CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

December 17, 2009

May 27, 2014 admin

Message from the Dean

  • CA&ES Community




A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: CA&ES Community

This is the season when we take time to reflect on the events, challenges, and accomplishments of the past year. It is also a season of celebration, so I will share with you some reasons I think our college should celebrate. The excellence of a college can be assessed by a variety of measures, including student enrollment, student quality, research activity, and gifts to the college. The comparative data in all of these areas show that our college did very well this past year. By each of these measures, we reached new highs for our college, and we were campus leaders in a number of important areas.

Beyond quantitative measures, the most important reason to celebrate is that our college is a community with strong traditions of friendships, close collaborations, and cooperation—a community that takes pride in the successes of all. Perhaps we’ve inherited the old rural barn-raising tradition of pitching in together to help each other. Throughout this past year I have seen many examples of small acts of kindness that together create the warmth of our CA&ES community, which is truly a reason to celebrate. Have a great holiday season.

As always, I value your feedback. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail me.

Neal K. Van Alfen
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
[email protected]




Missy Borel: California Agricultural Leadership Program

1210_missyborel.JPGMissy Borel, program manager at the UC Davis California Center for Urban Horticulture, has been selected to participate in the 2009-2010 California Agricultural Leadership Program. Her 24-person class, the 40th selected in the program's history, was recently inaugurated in Sacramento. The California Agricultural Leadership Program is an intensive two-year fellowship that offers professional and personal leadership development experience to program participants. The program has been in operation since 1969 and has more than 1,000 alumni, including prominent leaders in agriculture and government. Leadership participants attend a 10-day national seminar during the first year and a 15-day international seminar during the second year of the program.

At the California Center for Urban Horticulture, Borel coordinates programs that help relate university research to a broad statewide audience, including industry professionals, master gardeners, and the public. She is a UC Davis alumna, with a B.S. in plant sciences and an M.S. in horticulture and agronomy. Borel also serves on the board of Tree Davis.

Melissa (Missy) Borel
(530) 752-6642
[email protected]



Ann Filmer and Karen Klonsky: California Organic Products Advisory Committee

1210_AnnFilmer.jpg12_10Klonsky.jpgAnn King Filmer and Karen Klonsky have been appointed by California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura to three-year terms on the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC). Filmer is director of communications for CA&ES, and is serving as the environmental representative on COPAC. Klonsky is a specialist in Cooperative Extension in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and is serving a second term as a technical representative on COPAC.

COPAC board members advise the Secretary of Agriculture and California Department of Food and Agriculture staff members in the California Organic Program on issues related to the California Organic Products Act and the federal Organic Foods Production Act in an effort to protect consumers, producers, handlers, processors, and retailers of agricultural products and foods that are labeled or sold as organic.

Ann Filmer
(530) 754-6788
[email protected]

Karen Klonsky
(530) 752-3563
[email protected]



Richard Karban, Jay Rosenheim, Valerie Williamson: AAAS Fellows

Three CA&ES faculty are among the eight UC Davis faculty members newly named as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The rank is conferred on AAAS members for their efforts to advance science or its applications.

1210karban.jpgRichard Karban, professor in the Department of Entomology and in the UC Davis Center for Population Biology, studies population regulation of animal species and the interactions between plant-eating insects and the plants on which they depend. His current research focuses on how sagebrush emits volatile chemicals when some of its branches are damaged. These chemical cues cause many changes in neighboring plants, some of which make the nearby undamaged plants better able to defend themselves against their plant-munching enemies. Karban also has been monitoring populations of wooly bear caterpillars at Bodega Bay, north of San Francisco, for 25 years and is working to better understand the factors that impact the abundance and distribution of the caterpillars in that area. He teaches courses in field and community ecology.

