthesize the current state of knowledge, develop conceptual and mechanistic models that will advance the science, explore new directions for experiments, measurements and modeling studies, and determine how science can help shape mitigation, management and restoration strategies for aquatic systems subject to ECEs.

Specifically, this special conference will focus on water-driven exports of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in particulate, dissolved and gaseous forms from terrestrial to aquatic ecosystems.

It will also focus on changes in biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in aquatic ecosystems during and following ECEs and changes in aquatic ecosystem functions and services as a result of extreme events.

The meeting will address several key questions such as how extreme weather events are defined, what has been learned from past extreme events, what the long-term consequences of extreme weather events are on aquatic ecosystems and how extreme events influence the export, transport and cycling (or transformation) of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus along the aquatic continuum extending from the source/headwaters to the sea.

The meeting will also address how extreme weather events alter ecosystem structure, functions and services, examine the coupled impact of land use (current and legacy) and extreme events, and consider if existing land management strategies and restoration paradigms work for extreme weather events.

These questions will be addressed through invited talks, presentations, discussions, and synthesis papers that will be generated from the meeting.

A field visit midway through the meeting will be planned for the Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory  located in Luquillo Mountains of northeastern Puerto Rico, about 35 kilometers east of the conference location in San Juan. The intent is to visit the sites impacted by hurricanes Hugo (1989) and Georges (1998) and learn about the changes in watershed and aquatic ecosystems following these extreme events.

Participants will also visit watershed and stream sites currently being studied by the critical zone observatory and investigate the sampling and monitoring strategies in place and how well these strategies are poised to capture the impact of any future hurricanes or other ECEs.

Student participation at the meeting will be especially encouraged and faculty and students from the University of Delaware who are interested in attending are encouraged to contact Inamdar at Inamdar@udel.edu for further information.  Travel funds may be available on a selected basis.

Additional information will soon be available on the conference pages on the AGU Chapman Conference website. Abstract submissions will be accepted and registration will be held this fall.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

CANR to host annual community push lawn mower tune-up service

CANR to host annual community push lawn mower tune-up serviceOver the last 15 years, the University of Delaware’s Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) fraternity for agriculture and the Blue Hen Racing Club have serviced more than 7,500 lawn mowers at their annual push lawn mower tune-up.

Last year, the groups serviced over 500 mowers.

The lawn mower tune-up will be held once again this year on Friday, April 15, and Saturday, April 16, at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus with pickup on Saturday and Sunday, April 17.

The tune-up is provided by trained students and alumni members of the clubs and includes washing the mower, an oil change, spark plug replacement, air filter cleaning and blade sharpening.

Service performed is tune-up only; no repairs are performed and no riding mowers will be accepted.

The cost of the tune-up is $38. Payment in the form of cash or check may be made at drop-off. Checks should be made out to Alpha Gamma Rho.

Lawn mowers may be dropped off and picked up in the parking lot behind Worrilow and Townsend halls on UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources campus at 531 S. College Ave., just north of the Fred Rust Ice Arena.

For more information, contact Jason Morris at jcmorris@udel.edu or 302-388-7475.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

UD Botanic Gardens to host spring plant sale preview, walk

UD Botanic Gardens to host spring plant sale preview, walkThe University of Delaware Botanic Gardens will hold a spring plant sale preview on April 7 and a guided walk on April 13 at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources campus on South College Avenue in Newark.

The benefit plant sale will be held April 29-30.

The plant sale preview will be held from 7-9 p.m., Wednesday, April 7, in the Townsend Hall Commons. Speakers will be John Frett, UDBG director, and Robert Lyons, retired professor of plant and soil sciences and a highly respected expert in horticulture.

They will present beautiful images, stunning specimens and a lively discussion of the extraordinary plants that will be available at the plant sale.

Frett will lead a guided walk through the UDBG grounds to see landscape-sized specimens of the plants that will be offered at the sale from 4:30-6 p.m., Wednesday, April 13. Participants will meet at the Fischer Greenhouse Entrance on Roger Martin Lane.

The cost for each event is $5 for UDBG Friends and $10 for nonmembers. Space is limited for the guided walk and those who plant to participate must pre-register. To reserve a spot for either or both of these events, call 302-831-2531 or email BotanicGardens@udel.edu.

Before joining the faculty at UD, Lyons held the JC Raulston Distinguished Professor Chair in Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University and served as the director of the renowned JC Raulston Arboretum. From 1981-98, he was professor of horticulture at Virginia Tech and co-founder and director of the university’s horticulture gardens.

Currently, Lyons is cultivating and enjoying his home garden and heads the advisory boards of UDBG and Rutgers University.

The UDBG plant sale catalog is available online.

UDBG Friends enjoy an exclusive day to shop at the sale from 3-6 p.m., Thursday, April 28.

Plant sale general admission is from 3-6 p.m., Friday, April 29, and from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 30, which also is Ag Day. Admission is free.

To enjoy other exclusive member benefits, join the UDBG Friends online, contact Melinda Zoehrer at 302-831-0153 or write to BotanicGardens@udel.edu.

Photo by Robert Lyons

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Second annual Farm-to-Table Recipe Contest set for Ag Day

Second annual Farm-to-Table Recipe Contest set for Ag DaySubmissions are now being accepted for the second annual Farm-to-Table Recipe Contest that is held in conjunction with the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Ag Day event, taking place this year from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, April 30, on the grounds of Townsend Hall.

The goal of this recipe contest is to develop recipes that offer delicious ways of creating healthy dishes using fresh ingredients that are preferably locally grown.

“We’re accepting submissions for recipes that are healthy and use as many fresh vegetables or fruits as possible,” said Christy Mannering, web developer at UD who is organizing this year’s recipe contest. “SustainAGbility is the theme of Ag Day 2016 and therefore we want the recipe contest to reflect how people can eat healthy with food grown locally.”

Judges from UD Cooperative Extension’s Family and Consumer Sciences staff will be looking for recipes that offer delicious ways of creating fresh, healthy dishes. Judging will be based on completeness of the application — meaning all information must be included — appearance, simplicity of preparation and the use of a variety of fruits and/or vegetables as ingredients.

Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners. Those who are selected award winners must be on hand at Ag Day to receive their prizes.

Awards will include mixed vegetable gift baskets from UD Fresh to You, a jar of Dare to Bee Honey from the UD apiary and assorted items from the UDairy Creamery.

The mixed vegetable gift boxes from “UD Fresh to You” will be given to the winners in the form of an IOU ticket as the vegetables will not be ready on April 30. The winner will be given a ticket and the winner’s contact information will be shared with “UD Fresh to You” staff.

CANR faculty and staff are not eligible to enter the contest.

Each person may enter only once and the contest ends on Friday, April 15.

For more information, visit the Ag Day recipe contest website.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources announces Ag Day date

Ag Day, an annual tradition of the University of Delaware's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources featuring informational displays and exhibitions, will be held on Saturday, April 30.
Ag Day, an annual tradition of the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources featuring informational displays and exhibitions, will be held on Saturday, April 30.

Ag Day, an annual tradition of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at the University of Delaware, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 30.

The theme of Ag Day 2016 is “SustainAGbility: Doing What Nature Would Do.”

Members of the campus community and the surrounding community are encouraged to join the college for a day filled with music, exhibitors, great food and fun on UD’s South Campus.

Celebrating all that the college has to offer, visitors can experience everything from bird shows to bee demonstrations, livestock exhibits, 4-H arts and crafts, farm tours, plant sales, and much more.

At this year’s Ag Day, the UDairy Creamery will also be celebrating its fifth birthday.

The event will be held at CANR’s Townsend Hall, located at 531 South College Avenue in Newark. Both admission and parking are free and the event is open to the public.

The Food Bank of Delaware will also be on hand accepting donations of non-perishable food items.

Ag Day is family friendly, however, for the safety of the live animal demonstrations, organizers ask that all pets be left at home.

Registration for exhibitors and vendors is now open and runs until March 21. Registration is available on the Ag Day website.

The website also features additional information, announcements, and schedules, and will be updated as the event approaches.

AGcelerate to host college wide photo contest

AGcelerate to host college wide photo contestThe University of Delaware’s AGcelerate Enrichment Program will host a photo contest for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff members in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).

The theme of the contest is diversity and with CANR representing a diverse array of people and cultures, ecologies and educational fields, the college-wide contest challenges participants to capture the essence and diversity of the CANR community.

There are three categories to enter: people and cultural diversity, ecological and animal diversity, and diverse fields of study. All photography skill levels are acceptable and photos can be taken from smart phones or any type of camera.

To enter the contest, participants must submit photos to the AGcelerate website.

Eligible photos must have a minimum resolution of 1980 X 2340 and must be original, unedited work taken within the past year.

