CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

July 16, 2009

May 27, 2014 admin

Message from the Dean




A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Endowment Funding

Challenging budget environments remind us that it is important to have a diversity of funding sources to support our goals. In recent years, our college has increased its efforts in seeking gifts—particularly endowments—to help support the college. Having endowment funds to support a faculty member or an important college program is helping us maintain excellence in difficult financial times. It is also reinforces the importance of maintaining our investment in the people who help us raise these gifts.

With your help, the College Advancement Team, led by Assistant Dean Christine Schmidt, has been remarkably successful in fundraising, leading UC Davis efforts by helping raise almost $38 million in gift funds this past year. This number reflects all gifts to the college, as well as philanthropic grants acquired by staff and faculty (including Kay Dewey’s large Gates Foundation grant this year).

We are particularly pleased that new endowed chairs will be provided to faculty this coming year because of these efforts. Endowed chairs provide funding to the holder of the chair, allowing that faculty member to better support her/his teaching efforts or to pursue innovative research. Having these endowed chairs assures that we can recruit the very best faculty and maintain programs in areas that would be otherwise at risk. We are steadily increasing the numbers of endowed chairs and Cooperative Extension specialist chairs in the college.

The fundraising by our College Advancement Team has helped the college address critical facilities issues and establish endowments to support departmental programs. They deserve a sincere thank you from all of us for their success on our behalf. 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]



Denise Besser: Citation for Excellence


Denise Besser, an advising assistant with the Department of Human and Community Development, received a 2009 Citation for Excellence in the category of “individual campus service” from the UC Davis Staff Assembly. The Citations for Excellence recognize individuals for campus service, general contributions and supervision, and teams for campus service and general contributions. They are awarded in conjunction with the annual Thank Goodness for Staff celebration after receiving nominations from the campus community.

Besser was honored for her consistent, professional, high quality support to students, staff, faculty, and visitors. She was also recognized for helping faculty understand the needs of students, and for being an efficient and accessible source of consistent, helpful responses about undergraduate instruction.

Denise Besser
(530) 752-1805
[email protected]

Bryan Jenkins: 2009 Johannes Linneborn Prize


Professor Bryan Jenkins, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, was honored for outstanding contributions to the development of energy from biomass at the 17th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition. Jenkins was awarded the 2009 Johannes Linneborn Prize in Hamburg, Germany at the end of June. Johannes Linneborn lived from 1899 to 1991 and was a pioneer in modern biomass utilization. The prize in his name was established in 1994.

Jenkins is executive director of the California Biomass Collaborative, a statewide collaboration of government, industry, environmental groups, and educational institutions that is administered for the state by our campus. He is also director of the UC Davis Energy Institute, which coordinates energy research and education on campus and facilitates interactions with other programs, both national and international.

Jenkins conducts research that focuses on energy and power, with an emphasis on biomass systems and thermochemical conversion. This includes investigations into the fundamental combustion and gasification behavior of biomass and the characterization of important fuel properties, small scale gasification systems for remote power applications, and energy utilization in controlled environments, such as greenhouses.

Bryan Jenkins
(530) 752-1422
[email protected]

Patsy Eubanks Owens: Capital Public Radio Interview


Patsy Eubanks Owens, a professor of landscape architecture in the Department of Environmental Design, was interviewed for Capital Public Radio’s “Insight” program on June 30. “Insight” is a daily interview program that covers issues facing the Sacramento region.

Owens is part of a multidisciplinary study called Healthy Youth/Healthy Regions, a collaborative partnership between the UC Davis Center for Regional Change, Sierra Health Foundation, The California Endowment, and the California Council for the Humanities. The study is documenting the connections between improvements in youth well-being and regional prosperity in the nine-county Sacramento region. As part of the study, Owens and others helped West Sacramento youth create an interactive map to show what helps or hinders young people in their community. The “Sactown Heroes” and researchers unveiled the web-based map and shared their visions for community change at a West Sacramento event in June.

For “Insight,” Capital Public Radio interviewed Owens, as well as a Sierra Health Foundation representative and one of the “Sactown Heroes” who participated in the mapping project, to hear how the research might help future city leaders make West Sacramento a healthier place for youth.
To hear the podcast, visit

Patsy Eubanks Owens
(530) 752-9145
[email protected]



UC Davis Strawberries Star in Canadian Story

UC Davis plants scientists were featured in a “Toronto Star” article that traces the journey of California strawberries to the plates of party guests in a Canadian living room. “A Strawberry’s Journey: From West to Feast” ran June 21, 2009. Canada’s largest daily newspaper included quotes from plant sciences professor Doug Shaw, Foundation Plant Services researcher Susan Sim, as well as Professor Emeritus Adel Kader, plant sciences. Curtis Gains of the Technology Transfer Center served as liaison for the “Toronto Star” reporter as she travelled throughout California to research the story.