1210Rosenheim.jpgJay Rosenheim, professor in the Department of Entomology and at the Center for Population Biology, studies insects to better understand interactions between insects and plants, predators and their prey, and parasites and the plants on which they feed. His current studies include research on how organisms evolve to maximize their reproduction despite limiting environmental factors. He also is studying how the vast amounts of biological data now available can be tapped to address important problems in agricultural insect ecology. His third area of research aims to develop a sound understanding of how communities of insects, spiders, crustaceans, and other arthropods function, with a special emphasis on the role of predators in those communities. He teaches courses on introductory biology and population biology.

1210williamson.jpgProfessor Valerie Williamson, Department of Nematology, is an expert on nematodes, or roundworms, which are found in virtually every environment on earth. She also is an authority on the molecular and genetic basis of pest-resistance in crop plants. Her current research is focused on root-knot nematodes, a group of parasitic nematodes that live in the soil and cause plants to form galls or giant cells on their roots, resulting in significant crop damage. In 2008, Williamson and a team of researchers completed the genome sequence and genetic map for the tiny northern root-knot nematode, one of the world’s most common and destructive plant parasites and a model species for research on plant-parasitic nematodes. She teaches courses on molecular biology laboratory techniques and on agricultural biotechnology.

Also named as AAAS Fellows from UC Davis were Professor David Amaral, UC Davis School of Medicine; Peggy Farnham, professor of pharmacology and associate director of the UC Davis Genome Center; Professor Katherine Ferrara, founding chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering; Professor Susan Kauzlarich, Department of Chemistry; and John Roth, distinguished professor in the Department of Microbiology. The 531 newly elected AAAS fellows will be honored in February at the society’s annual meeting in San Diego.

Richard Karban
(530) 752-2800
[email protected]

Jay Rosenheim
(530) 752-4481
[email protected]

Valerie Williamson
(530) 752-3502
[email protected]




Gates Workshop on Postharvest Technology

1210_postharvest gathering.jpgIn November, specialists in the field of postharvest technology gathered at UC Davis for a planning workshop sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Representing 12 countries, the specialists met to discuss their findings on postharvest losses for horticultural crops over the past year and compare notes on results from the Appropriate Postharvest Technology Planning Project. In addition, they broke into four teams focused on developing long-range, high-impact projects. Two teams focused on Sub-Saharan Africa, and two on South Asia. Postharvest losses and food safety are some of the major factors facing small farmers in the developing world.

In conjunction with the project leader, Lisa Kitinoja of the World Food Logistics Organization, UC Davis organizers included Cooperative Extension specialists Marita Cantwell, Beth Mitcham, and Jim Thompson. Additional key participants included Professor Michael Reid and Professor Emeritus Adel Kader, as well as Paul Marcotte and Mark Bell of the CA&ES International Programs Office. Attendees included representatives from AVRDC, IITA, Amity University, KIST, Tamale PolyTechnic, ZEGA, DAI, Fintrac and ACDI/VOCA. In the photo, postharvest specialists are shown in front of the Plant and Environmental Sciences Building.

Pam Devine
Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center
(530) 754-4326
[email protected]



Call for Nominations: Small Farm Program Awards

Nominations are open for the 2010 Pedro Ilic Awards, which honor a farmer and an agricultural educator who are dedicated to small-scale farming. The awards are named for small-scale farm advisor Pedro Ilic, whose untimely death in 1994 prompted the UC Small Farm Program to honor those who carry out Illic’s commitment to small-scale and family farming.

The deadline for nominations is January 15, 2010. Last year's honorees were Dan Macon, an innovative Placer County rancher, and Jim Leap, farm manager for UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.

Nominations are online at More information about the awards, including past recipients, is available at The awards will be presented in March at the California Small Farm Conference in San Diego.

Brenda Dawson
Small Farm Center
(530) 752-7849
[email protected]



Arboretum Volunteer Training

Volunteer training for the UC Davis Arboretum will begin in January. All skill levels are welcome, and various volunteer positions are available.

  • Gardeners work in groups on weekday mornings to help maintain and beautify the arboretum gardens.
  • Nursery caretakers work as a team to tend the nursery at the Arboretum Headquarters.
  • Curatorial volunteers verify plant taxonomy and catalog new plant acquisitions.
  • Planting records volunteers document new plantings, inventory the gardens, and update arboretum GIS maps.
  • Docents lead public tours of the gardens.
  • Naturalists lead environmental education programs for elementary school children in spring and fall.