Voting will take place April 5-11 through an online ballot sent to all CANR students, faculty and staff members. The online voting form will display the photos from each category asking voters to nominate a first, second and third place photo from each category.

The first, second and third placer winners from each category will be announced following the voting. Selected photos will be enlarged and placed throughout Townsend Hall.

About AGcelerate

The AGcelerate Enrichment Program provides a supportive environment to promote the academic success, leadership development, and career preparedness for students in all majors of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Participants develop a broad skill set and a close network of friends and mentors to ensure success both during and following their time at the University of Delaware.

The AGcelerate Enrichment Program offers tailored support for academic and professional success of students through:

  • Academic development and support
  • Math and chemistry tutoring on South Campus
  • Faculty and peer mentoring
  • Career and internship exploration
  • Social and service learning activities

For more information, visit the AGcelerate website.

UD to host seventh North American Duck Symposium in Annapolis

UD to host seventh North American Duck Symposium in AnnapolisThe University of Delaware’s Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology will host the seventh North American Duck Symposium from Monday, Feb. 1, to Friday, Feb. 5, at the Westin Annapolis Hotel in Annapolis, Maryland.

The conference is held every three years and this will mark the first time the symposium has been held in the Atlantic Flyway, one of four primary North American bird migration routes.

“It’s a huge honor to bring this conference to the Atlantic Flyway for the first time,” said Chris Williams, associate professor of wildlife ecology and leader of the Waterfowl and Upland Gamebird Program. Williams won the bid to host the conference on the Atlantic Flyway and is giving the opening remarks and, along with graduate students, presenting multiple papers at the conference.

“About 350 waterfowl and wetland biologists from throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and even Europe and Asia will attend to talk about the state of waterfowl ecology and management. Additionally, by hosting the conference here, it will bring attention to the Atlantic Flyway’s waterfowl conservation and management issues,” Williams said, adding, “It’s a big deal for our region and the University of Delaware.”

The conference will bring together academic researchers and students, government officials, non-government conservation organizations, and industry representatives to address shared priorities for waterfowl and wetland conservation and management.

Morning plenary speakers will be followed by concurrent sessions on key topics such as a 100-year retrospective look at waterfowl management and research, better connecting waterfowl research to successful management, integrating modern population estimation into management decisions, and implementing the 2012 North American Waterfowl Management Plan for successful conservation into the future.

Also, there will be sessions dedicated to breeding biology, migration ecology, winter ecology, foraging, physiology, diseases and contaminants.

Other conference sessions will examine techniques for determining population status and trends, population dynamics, survival and recruitment, migratory pathways, critical habitats and management options.

The conference will also feature two evening poster sessions, workshops and special sessions in response to a call for proposals.

A field trip is planned to view the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge Research Center waterfowl colony where multiple research efforts are conducted, including one by Jake McPherson, a UD graduate student who is estimating the energetic expenditure of multiple behaviors of American black duck and lesser scaup.

There will also be a forum at which students will present their research in oral and poster formats, gain professional experience, and network with professionals from around the world.

To register for the symposium, visit the North American Duck Symposium website.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

11th annual Delaware Agriculture Week to be held at fairgrounds in Harrington

11th annual Delaware Agriculture Week to be held at fairgrounds in Harrington Jan. 11-14Approximately 2,000 agriculture stakeholders will learn best practices and new technologies, network with leading industry vendors and experts and meet with other agricultural producers at the 11th annual Delaware Agriculture Week to be held from Monday, Jan. 11, to Thursday, Jan. 14, at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington, Delaware.

“We are again looking forward to this year’s Delaware Ag Week. Individual session chairs have done a great job pulling session topics and speakers together,” said Cory Whaley, University of Delaware agriculture Extension agent and Delaware Ag Week chair. “This is a great event where attendees can get continuing education credits, visit with friends, and interact with local vendors.”

The four-day event provides numerous sessions that cover a wide array of topics including small fruits, fresh market and processing vegetables, small flock and commercial poultry, grain crops – with wheat quality and marketing being this year’s focus in a special evening agronomic session – hay and pasture, beef cattle, irrigation, and marketing.

A risk management session on retirement and succession planning will be featured. Nutrient management, pesticide and certified crop adviser continuing education credits will be offered.

Also as part of Delaware Ag Week, the Delaware Urban Farm and Food Coalition will host Meredith Lathbury Girard, a senior program officer with the Town Creek Foundation, who will give a talk on “A Regional Strategy for the Mid-Atlantic Food System” from 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 14, at the Delaware Center for Horticulture in Wilmington. Networking and refreshments will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The event is free, but registration is required. For more information, visit this website or contact Carrie Murphy at 302-831-COOP.

Delaware Ag Week is sponsored by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture is an $8 billion industry in Delaware according to a 2010 University of Delaware report that factors in agriculture jobs and related production, goods and services that support the largest industry in the First State.

As with last year’s event, the main meeting area will be located in the Exhibit Hall, with additional meetings in the Exhibit Board Room and Commodities Building. A trade show, with more than 80 exhibitors, will take place in the Dover Building.

The Delaware Ag Week website features a listing of daily sessions as well as the 2016 program book, available for download.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

UD Botanic Gardens to present series on regional native trees, shrubs

The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens will present a four-part winter mini-series on “Regional Native Trees and Shrubs” in January.

Led by John Frett, UDBG director, the series will focus on the cultural and aesthetic attributes of the region’s native woodlands and how they may fit into the home landscape.

There will be three lectures from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Wednesdays, Jan. 13-27, in 132 Townsend Hall on UD’s South Campus in Newark.

The Jan. 13 lecture will consider canopy trees, the Jan. 20 lecture understory trees and the Jan. 27 lecture shrubs. In the event of snow, lectures will be held Thursday evening.

There also will be an outdoor laboratory, a guided walk through White Clay Creek Preserve from 9-11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 23, that will provide an opportunity to see specimens in the wild and discuss their identification more fully.

Meeting location for the White Clay Creek walk will be provided when people register.

Registration and prepayment are required, and those who register for three days will get the fourth free. The cost is $25 per day or $75 for the series for UDBG Friends and $35 per day or $105 for the series for nonmembers.

Email botanicgardens@udel.edu or contact Sue Biddle at 302-831-2531.

The gardens are open year round to provide ideas and inspiration, or for a quiet stroll.

UDBG contributes to an understanding of the relationships between plants and people through education, research, Cooperative Extension and community support.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Upcoming seminars provide insight into poultry career opportunities

The University of Delaware will host a Poultry Careers Seminar Series throughout October geared towards students interested in a career in the poultry industry.

The seminars will all take place at 6 p.m. in room 101 of the Allen Laboratory and will provide students an opportunity to speak directly to employers offering internships, management trainee programs and full time positions. A free dinner will be offered before each seminar and there will be drawings for two $50 Barnes and Noble gift cards for students who attend more than 2 seminars.

The next seminar will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 7 and will focus on learning about management training programs and what companies are currently hiring.

Speakers include Ronnie Phillips, who works in human resources for Mountaire Farms, a diverse and fast growing poultry and agricultural business which partners with local farming communities to raise chickens and grains to feed them, and Leah Snyder Santiago, a UD alumnus and assistant manager at the International Standard of Excellence (ISE) America’s table egg complex in New Jersey. ISE America is a totally integrated egg laying and production operation and sets the International Standard of Excellence in egg production.

Additional seminars will be on Tuesday, October 13, and Thursday, October 22.

Presenters at these seminars will include representatives from Perdue Farms, Cobb-Vantress, the Phibro Animal Health Corporation and more.

There will also be information about a travel opportunity to Atlanta, Georgia in January 2016 to attend the largest international poultry and agribusiness trade show at the United States Poultry Foundation’s College Student Career Program, which is held in conjunction with the International Production and Processing Expo.

The program will allow students opportunities to interview with 25 regional, national and international poultry and agribusiness companies and organizations while having the opportunity to network with over 1,200 companies.

The Expo is expecting more than 25,000 attendees from all over the globe and most student travel expenses including transportation, hotel room and some meals are covered with it only costing students $75 to participate in the career program and trade show.

To apply, students must submit a 1-2 page essay of why they would like to participate in this program. Students need to have a minimum GPA of 2.0 and include their major and their expected month and year of graduation. The essay should be in Arial 12-point font, double-spaced and students should also include a copy of their resume.

Applications must be submitted by Wednesday, October 15 at 5 p.m.

Students interested in attending any of these seminars are requested to log into their Blue Hen Career account to RSVP for the Seminar Series or RSVP to Diane Venninger at dvenning@udel.edu for each individual seminar so that food can be planned accordingly.

Please submit essays and resumes as a Word or PDF file to Venninger at dvenning@udel.edu.

CANR to host lecture on pathogen research by NIH’s Kindrachuk

The University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources will host Jason Kindrachuk, a staff scientist with National Institutes of Health (NIH) Critical Care Medicine Department, as he gives a talk titled “Science Under (Negative) Pressure: The Trials and Tribulations of Emerging/Re-Emerging Pathogen Research from the Lab to the Hot Zone,” at 4:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 19, in the Townsend Hall Commons.

Kindrachuk will discuss the limitations of working within a high-containment research laboratory and his work studying emerging and re-emerging high-containment viruses with an emphasis on incorporating novel methodologies for dissecting the pathogenic mechanisms of these viruses and identifying novel therapeutic strategies.

He will also discuss the events that facilitated the rapid spread of Ebola virus disease (EVD) throughout West Africa, response efforts within the region during the outbreak, his personal experiences working within the heart of the EVD outbreak in Liberia in September 2014 and perspectives for limiting future outbreaks of this magnitude in impoverished regions.

Kindrachuk earned his doctorate at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. His current research integrates the use of kinome analysis and systems biology to carry out investigations of host-pathogen interactions with emerging and re-emerging viral pathogens such as Ebola virus, variola virus (the etiologic agent of smallpox), monkeypox virus and influenza A viruses, among others. He is also investigating the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis in viral and bacterial co-infections.

Kindrachuk recently served as a scientific lead for diagnostic support of the Centers for Disease Control/Department of Defense joint operations in Monrovia, Liberia, in support of the international response efforts for EVD outbreak.

The lecture is being organized and hosted by Ryan Arsenault, assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Second annual UD water symposium focuses on science, policy

2015 water symposium, water science and police graduate program at Townsend Hall University of DelawareUniversity of Delaware students and faculty, as well as professionals from industry, government and non-profit organizations, gathered in the Townsend Hall Commons on Friday, Sept. 25, as part of the second annual Water Science and Policy Symposium.

Donald Boesch, professor of marine science and president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, served as the plenary speaker for the event and addressed his experiences with a talk titled “Science and Policy in the Chesapeake Bay: The Long-Haul and the Tight Crunch.”

Boesch discussed the physical characteristics of the bay and how those characteristics that define its vulnerability — such as shallow waters, unique shoreline dimensions and a drainage catchment that includes six states — are also what make it such a productive ecosystem.

Boesch said that when studying the Chesapeake, it is important to understand the bay beyond its geological history. “Humans have always had some impact on the Chesapeake Bay, even the small populations of Native Americans in terms of local resources, but it really started to grow substantially with the advent of the migration of the large number of Europeans into North America,” he said.

This impact was mainly through deforestation.

“When they used the landscape to grow tobacco and other crops, they were making it change from being a clear water, nutrient limited system that is still highly productive to one that is now turbid and eutrophic, which has more nutrients, one that is highly productive but doesn’t necessarily lead to the same kinds of outcomes in terms of higher trophic levels,” said Boesch.

Boesch pointed out some of the scientific pioneers who have studied the Chesapeake Bay, including L. Eugene Cronin, who conducted research on the blue crab beginning in the 1950s; Bill Hargis, who was the director of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science from its founding in 1959 until 1981; and Don Pritchard, who studied the bay for 50 years and discovered that it contains two layers of water — lighter fresh water on top and salty water along the bottom.

He also pointed out statistics, such as how the oyster population of the bay is less than one percent of historic levels due to loss of habitat and filtration capacity.

Boesch said that industrial agriculture as part of the Green Revolution had an impact on the Chesapeake, as did Hurricane Agnes in 1972, which he said was like a “big flush” that brought drought-like conditions to the area.

He also said that in recent years, models have been used to estimate how much phosphorous and nitrogen is entering the bay but that the models must confront reality and that it is essential to bring together models and observations to make an adaptive management cycle to help the body of water.

Boesch stressed that when working on science with regard to the Chesapeake Bay, it is important to remember that people’s economic livelihoods are tied to it, which may make them hesitate to adopt environmental friendly practices such as restricting the number of oysters they are able to harvest. It also is important to be able to communicate complicated research to policy makers who may not be familiar with the research.

Boesch ended his talk by giving examples of how science and policies — specifically those aimed at reducing nitrogen and phosphorous inputs — has helped to improve portions of the Chesapeake.

“There are some pretty good success stories about science in the bay that were made through a sustainable use of resources. Striped bass were really in a bad situation and now a lot of those populations have recovered,” he said. “They are doing the same thing in managing blue crab in parts — if you see that it’s a female, you don’t want to catch one because they have a lot of eggs ready to go — and we have massive oyster restoration, trying to rebuild sea populations rather than just put oysters back in.”

Boesch ended by talking about how climate change and sea-level rise will play a role in all environmental science fields now and into the future, and pointed to the Maryland and Delaware Climate Change Education Assessment and Research (MADE-CLEAR) as an example of a program working to engage climate scientists, science educators and the broader community of interest in implementing a comprehensive climate change education plan in the region.

2015 water symposium, water science and police graduate program at Townsend Hall University of DelawareThe conference was opened by Shreeram Inamdar, professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and director of the water science and policy graduate program who organized the symposium, who welcomed the participants and talked about the interdisciplinary nature of the event.

“Since the water graduate program is spread across the University, there are students here from many colleges and departments. I think the symposium is important because it provides the opportunity for these students to connect with each other, see what others are working on, and also connect with water science faculty,” said Inamdar. “Most importantly, however, I want these students to connect with working professionals, and we have some great guests on hand to speak with the students about their professions.”

CANR Dean Mark Rieger spoke about how the symposium is growing and how it was significant to see students sitting along professionals from industry and government.

“It is important to have science-based research to determine what we do with regard to water quality, and it’s great to see the program develop and grow and see the students interact with faculty and industry professionals,” Rieger said.

Rieger added that it is difficult to administer an interdisciplinary effort and praised Inamdar, who he said “has done a great job incorporating four colleges into the program.”

Rieger acknowledged the many UD alumni who were in attendance and taking part in the expert panel discussion. He said this speaks to the importance of building connections and networks at such events.

Research presentations

Following the plenary talk, 15 UD water science and policy students gave five-minute presentations on their research, including topics such as “The Effect of In-Season Fertilization Strategy on the Yield and Nutrient Use Efficiency of Irrigated Corn” and “From Ridge Top to Valley Bottom: Soil Greenhouse Gas Fluxes Across Complex Terrain.”

The presentations were moderated by Alex Soroka, a master’s degree student in CANR, and Matthew Miller, a doctoral student in the college, and student awards were handed out after the presentations.

First place went to Miller for his talk “Extreme Weather and Drinking Water Utilities: Impacts, Risks and Tough Decisions,” second place went to Chelsea Krieg for “After the Storm: Nitrogen Cycling in Flood Sediments and Impacts on Water Quality,” and third place went to Joe Brown for “A Field Study of Biochar Amended Soils.”

A panel discussion followed with panel members including:

  • Jennifer Adkins, executive director, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary;
  • Christina Casole, water resources engineer, Skelly and Loy Inc.;
  • Ed Hallock, program administrator, Office of Drinking Water;
  • Alison Kiliszek, engineer, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC);
  • Christopher Nealen, hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey;
  • Mark Strickland, water resource engineer, Century Engineering Inc.; and
  • Larry Trout, senior manager, water resources, RK&K.

The panel was moderated by Sandra Petrakis, a master’s degree student in CANR, and Matthew Miller.

The symposium wrapped up with informal networking and hors d’oeuvres in the Townsend Hall Commons.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Wenbo Fan

University Botanic Gardens’ fall plant sale announced

udbgsaleAn assortment of plants with color, texture and form to add to a garden’s allure will be available for purchase at the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens’ fall plant sale this weekend.

The sale will be held from 4-7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18, and from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 19, in the production area across from Fischer Greenhouse on UD’s South Campus. Admission is free.

Those who become UDBG Friends are eligible to come to the sale for Member’s Day, Thursday, Sept. 17, from 4-7 pm. Those with interest can join online or at the sale.

The UD Botanic Gardens are open year round to provide ideas and inspiration, or for a quiet stroll. The gardens contribute to an understanding of the relationships between plants and people through education, research, cooperative extension, and community support.

 

Originally posted on UDaily

UD Cooperative Extension to co-sponsor ‘A Day on the Farm’ event in Hockessin

UD Cooperative Extension to co-sponsor 'A Day on the Farm' event in HockessinUniversity of Delaware Cooperative Extension invites Delaware residents and visitors to see and experience agriculture first-hand at the “A Day on the Farm” event on Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Woodside Farm Creamery in Hockessin.

UD Cooperative Extension has teamed up with the Mitchell family, the Delaware Farm Bureau, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the New Castle Conservation District and other sponsors to put on this event.

The event is free and parking is free.

“We’re excited to share our farm and promote the importance of local agriculture to our special visitors,” says Jim Mitchell, owner of Woodside Farm Creamery.