To join one of these teams, volunteers must register and complete the four-week introductory training class, which starts Wednesday, January 20 and runs for four consecutive Wednesday mornings, 9 a.m. to noon, through February 10. The class will be followed by specialized training for each crew. Volunteers commit to working at least one three-hour shift per week.

Suzanne Ullensvang
Arboretum Resource Development Manager
(530) 752-8324
[email protected]



WCAHS Monthly Seminar Series

The Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety hosts monthly seminars on topics related to agricultural health. Co-sponsors include the Center for Chicano/a Studies and the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security. The presentations will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. in 3201 Hart Hall. Refreshments are provided by University Catering.

Dates and topics for upcoming seminars include:

  • January 4, 2010: Department of Pesticide Regulation’s Monitoring Network
  • February 1, 2010: WCAHS Graduate Student Presentations

Sandra Freeland
Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
(530) 752-5253
[email protected]



Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

  • “Folk Music Jam Session”
    Friday, December 11, noon to 1 p.m., Wyatt Deck.

    The arboretum's folk music jams are held outside on the Wyatt Deck next to the redwood grove. Campus and community folk musicians are invited to play together informally during this acoustic jam session. Bring your fiddles, guitars, mandolins, penny whistles, pipes, flutes, and squeezeboxes, and join fellow musicians for bluegrass, old-time, blues, Celtic, klezmer, and world music. Listeners and musicians of all skill levels welcome.





Fruit Tree Workshop: January 8, 2010

1210_ccuh.jpgLearn to create and maintain sustainable home orchards of any size at a January 8 workshop organized by the California Center for Urban Horticulture and the Master Gardener program (rain date, January 22). The workshop will be held at Foundation Plant Services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will cover bare root tree selection, pruning, and pest prevention measures. The $45 registration fee includes parking, morning coffee, lunch, and a bare root fruit tree, grower’s choice. Partners for this event include Foundation Plant Services, the Department of Plant Sciences, L.E. Cooke Co., Pacific Gas & Electric Co., and the Pearlstein Family Foundation.

For more information and to register, visit

Melissa (Missy) Borel
California Center for Urban Horticulture
(530) 752-6642
[email protected]



Weed Control Conference: January 11–13, 2010

“Looking into the Future of Weed Control,” the 62nd annual conference of the California Weed Science Society, will meet January 11–13 at the Visalia Convention Center. Topics include advances in herbicide development, herbicide resistance, organic weed control, and transgenic crops, as well as new research on weed biology and management. For registration or more information, visit

Gale Perez
Weed Research and Information Center
(530) 752-1748
[email protected]



Tomato Research Day: January 13, 2010

Tomato Research Day will be held Wednesday, January 13, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theatre of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Lectures are intended for members of the tomato industry—tomato processors, breeders, growers, marketers, and UC-affiliated researchers.

The registration fee is $50 for industry and government, and $25 for UC-affiliated attendees. At the request of sponsors, all-day attendance is required for UC attendees. The fee includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and for off-campus attendees, a visitor parking permit. The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Food Science and Technology, the Robert Mondavi Institute, the California Institute of Food and Agricultural Research, the California League of Food Processors, and HeinzSeed. For registration and more information, visit


Zann Gates
Department of Food Science and Technology
(530) 752-5901
[email protected]






Olive Oil Marketing Symposium: January 15, 2010

Olive oil producers, wholesale buyers, retailers, importers/exporters, and food writers will gather on campus January 15 for the Olive Oil Marketing and Language Symposium. The event is sponsored by the UC Davis Olive Center and the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. It has been planned to precede the 35th Winter Fancy Foods Show, to be held January 17–19 in San Francisco's Moscone Center.