The event will feature a “Who’s Your Farmer” tent showcasing local farm producers, educational exhibits, demonstrations, hay rides, a straw bale maze, outdoor woodlands classroom, a scavenger hunt for kids, simulated cow milking, and many more activities.

Food will be on sale by several vendors including New Castle County 4-H Links/Leaders, Haass Butcher Shop, the Delaware State Grange and the Woodside Farm Creamery.

For more information, call New Castle County Cooperative Extension at 302-831-8965 or visit the Facebook page.

This story can also be viewed on UDaily.

Tallamy, Darke to present in-depth discussion of book ‘The Living Landscape’

Doug Tallamy (Professor of Entomology & Wildlife Ecology and PI) is working with Emily Baisden (graduate student in entomology) to compare the ability of insects to use the cultivars vs straight species of plants
Doug Tallamy (Professor of Entomology & Wildlife Ecology and PI) is working with Emily Baisden (graduate student in entomology) to compare the ability of insects to use the cultivars vs straight species of plants

The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (UDBG) will host Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke for an in-depth discussion of their new book The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden on Monday, Sept. 28, from 6:30-9 p.m. in the Townsend Hall Commons on UD’s South Campus.

Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Darke is a UD alumnus, author, photographer and landscape ethicist.

The cost is $20 for UDBG Friends and $25 for non-members. Space is limited and pre-payment is required to guarantee entry. Send payment to UDBG, 152 Townsend Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, or call 302-831-2531.

Tallamy has authored 80 research articles and has taught for 33 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities.

His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association.

At the Sept. 28 event, he will speak on the topic “Creating Living Landscapes.” An important component of a living landscapes is a diverse and abundant community of pollinators and while much has been written about native bees, the thousands of species of moth and butterfly pollinators have been ignored.

Tallamy will discuss the important ecological roles of these species and discuss the plants required to support their populations in landscapes.

Darke’s work is grounded in an observational ethic that blends art, ecology and cultural geography in the design of living landscapes. His many books include The American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest.

During the presentation, Darke will discuss the essential layers of living landscapes. The richness of life in any landscape is linked to the diversity in its layers, and this is true for both people and wildlife.

Darke will look at layers from ground cover to canopy and will describe and illustrate how to conserve, create and manage them in home landscapes that are beautiful, maintainable, and joyfully alive.

An audience question and answer session will follow the presentation, and copies of the book will be available for sale and signing by the co-authors.

Photo by Lindsay Yeager

CANR, Food Bank of Delaware will hold annual ‘Evening in the Garden’ event

Evening in the Garden with Dean Mark Rieger and the Food Bank of Delaware.The University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and the Food Bank of Delaware will hold the seventh annual “Evening in the Garden” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 10, at UD’s Garden for the Community, which is located off South College Avenue near the Girl Scouts building.

To celebrate the bounty of the Garden for the Community, those who attend will enjoy wine and beer tastings, live entertainment from the Ellen Lebowitz Quartet, a four-piece jazz group featuring piano, drums, bass and voice, and tours of the garden.

The evening’s menu includes garden-fresh foods straight from the Garden for the Community. Students and chefs from the Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware will serve braised lamb black and tan, a stout braised local lamb, with black garlic mashed potatoes, and crispy shaved shallots; “Suffering Succotash,” a sweet corn and edamame succotash; pigtail shrimp, finished with an optional drizzle of hot chili oil; and squash blossom goat cheese taco, a jalapeño toasted almond pesto with pickled red onion.

The UDairy Creamery will also be on hand to scoop ice cream.

Attendees will also be able to enjoy beverages from breweries including 3rd Wave Brewing Co., Twin Lakes Brewing Co., Two Stones Pub, Mispillion River Brewing, Dogfish Head Brewery, 16 Mile Brewery and Painted Stave Distilling.

“Our annual Evening in the Garden event is a great opportunity for us to showcase the skills of our talented students from the Culinary School,” said Patricia Beebe, Food Bank of Delaware president and CEO. “Workforce development is important to us at the food bank, and this annual event gives students real-world experience working a catered fundraising event.”

The Garden for the Community project is a partnership between the Food Bank of Delaware and CANR faculty and staff members, undergraduate students and graduate students.

CANR Dean Mark Rieger said, “UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is very proud of its longstanding partnership with the Food Bank. This is the seventh year that the greater Delaware community has been welcomed to campus to feast on the bounty grown by its students in UD’s Garden for the Community. I can’t think of a more rewarding event than one that helps raise money to provide food for those who need it most and, at the same time, provides our students with an experiential learning project that is connected directly to the everyday lives of people living in our own community.”

Registration is $40 per person. A student discount is available for $20 per person, but student IDs must be shown to get the discount. The price includes dinner, wine, beer and entertainment. Attendees must RSVP by Aug. 31. If tickets are still available after the RSVP deadline, the price will increase by $10.

To purchase tickets, contact Kim Turner at 302-444-8074 or kturner@fbd.org. Online registration also is available at this website.

Those who attend are encouraged to bring a bag of non-perishable goods for the Food Bank of Delaware.

Photo by Lindsay Yeager

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Crowds gather to view agriculture, natural resources exhibits at 40th Ag Day

Ag Day 2015The relative cold weather in the morning gave way to warmth and sunshine in the afternoon as an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 visitors flocked to the 40th Ag Day at the University of Delaware to see an array of agricultural and natural resource exhibits, enjoy great entertainment and find out the winner of the recipe contest.

Mark Rieger, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), welcomed the crowd to Ag Day and explained how the event was started 40 years ago by David Frey, associate professor of plant and soil sciences, who Rieger said is “still on the faculty, still teaching great courses, and still a big part of Ag Day.”

The theme of this year’s Ag Day was “Farm to Table” and Rieger said that concept is “kind of a revolution today in agriculture — it’s really changing the food system.”

Rieger noted that CANR is part of that revolution, with students who work on the campus farm “growing kale and broccoli and lettuce, and things like that,” with most of the food going to the Food Bank of Delaware or restaurants in downtown Newark.

As a result, Rieger said, “We in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources are part of the local food movement, as are millions of people across the country, and that’s what we’re going to celebrate today with our theme Farm to Table.”

As part of that Farm to Table mission, the Ag Day planning committee arranged to have a special recipe contest.

The first place winner of the contest was Pamela Braun, whose recipe for a Luscious Spring Green Salad earned her gifts from the UDairy Creamery, honey from the campus apiary, a certificate for mixed vegetable baskets from UD Fresh to You and an additional barrel of fresh tomatoes.

Braun decided to donate all of her prize winnings to the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware, which had a booth in the Ag Day Community Tent.

The other winners were Karen Burkett’s Goulash, which came in second place, and Valerie Smirlock’s Crustless Quiche, which came in third place. Both received UDairy Creamery gifts and honey from the campus apiary, and Burkett also received a certificate for a mixed vegetable basket from UD Fresh to You.

Another popular aspect of Ag Day this year was the Center for Experimental and Applied Economics (CEAE) asking attendees to participate in three separate research studies. Those who took part were paid in cash for their participation and by the end of the day CEAE paid out around $6,000 to more than 500 participants.

Two projects investigated consumer preference for oysters with varied information regarding water pollution and nutrient levels in the water. The research team has also collected data from consumers at the 16 Mile Brewery in Georgetown, Delaware, Joe’s Famous Tavern in Wilmington and the Speakeasy at the Wright House in Newark. As a part of the oyster studies, research participants had the opportunity to purchase various oysters and have them prepared on the half shell, fried, or in a bag of ice to be brought home.

A third study was conducted on charitable giving as it related to issues of water infrastructure. Participants first earned money by completing a task on the computer, and then were asked if they would like to donate some of this money to either the American Water Works Association or the Conservation Fund. The study helped the researchers better understand how important water infrastructure is to individuals and how they would most like to protect it for future generations.

The Food Bank of Delaware truck was also on hand to collect donations from the community.

In addition, those gathered at the 40th Ag Day were able to take in over 90 exhibits and witness a variety of demonstrations, including a beehive, free-flight bird show and a tree-climbing exhibition. There also were live bands featuring UD faculty and professionals.

Always popular at Ag Day is the plant sale organized by the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (UDBG) and ice cream from the UDairy Creamery. This year the creamery sold treats to around 3,000 patrons.

Those in attendance also had the option of taking a tour of the CANR farm. “I call it a farm tour but it’s much, much more than a farm,” Rieger said. “The name of the college is Agriculture and Natural Resources, and a lot of what we do has to do with keeping the soil from eroding, keeping the water pure and the air clean.”

Rieger noted that the 350-acre farm has croplands, pastures, wetlands, woodlands and streams, almost all of which fall within the city limits of Newark.

“The farm is much more than just a place where we raise animals and grow plants, it’s a place where we have environmental services going on,” said Rieger. “That’s what we do in CANR, a little bit of both — feed the world, protect the planet.

“That’s what our students go out into the world to do, and what’s great is that as they approach graduation, there are two jobs for every graduate that we can produce in the United States. Agriculture and natural resources careers are in some of the highest demand of anything in the country and all of those folks will have wonderful careers.

“They’ll probably have multiple job offers before they even leave here so if you’ve got a nephew, niece, son or daughter or grandson thinking about what they want to do when they go off to college, think about agriculture and natural resources.”

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Lindsay Yeager

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

University of Delaware Botanic Gardens plan plant sale preview, walk

UDBG plant sale set for Friday, April 24The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (UDBG) will host a pair of preview events in advance of the annual benefit plant sale scheduled April 24-25 on the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources campus in Newark.

John Frett, UDBG director, and Robert Lyons, UDBG board president and former director of the University’s Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture, will present images and specimens of the plants that will be available at the sale in a discussion to be held from 7-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 7, in the Townsend Hall Commons.

The following week, Frett will lead a guided walk through the UDBG grounds to see landscape-sized specimens of plants that will be offered at the sale. The walk will be held from 4-5:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 15, and participants will meet at the Fischer Greenhouse Entrance on Roger Martin Lane.

The cost for each event is $5 for UDBG Friends and $10 for nonmembers. Space is limited for the guided walk and those who plan to attend must pre-register. To reserve a spot for either or both of these events, call 302-831-2531 or email BotanicGardens@udel.edu.

Those with interest in the sale are invited to view the UDBG plant sale catalog on the website.

About the sale

UDBG Friends enjoy an exclusive day to shop at the sale on Thursday, April 23, from 3-7 p.m.

Plant sale general admission is Friday, April 24, from 3-7 p.m. and Saturday, April 25, which is Ag Day, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

To enjoy other exclusive member benefits, join the Friends online or contact Melinda Zoehrer at 302-831-0153 or BotanicGardens@udel.edu.

The gardens are open year round to provide ideas and inspiration, or for a quiet stroll. UDBG contributes to an understanding of the relationships between plants and people through education, research, cooperative extension, and community support.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

CANR to host annual community push lawn mower tune-up service

Alpha Gamma Rho will host their annual lawn mower tune-up starting April 10The University of Delaware’s Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) fraternity for agriculture and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Club are once again offering a push lawn mower tune-up service on Friday, April 10, and Saturday, April 11, rain or shine.

The event will be held at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus, with pick up on Saturday, April 11, and Sunday, April 12.

Over 7,000 mowers have been serviced at the event since 2000.

The tune-up is provided by trained students and alumni members of the clubs and includes washing the mower, an oil change, spark plug replacement, air filter cleaning and blade sharpening.

Service performed is tune-up only; no repairs will be performed and no riding mowers will be accepted.

Richard Morris, UD farm manager and adviser for AGR, said it is a good idea to have a lawn mower tuned up every year in order to make it last longer. He also noted that the event has a lot of repeat customers.

Jason Morris, a junior in CANR, said that there will be about 30-40 volunteers this year, including current members of AGR, each of whom will volunteer for a minimum of 15 hours, and SAE, and also some AGR alumni.

The cost of the tune-up is $38. Payment in the form of cash or check may be made at drop off. Checks should be made out to Alpha Gamma Rho.

Drop off times are from 2-8 p.m. on Friday, April 10, and from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, April 11.

Customers can pick up their mowers on Saturday from 1-6 p.m. for the first 300 mowers taken on Friday, or on Sunday, April 12, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. for the remaining mowers.

All mowers must be picked up by 2 p.m. on Sunday. The owners of any mowers not picked up by Sunday will be charged a storage fee.

Richard Morris said he wanted to “thank the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for letting us take over their parking lot and for having the full support from the dean and the college.”

Lawn mowers may be dropped off and picked up in the parking lot behind Worrilow and Townsend halls on UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources campus at 531 S. College Ave., just north of the Fred Rust Ice Arena. Look for signs for the tune-up.

For more information, contact Jason Morris of AGR at jcmorris@udel.edu or 302-388-7475.

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources announces date for annual Ag Day

Ag Day 2015 will be held April 25Ag Day, an annual tradition of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at the University of Delaware, will be held on Saturday, April 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The theme of Ag Day 2015 is “Farm to Table.”

The Food Bank of Delaware will be on hand to accept donations of non-perishable food items. There will also be a “Farm to Table” recipe contest.

Members of the campus community, and the surrounding community, are encouraged to join the college for a day filled with music, exhibitors, great food and fun on UD’s South Campus.

Celebrating all that the college has to offer, visitors can experience everything from bird shows to bee demonstrations, livestock exhibits, 4-H arts and crafts, farm tours, plant sales, and much more.

The event will be held at CANR’s Townsend Hall, located at 531 South College Avenue in Newark. Both admission and parking are free and the event is open to the public.

Ag Day is family friendly, however, for the safety of the live animal demonstrations, organizers ask that all pets be left at home.

Registration for exhibitors and vendors is now open and runs until Friday, March 20. Registration is available on the Ag Day website. 

The website also features additional information, announcements and schedules, and will be updated as the event approaches.

Photo by Danielle Quigley

10th annual Delaware Agriculture Week to be held at fairgrounds in Harrington

10th annual Delaware Agriculture Week setOver 1,900 agricultural producers will learn best practices and new technologies, expand existing networks and make connections with leading vendors during the 10th annual Delaware Agriculture Week to be held Monday to Friday, Jan. 12-16, at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington.

New sessions for 2015 include: “Agriculture Best Management Practices – Financing,” “Weathering These Changing Times,” “Soil Health” and “Growing Delaware’s Agriculture in Urban Communities.” All sessions are free, however some require preregistration.

Delaware Agriculture Week provides numerous sessions that cover a wide array of topics including small fruits, fresh market and processing vegetables, small flock and commercial poultry, grain marketing, grain crops, hay and pasture, beef cattle, irrigation, direct marketing, and much more. Nutrient management, pesticide, and certified crop adviser continuing education credits will be offered.

This year, Delaware Agriculture Week will begin on Monday evening with the fruit and beef sessions. The main meeting area will be located in the Exhibit Hall, and the trade show — with more than 80 exhibitors — will be housed in the Dover Building.

“Ag Week provides a great opportunity for the ag community to come together to learn new ways of doing things, catch up with friends, and talk with local experts,” said Cory Whaley, University of Delaware agriculture extension agent and Delaware Agriculture Week chair. “Our programs get better each year and we are very happy to be celebrating our 10th anniversary with the Delaware community.”

Agriculture is an $8 billion industry in Delaware, according to a 2010 University of Delaware report, which factored in the agriculture jobs and related production, goods and services that support the largest industry in the First State.

Delaware Agriculture Week is sponsored by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

For more information, including an electronic version of the program booklet, visit the 2015 Delaware Agriculture Week website or call Karen Adams at 302-856-2585, ext. 540.

Santa Claus to make festive holiday stop at UDairy Creamery

Breakfast with Santa at Clayton Hall for alumni and kidsDuring this busy holiday season, Santa Claus will make a stop at the University of Delaware’s UDairy Creamery from 1-4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 22.

Those who stop by on Monday will be able to meet and get their picture taken with Santa as well as try some of the creamery’s seasonal treats. Children under 12 years of age will also get a free scoop of ice cream.

New ice cream flavors available for the holidays at the UDairy Creamery include peppermint hot chocolate, eggnog, cherry macaroon, chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin cookie and peppermint bark. The creamery is also offering special holiday kits featuring everything needed for an ice cream party.

In addition to their ice cream, the creamery has ice cream sandwich cookie packs with different flavors included in each for $10 and seasonal ice cream pies available for $12.99. The flavors of pies include eggnog and sweet potato pie in graham crusts and peppermint hot chocolate and peppermint bark in Oreo crusts.

For those looking for last minute holiday presents, the UDairy Creamery is still offering Blue Hen Blankets, made from the wool shorn from UD’s flock of Dorset sheep at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, as well as Dare to Bee honey from UD’s apiary and UDairy Creamery hats, shirts, toy cows and gift certificates that can be used at the creamery or the GoBabyGo! Café in the Health Sciences Complex at the Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus.

Photo by Doug Baker

Cooperative Extension featured at Delaware Home and Garden Show

Cooperative Extension featured at Delaware Home and Garden ShowUniversity of Delaware Cooperative Extension exhibits and demonstrations will be featured at the 2014 Delaware Home and Garden Show taking place on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20-21, at the Bob Carpenter Center.

Show hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday. Tickets are $5 at the door and free for anyone 16 years of age or younger. 