The symposium will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Speakers include acclaimed food writer and food chemist Harold McGee; Bruce Aidells, founder of Aidells Sausage Company; Lisa McManus, senior editor of “Cook's Illustrated” magazine; sensory scientist Herb Stone; food marketing consultant Dan Strongin; and Darrell Corti, co-owner and president of Corti Brothers, Grocers and Wine Merchants in Sacramento.

Registration fee is $225 per person for early registrants, $275 per person as of December 21. Registration can be completed online at the Olive Center site at

Nicole Sturzenberger
UC Davis Olive Center
(530) 754-9301
[email protected]



Fruit Ripening Workshop: February 25–26, 2010

The 16th annual Fruit Ripening and Ethylene Management Workshop will be held February 25–26 at the UC Kearney Agricultural Center located in Parlier, California. The workshop is intended for shippers and destination (wholesale and retail) handlers who are involved in ripening fruits and fruit-vegetables. The workshop focuses on how to increase profits by delivering ready-to-eat, delicious fruits and fruit-vegetables to the consumer.

Registration is $700 and includes classroom instruction, lab activities, course materials, morning and afternoon coffee breaks, and lunches. Enrollment is requested by February 11, 2010. There is a limit of 50 for the workshop, and a waiting list will be available for additional registrations. For more information, visit

Pam Devine
Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center
(530) 752-6941
[email protected]



California Small Farm Conference: February 28–March 2, 2010

The 2010 California Small Farm Conference will meet February 28 to March 2 in San Diego. The conference theme, “Sustaining our Bounty,” reflects the abundance of agricultural products grown and produced in California. The conference will provide California small farmers and farmers market managers with new ideas for success through short courses, farm tours, intensive classroom workshops, keynote addresses, and networking.

For registration and additional information, visit

Brenda Dawson
Small Farm Program
(530) 752-7849
[email protected]



CA&ES Field Day: March 5–6, 2010

Mark your calendars for the 2010 CA&ES Field Day, to be held March 5–6 on the UC Davis campus. Field Day is open to FFA and 4-H high school students from California and surrounding states. Students compete in a variety of contests, ranging from livestock judging to agriculture computer applications. UC Davis students coordinate the contests. CA&ES faculty and staff serve as volunteer advisers and judges.

For more information, visit the Field Day website at

Grace Cun
2010 Field Day Coordinator
(530) 752-4939
[email protected]



International Drought Symposium: March 24–26, 2010

The International Drought Symposium will meet March 24–26 on the UC Riverside campus. The event is organized by the Water Science and Policy Center of UC Riverside. The conference will bring together multidisciplinary teams from California, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, and Spain to address the issue of water scarcity. Scientists, policymakers, and water managers will compare technological, economic, institutional, and policy measures used to combat drought conditions. For more information, visit

Carol O’Brien
Water Science and Policy Center
UC Riverside
(951) 827-5116
[email protected]



Agricultural Groundwater Conference: June 15–17, 2010

“Toward Sustainable Groundwater in Agriculture: An International Conference Linking Science and Policy” will meet June 15–17 at the San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency in Burlingame. There will be additional groundwater workshops on June 14 and an agricultural groundwater tour on June 18. The conference is organized by UC Davis and the Water Education Foundation, sponsored by the Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair.

The three-day conference will provide scientists, policymakers, and agricultural and environmental stakeholders with information about the latest advances for sustaining groundwater resources in agricultural regions around the world.

Abstracts for the conference will be accepted until December 31, 2009. Learn more about how to submit an abstract at For program updates and additional information, visit To register for the conference, visit

Beth Stern
Water Education Foundation
(916) 444-6240
[email protected]



Visit CA&ES Currents online at

CA&ES Currents, the faculty/staff newsletter of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis, is published the second Thursday of each month.

News deadline is noon Monday preceding Thursday publication. Send news items to editor, [email protected].

Editor: Robin DeRieux

Writing: Robin DeRieux, Elisabeth Kauffman, Neal Van Alfen

Editorial review: Ann Filmer, Thomas Kaiser

To be added to or deleted from this electronic newsletter list, please send an e-mail to: [email protected].

The University of California does not discriminate in any of its policies, procedures, or practices.

The university is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

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