New Castle County Master Gardeners will have a booth open on Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Plant material at the booth will be supplied by the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (UDBG) and they will be directing interested individuals to the fall plant sale at the Fischer Greenhouse, which runs on Saturday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

The Master Gardeners will also be answering lawn and garden questions and providing information about Master Gardener programs and services available to the public.  They will have instructions for applying for the new Homeowners Livable Lawns program, soil tests and contact information for community gardens.

In addition to the booth, J.W. Wistermayer, a New Castle County Master Gardener, will be presenting a  “Make and Take Container Workshop.” There will be two sessions on Saturday, one at 10:30 a.m. and another at 3:45 p.m. Both sessions were available for preregistration and they have both sold out.

The workshop will be an abbreviated version of the container workshop Wistermayer does for Master Gardener workshops. “The people who signed up for the course will get pointers on how to build containers, hand outs with some great information about container gardening and they get to make one container and take it with them,” Wistermayer said.

For more information on the Home and Garden Show, visit the website.

For more information on the Delaware Master Gardener program, visit the website or contact Carrie Murphy, cjmurphy@udel.edu.

In addition to taking place on Saturday, the UDBG fall plant sale will also be held on Thursday, Sept. 18, from 4-7 p.m. for UDBG members and on Friday, Sept. 19, from 4-7 p.m. for the general public.  For more information, visit the UDBG website.

Photos by Betsy Rosenberger

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Cooperative Extension celebrates 100 years of extending knowledge, changing lives

Visitors enjoy Cooperative Extension Centennial ice cream.
Visitors enjoy Cooperative Extension Centennial ice cream.

A lot can change in 100 years. That is especially true when it comes to Cooperative Extension.

It was with that in mind, and with an eye toward the future, that members of the Delaware community gathered on Thursday, July 24, at the Grove Picnic Area at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension. 

Cooperative Extension was established across the country in 1914 with passage of the Smith-Lever Act, which enabled Extension agents to disseminate critical knowledge developed at land grant colleges, including the University of Delaware, to farmers and to the public. Addressing how far Cooperative Extension has come in its 100 years, Gov. Jack Markell said, “I think the founders of Cooperative Extension would be amazed at what it is today.” Markell noted how Cooperative Extension now has an office at every land grant institution, in every county of every state and territory, with a total of more than 3,000 locations. “Its mission in the 21st century is inclusive. Extending knowledge, changing lives. It’s been a really important part of the Delaware community now for 100 years, increasing the quality of life for citizens throughout our state,” said Markell. Reflecting on how Cooperative Extension influenced his life personally, Markell noted how he lived in Newark’s Windy Hills neighborhood as a neighbor to Extension agent Dean Belt and his wife Peggy Belt and that he “grew up thinking that Cooperative Extension was Dean Belt and Dean Belt was Cooperative Extension, and I didn’t know that it actually applied in other states and others schools.” Saying that Belt knew more about agriculture than everyone else he knew combined, Markell said, “The Belts were really positive influences on my life and I always look forward to seeing them. These are just extraordinary, extraordinary people who set the standard for what Cooperative Extension is and ought to be across the country.”

Mark Rieger, dean of UD's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, says that through 100 years the mission to Cooperative Extension has remained the same, to extend knowledge from campus to field.
Mark Rieger, dean of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, says that through 100 years the mission to Cooperative Extension has remained the same, to extend knowledge from campus to field.

Mark Rieger, dean of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), spoke next and reflected on how much Extension has changed over 100 years. “I was driving down here today and I was reflecting on if I were a county agent coming from the University of Delaware in Newark 100 years ago, I wouldn’t be in a Nissan Altima, I’d probably be in a horse and buggy or coming on horseback. It would probably take me the better part of a week to come from that University to this area to see farmers and to make my way around and make my way back home  — and that’s what those people did 100 years ago. They got out, they extended that knowledge from the University to the people that could use it under some really difficult conditions,” said Rieger. Rieger talked about how farmers now use smartphone apps and are able to diagnose problems in the field in real time and how, in the future, there may be flying drones used over fields and farmers may be equipped with the ability to get a snapshot of photosynthesis as it’s happening. “The means have changed but the mission has stayed the same over those 100 years. So I’m really excited about the future of Extension and all the new things that we’re going to get to do,” said Rieger, who also touched on how the people of the world are going to need to use that technology in order to find ways to feed the estimated nine billion people who will be on the planet in the next 30 years or so. “We cannot continue to cut down more forests to open up land for agriculture, we’ve got to increase the yields on the land that we have and the way we’re going to do that is with good science, good technology and extending that science through Extension out to the growers. So I’m confident that UD and Delaware State University Extension will rise to the occasion and deliver on that grand challenge of feeding the world and protecting the planet,” said Rieger. Michelle Rodgers, associate dean for Cooperative Extension in CANR, spoke next, joined on the podium by Albert Essel, associate dean for Cooperative Extension at Delaware State University. Rodgers spoke about how in Delaware, there are two universities — UD and DSU — that form Cooperative Extension and “it’s our pleasure to work together to bring Cooperative Extension to you for 100 years worth of Cooperative Extension.” Rodgers, who has familial Cooperative Extension roots dating back 100 years and whose parents met through 4-H, thanked all the legislators in attendance and explained how their support is critical to the continuation of Cooperative Extension services. “We’re very much like a family in Cooperative Extension — our retirees, those who we partner with, it is a cooperative and it’s in the name for a purpose and it’s because we do cooperate so well with each other. It’s a very meaningful part,” said Rodgers.

Joyce Witte (left) is honored for her winning Cooperative Extension Centennial ice cream flavor.
Joyce Witte (left) is honored for her winning Cooperative Extension Centennial ice cream flavor.

Rodgers then recognized all the staff members, both past and present, and the volunteers who make Cooperative Extension a success. “Cooperative Extension individuals are very giving, very caring, very compassionate people who really care about communities and the people in them,” she said. “It is our pleasure as directors to work with this group of people who give so much of themselves to the community and to celebrate this centennial event with you. I just thank you for our past, I thank you for our present and I am very excited about our future and the next 100 years and what we’re going to do.” The event concluded with the unveiling of a Cooperative Extension Centennial flavored ice cream from the University’s UDairy Creamery as part of a flavor contest. The winning flavor, Centennial Cherry Chunk, was submitted by Joyce Witte, who was presented with a gift certificate for coming up with the winning flavor. Rodgers joked that Witte can now “eat as much Centennial ice cream as you like.” For more information about the Cooperative Extension Centennial, visit the website. Article by Adam Thomas Photos by Evan Krape This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

UD to co-host 2014 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference

Gerald "Jerry" Kauffman from the Institute for Public Administration, works with how climate change effects the water supplyThe Delaware Water Resources Center (DWRC) at the University of Delaware will be one of several National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) that will co-host the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference.

The conference will take place Sept. 24-25 at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Tom Sims, director of DWRC and deputy dean of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said of the center and the conference, “The Delaware Water Resources Center has been committed for more than 40 years to the core missions of the Water Resources Research Act: training future water resource scientists and professionals, contemporary research on water resource issues of high importance to Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region, and outreach and education programs on water resources science, management, and policy. The DWRC is pleased to support this regional conference.”

The theme of the conference is “The Future of Mid-Atlantic Water Infrastructure: Challenges and Solutions,” and it will combine exceptional educational programs with opportunities for researchers, policy makers, regulators, agencies and the public to share in the latest information, technologies and research relating to the region’s water resources.

Gerald J. Kauffman, director of UD’s Water Resources Agency, which is a unit of the Institute for Public Administration within the School of Public Policy and Administration, will give the keynote address at the conference focused on the value of water resources in the Mid-Atlantic, specifically the Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware River Basin.

Kauffman explained that because of those two major basins, the water resources in the region provide incredible ecological value. “The combined basins provide drinking water to over 10 percent of the entire United States and occupy about 1 percent of the entire landmass of the continental United States, so these watersheds in the Mid-Atlantic are really valuable to the nation and the region and the nearby cities,” he said.

The cities in question — New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. — rely on the watersheds for their drinking water.

Furthermore, Kauffman explained that the watersheds provide additional ecological resources in the form of blue crab and reviving oyster populations. The Chesapeake “is the center of a trillion dollar recreation, tourism and agricultural based economy, but the Delaware River has really nice ecosystems, as well,” said Kauffman, who has completed economic studies of both basins.

Kauffman said UD is particularly well positioned to study and talk about the issues surrounding the watersheds because the University is in the middle of the Delaware river and bay and the Chesapeake.

“Where we are here in Newark, we’re about a dozen miles to the Delaware River and if we go west, we can get to the Chesapeake Bay. So if you’re studying this issue of water science and policy, there’s going to be a lot to talk about,” said Kauffman.

“We’re uniquely poised to talk about and conduct research in the value of these water systems, so UD is a special place where students and the faculty and the staff can get involved in doing this kind of work,” he said. “I’ll be excited to talk about that at the Mid-Atlantic conference in September.”

For more information about the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference, visit the website. The registration deadline is Aug. 30.

About the Delaware Water Resources Center

As a member of the National Institutes for Water Resources, the Delaware Water Resources Center has two key missions related to Delaware’s water resources, such as the state’s ground water aquifers and its streams, ponds, lakes and coastal waters.

The first is to support research, education, and public outreach programs that focus on water supply, water management, and water quality — issues of considerable importance to Delaware citizens who are concerned about the future of our water resources. DWRC is specifically charged with the exploration of new ideas that address water problems or expand understanding of water-related phenomena.

The second mission is to foster and support training and education programs for the future water scientists, engineers, managers and policy-makers who will lead the water resources research, planning and management efforts in the state in the future.

About the Water Resources Agency

The mission of the Water Resources Agency is to provide water science and policy assistance to governments in Delaware, the Delaware Valley, and along the Atlantic seaboard through the land grant public service, education and research role of the University of Delaware.

The WRA is a unit of the Institute for Public Administration within the School of Public Policy and Administration in UD’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson

Article by Adam Thomas

This story can also be viewed on UDaily.

Electronic Recycling Day

In an effort to reduce the amount of electronic refuse sent to landfills, the Longwood Graduate Program will collect unwanted and broken mechanical and electronic items for recycling.

Please bring your unwanted mechanical and broken electronic items to the Townsend Hall Commons on Wednesday, May 14 between 11 a.m.-2p.m. The Longwood Graduate Fellows will be on hand to receive and take the items to UD Recycling.

Remember to bring in your used cell phones. They will be sent to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence for their “Donate a Phone Program.”  NCADV is certified with a “Seal of Excellence” by Independent Charities of America and has been in existence for over 34 years to raise awareness and assist affected families.

For questions regarding Electronic Recycling Day please email kpw@udel.edu.

Click here for a list of items that can be recycled.

In addition to the items listed, microwaves, old cameras (and attachments) and air conditioners that have been drained of their coolant will also be accepted.

Tree Planting Event on the UD Farm scheduled for Saturday, May 3rd

The University of Delaware’s Ducks Unlimited Chapter is hosting an event to plant ~500 trees around the Farm’s wetlands and nearby areas at Noon on Saturday, May 3 and are in need of volunteers.

Those interested in getting their hands dirty and being engaged in wetland habitat management will help build their resumes as well as help conserve the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ land.

Those interested should RSVP to Chris Williams, associate professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology (ENWC) at ckwillia@udel.edu. Participants are asked to be sure to wear clothes that they don’t mind getting dirty.

The group will meet in the back parking lot of Townsend Hall and then walk to the central wetlands between the apiary and the Allen Lab.

Participants are also asked to please consider joining Ducks Unlimited for next year and consider becoming an officer.

During the inaugural year, Ducks Unlimited has had a field trip to Bombay Hook to learn about wetland management for ducks, volunteered at the Greenwing youth outdoor festival and had a booth at Ag Day where they sold bird houses and oversaw a duck silhouette painting activity for kids.

Additionally the UDairy Creamery has introduced a “Marsh Mallards and Quackers” ice cream flavor, with a portion of the profits going to help support the chapter and wetlands conservation in Delaware. In the final month of the semester, Ducks Unlimited will be planting trees and pulling cattails on the farm to improve its habitat.

If you are interested in getting involved to boost your resume and promote wetlands conservation, please contact  Williams at ckwillia@udel.edu.

University Botanic Gardens holds clear the decks sale

Those who missed the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens plant sale on Ag Day are invited to a clear the decks sale from 4-7 p.m., Wednesday, April 30, at the production area across from Fischer Greenhouse.

Admission is free and select plants will be 25-50 percent off.

To enjoy exclusive member benefits, join the Friends online or contact Melinda Zoehrer at 302-831-0153 or BotanicGardens@udel.edu.

The gardens are open year round to provide ideas and inspiration, or for a quiet stroll. UDBG contributes to an understanding of the relationships between plants and people through education, research, cooperative extension, and community support.

The sale also provides an opportunity for those who attend to enjoy UDairy Creamery ice cream.

Two Ethics Forum events scheduled

All College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty are invited to two ethics forums taking place during the first week of May.

The Science on Trial forum will take place from 3:30-5 p.m., Thursday, May 1 in the Townsend Hall commons.

Student groups from Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS) 467/667: Biomedical Communication will present brief interactive case studies regarding instances of scientific misconduct and lead discussion regarding potential causes and consequences for ethical infractions in the biomedical sciences.

The Institutional Ethics in Biomedical Research and Publication forum will take place from 3:30-5 p.m., Tuesday, May 6, in the Townsend Hall commons.

A panel of professionals engaged in institutional oversight of scientific research and publication at multiple research institutions will hold frank dialogue regarding the role of the institution in creating an environment for ethical research and the institutional response to allegations of scientific misconduct among members of the research community.

The panel will be moderated by Erin Brannick, assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, and include the following panelists:

  • Jerry Castellano, Certified IRB Professional. Corporate Director – Institutional Review Boards for the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Research Institute and Christiana Care Health System; Adjunct.  Associate Professor, University of Delaware School of Nursing
  • Sheila Garrity, JD, MPH, MBA. Director of the Division of Research Integrity, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Lynne Olson, PhD. Faculty Ombudsman, the Ohio State University (OSU). Professor Emeritus, OSU College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Gwen Talham, DVM. Director and Veterinarian, University of Delaware Animal Care Program

The events are sponsored through an Integrative Curriculum Development Grant provided by the UD Center for Science, Ethics and Public Policy.

Contact Erin Brannick with any questions or for more information.

UD alumnus Michael Balick returns to give talk on ethnobotany

Michael Balick will gives a talk on Ethnobotany at UD's Townsend HallIn 1970, Michael Balick gave his first public lecture in the Townsend Hall Commons at the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. As a freshman studying ornamental horticulture and plant agriculture, that lecture focused on the harvest, processing and utilization of garden herbs.

Now, after 37 years traversing the globe and studying herbs with medicinal properties within indigenous cultures, co-founding the New York Botanical Garden’s Institute of Economic Botany with Sir Ghillean Prance, and receiving his doctorate in biology from Harvard University, Balick will return to the spot where he gave his first talk. And, again, he will be presenting a lecture.

Balick will discuss “Ancient Wisdom and Modern Medicine: Plants, People and Cultures in the Tropical Rainforest” in a presentation at 7 p.m., Monday, May 5.

It will focus on Balick’s work as an ethnobotanist at the New York Botanical Garden, highlight some of the places that he has worked over the past several decades, and focus on what herbals are and why they are important for contemporary times when people are searching for healthier, more natural lifestyles and more time spent outdoors in the gardens and fields.

Following the lecture, there will be a launch event for Balick’s new book 21st Century Herbal: a Practical Guide for Healthy Living Using Nature’s Most Powerful Plants.

Balick said it meant a lot to have the “launch of the book in the same place that was so important to the earliest parts of my career.”

Ethnobotany 

Balick described ethnobotany as the study of the relationship between plants, people and culture and said that he got involved with ethnobotany from the beginning of his time at UD.

Ethnobotany has always fascinated him and it has allowed him to travel to many parts of the globe.

“During part of my career, I worked with indigenous people in the Amazon, I’ve worked with indigenous cultures in Belize, Central America, and I currently work with indigenous cultures in tropical Pacific islands,” said Balick.

Explaining that he has been able to learn from traditional healers about all sorts of herbs, Balick stressed that there are many herbs of which people in the United States are not aware. “There are around four billion people who use plant medicines for some part of their primary health care around the world and they use many tens of thousands of the 420,000 species of flowering plants that are known to exists on earth,” said Balick. “Scientists have identified at least 30,000 species of plants used by traditional cultures for some part of primary health care. So there are a lot we don’t know about in the United States; they don’t appear in our markets or in our books.”

Balick’s book draws upon the work he has been doing since the 1970s and he said that through his work with integrative medicine — combining state of the art Western medical practices with evidence-based, traditional herbal medicines — he discovered there was a need for a book that could articulate some of the wonders of herbs to the general public.

“At the same time, the book allows me to tell stories about some of the things that have happened in my travels and studies,” said Balick. “And I can try to explain to the broader public the importance of botany in their lives, how herbs work, the mechanisms of plant chemistry and how to make all sorts of different formulas.”

As for his time at UD, Balick said he enjoyed spending time at Longwood Gardens with the Longwood Graduate Program and that he was given the freedom to explore the things in which he was interested, satisfying his curiosity about the different aspects of the plant world.

“Education for me at the University of Delaware was about identifying my passion and sailing in that direction with the encouragement of so many fine professors and a wonderful student body, to whom I am really grateful,” said Balick. “I’d encourage everyone to find something in life that they’re fascinated with and go full speed ahead in that direction because in the end it’s not a job you’re searching for, it’s a career and it’s just so satisfying to work on something that brings excitement to you on a daily basis. I would say horticulture and agriculture and plant science allow you the freedom to do just that.”

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

UD Botanic Gardens announce annual benefit plant sale

SummerThe 22nd annual University of Delaware Botanic Gardens Benefit Plant Sale will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 25-26, on the South Campus in Newark.

The sale will be held from 3-7 p.m. Friday and from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday – the latter in conjunction with Ag Day — in the fenced area across from Fisher Greenhouse. Admission is free.

Those with interest can view the plant sale catalog at the UDBG website to see an array of summer’s grande dames of horticulture — the hydrangea, a prime selection of magnolias, maples and iris, along with hundreds of additional select treasures.

UDBG Friends enjoy an exclusive day to shop at the sale on Thursday, April 24, from 3-7 p.m. To enjoy other exclusive member benefits, join the Friends online or contact Melinda Zoehrer at 302-831-0153 or BotanicGardens@udel.edu.

Hydrangeas featured

The featured plants, hydrangeas, though a small portion of the many ornamental shrubs available to modern gardeners, embody all the best attributes of horticulture as a hobby and, for some, an obsession. This beautiful group of plants exhibits a stunning diversity of species and cultivated varieties that satisfy a wide range of tastes and garden settings. All members of the genus share a common name, but in some cases the similarities end there.

The impressive floral prowess of many hydrangeas is arguably their most exciting and endearing feature. Interestingly, the impressive diversity of the family means this characteristic is itself subject to a number of different factors. These traits, long admired by hydrangea aficionados, include flower color, size, shape and the season in which they are at their best.

Next, the specific growth habit, growth rate and mature size of the various hydrangeas dictate their appropriate landscape placement. Finally, their varying foliage characteristics, from spring through fall, combine to provide a plethora of exciting options. When it comes to hydrangeas, there is truly something for everyone.

The genus hydrangea consists of over 70 species worldwide, but the best choices for Mid-Atlantic gardens can be narrowed down to five main groups. Each group consists of one or more “hallmark” species that exemplify their prime ornamental features and any number of named varieties, known as cultivars.

The first four groups consist of shrubby plants and include Smooth hydrangea (H. arborescens), Oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia), Panicle hydrangea (H. paniculata) and the classic lacecap and mophead types (H. macrophylla and H. serrata), whose colorful blooms have graced gardens for centuries.

The fifth and final group includes the handsome pair of vines known as Climbing hydrangea (H. anomala ssp. petiolaris) and its cousin the Japanese hydrangea vine (Schizophragma hydrangeoides).

Each group offers its own personality, distinct ornamental attributes and respective place in the garden.

About the hydrangea groups

First, Smooth hydrangea is a native shrub found in shady forest nooks throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states. It becomes a prominent garden feature each May as large creamy flower clusters cover its leafy framework.

This plant, perhaps best known by the popular variety Annabelle, often droops to the ground under the weight of its floral might. Dedicated breeding work in recent years has led to the availability of pink flowered types such as Invincibelle Spirit and Bella Anna.

The second group also consists of a shrubby denizen of the southeastern United States. Oakleaf hydrangea is so-named for its deeply cut foliage that mimics the familiar look of many oak tree (Quercus spp.) leaves. This fascinating textural attribute alone would be a great reason to grow this species, however it also offers an excellent display of white, conical flower panicles in late spring.

Fall brings yet another season of interest as the leaves take on gorgeous shades of burgundy, orange and scarlet. Many selections have been made for flower size and growth habit over the years. These even include an intriguing cultivar with glowing chartreuse foliage known as Little Honey.

The next group of hydrangeas is one that has enjoyed renewed popularity in recent years. The Panicle, or PeeGee hydrangea, is a feature of older farmsteads and the confines of “grandma’s garden.” It is an Asian import that became quite popular during Victorian times. Athletic in its physiology, it is a plant of impressive growth rate that springs into aesthetic action during mid to late summer.

Prominent white flower panicles decorate the landscape at a time when most other trees and shrubs have faded into the background. Interest in this old favorite has been rekindled by newer varieties bred for compactness and reduced size at maturity — perfect qualities for today’s smaller gardens.

The exquisite, showy blooms of the fourth group represent the quintessential concept of the genus hydrangea. Bigleaf hydrangea (H. macrophylla) and Mountain hydrangea (H. serrata) are closely related species that serve similar ornamental roles. The first species has been cultivated for centuries and offers flowers in either a “mophead” (ball-shaped) appearance or a “lacecap” (flat or horizontal) arrangement. Cultivars have been bred in a dizzying array of color combinations, including white, pink, red, blue and purple.

Mountain hydrangea differs mainly in its smaller stature and proclivity toward the “lacecap” floral type. These species are the hydrangeas famous for exhibiting varying flower color depending on soil chemistry. Acid soils (higher pH) encourage flowers that tend toward blue, while neutral to basic soils (lower pH) lead to pink flowers. Newer reblooming varieties such as Endless Summer all but guarantee a captivating floral show from spring through fall.

Finally, two additional species typify a decidedly non-traditional concept of hydrangeas. Both are climbing vines quite adept at scrambling up walls, fences and even the sides of buildings. Though differing in small fairly obscure botanical traits, Climbing hydrangea and the Japanese hydrangea vine are used similarly in the landscape. Both offer lacey white flower clusters in late spring and add a new dimension to how hydrangeas beautify our gardens.

UD Botanic Gardens

The UD Botanic Gardens are open year-round to provide ideas and inspiration, or for a quiet stroll.

UDBG contributes to an understanding of the relationships between plants and people through education, research, cooperative extension, and community support.

Article by Jason Veil, UDBG curatorial graduate teaching assistant

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

UD sets symposium on global challenges in agriculture, environment, energy

brazil group symposiumsymposium highlighting the global impact of work by University of Delaware and Brazilian faculty, graduate students and undergraduate interns will be held May 21-22 at the Trabant University Center on the UD campus in Newark.

Widely considered one of the world’s most important emerging and developing countries, Brazil has one of the largest and fastest growing agricultural economies in the world and is a major U.S. trade partner.

nterest in Brazil’s rapid transition to global leadership in food and bioenergy production, along with the environmental and economic issues surrounding this transition, has led to partnerships between UD and the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA).

Led by UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) over more than three years, a wide range of research projects, faculty and student exchanges, study abroad programs and collaborative workshops have been held.

The symposium will bring together a large and diverse group of UFLA and UD faculty and students to share knowledge on key themes in Brazil that have global impacts on food security and the environment.

Keynote presentations will be made by Luiz Roberto Guimarães Guilherme, professor of soil and environment at UFLA, who will speak on “Brazil’s Role as a Global Food Basket: Challenges and Opportunities.”

Other keynote presentations will be made by Paul Thompson, W.K. Kellogg Chair in Food, Agricultural and Community Ethics at Michigan State University, who will discuss ethical issues related to biofuels, and Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, speaking on the importance of building agricultural links between Delaware and Brazil.

Important themes of the symposium include agricultural innovations for global food production systems; food safety and security in the global food chain; ecology and sustaining and protecting fragile environments; and ethical and public policy issues concerning biofuels.

The symposium is co-sponsored by CANR; UFLA; UD’s Center for Science, Ethics, and Public Policy; UD’s College of Arts and Sciences; the Delaware Environmental Institute; the Institute for Global Studies; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture International Science and Education program.

To obtain more information on the symposium and to pre-register, visit the website.

The institutions have worked cooperatively on a USDA-funded agricultural research project and UD has hosted UFLA speakers.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources announces Ag Day date

ag-day-2013-bird-showAg Day, an annual tradition of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at the University of Delaware, will be held on Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The theme of Ag Day 2014 is “Feed the World. Protect the Planet.” In keeping with this theme, the Food Bank of Delaware will be on hand accepting donations of non-perishable food items.

Members of the campus community, and the surrounding community, are encouraged to join the college for a day filled with music, exhibitors, great food, and fun on UD’s South Campus.

Celebrating all that the college has to offer, visitors can experience everything from bird shows to bee demonstrations, livestock exhibits, 4-H arts and crafts, farm tours, plant sales, and much more.

The event will be held at CANR’s Townsend Hall, located at 531 South College Avenue in Newark. Both admission and parking are free and the event is open to the public.

Ag Day is family friendly, however, for the safety of the live animal demonstrations, organizers ask that all pets be left at home.

Registration for exhibitors and vendors is now open and runs until March 14. Registration is available on the Ag Day website.

The website also features additional information, announcements, and schedules, and will be updated as the event approaches.

Photo by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

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