The article traces the strawberry variety eaten by party guests, Albion, to plant breeder and geneticist Doug Shaw. Plant pathologist Sue Sim discusses the role played by Foundation Plant Services in developing strawberry varieties. Adel Kader, an expert in postharvest handling, discusses research on the importance of cooling berries after harvest.

Read the complete article at

Sue Sim
(530) 754-8346
[email protected]

Exhibit: 25 Stories from the Central Valley

“25 Stories from the Central Valley,” will be on display through August 23 at the Nelson Gallery in the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. This campus-community project uses photos, theater, stories, and sound to paint a vivid picture of the environmental problems faced by Central Valley communities, as told by women leading the movement to solve them. The exhibit is based on the master’s thesis of UC Davis alumna Tracy Perkins. For more information, visit

Sharon Ruth
John Muir Institute of the Environment
(530) 752-9178
[email protected]

Call for Nominations: Farm Health and Safety

The Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety is accepting nominations for the WCAHS Outstanding Achievement in Farm Health and Safety Award, which honors an individual, group, organization, or business/industry that consistently strives to reduce agricultural workplace injuries and improve overall health in the agricultural workplace. Nominations for the second annual award are due July 15, 2009. Last year, the $1,000 award (funded by the Western Growers Association) was presented to the Sacramento Country Farm Bureau, with an honorable mention to Silverado Farming Company in Napa.

For more information or to submit a nomination, visit
Sandra Freeland
Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
(530) 752-4050
[email protected]

Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

  • “Folk Music Jam Session”
    Friday, July 24, 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.
  • “Water-Smart Plants”
    Saturday, July 18, 10 a.m., Gazebo.
    Homeowners interested in reducing their household water consumption can learn how to create a beautiful garden that will continue to provide a green retreat in drought conditions. An arboretum tour guide will point out easy-to-grow, drought-tolerant plants that look great in the home garden.


Weed Day: July 16, 2009

The 53rd annual Weed Day will meet Thursday, July 16 to give pest control advisors, farm advisors, chemical company cooperators, regulatory officials, students, and others the opportunity to learn more about current weed science research on campus.

Cooperative Extension specialist Tom Lanini with the Department of Plant Sciences will chair this year’s event. Weed Day begins at 8 a.m. with a morning bus tour to the campus research fields to view demonstrations and research in terrestrial and aquatic weed control. Lunch and afternoon presentations will be held indoors. Registration is $75 after July 9. The cost for students with ID is $15. Class size is limited, so early enrollment is advised. For more information or registration, visit

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


Grapevine Canopy Management Symposium: July 16, 2009


An industry-focused symposium on the proper training and care of a grapevine's shoots, leaves, and grape bunches will meet July 16, 2009 in Freeborn Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The International Grapevine Canopy Management Symposium will feature scientists from France, Italy, Germany, Australia, Canada, and the United States. They will present recent research findings and advances in canopy management practices in their respective countries. The symposium is planned as a tribute to UC Davis viticulture professor emeritus Mark Kliewer, who organized the first international canopy management symposium at UC Davis in 1986.

For more information and online registration, visit

James Wolpert
Viticulture and Enology
(530) 754-6245
[email protected]

Honey Bee Conference: August 17–20


The 31st annual Western Apicultural Society Conference will meet August 17–20 in Healdsburg, California. Founded in 1978, the Western Apicultural Society is a nonprofit, educational, beekeeping organization whose members are primarily beekeepers from throughout western North America.

Several UC Davis faculty members will speak at the conference, including: Michelle Flenniken, who holds the UC Davis Haagen-Dazs Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Honey Bee Biology, and is also a researcher at UC San Francisco; Robbin Thorp, professor emeritus of entomology; Neal Williams, a new entomology faculty member; and Liz Applegate, a lecturer in the Department of Nutrition.

In addition to presentations on bee health and disease research, the conference will include such topics as beekeeping with minimal chemical input, cooperative rearing of local honey bee stocks, identifying non-Apis pollinators, and the impacts of native bees on commercial crop production. Various aspects of honey and human health will be addressed.

For registration or additional information, visit

Eric Mussen
Department of Entomology
(530) 752-0472
[email protected]

International Plant Nutrition Colloquium: August 26–30, 2009

The 16th annual International Plant Nutrition Colloquium will meet in Sacramento from Wednesday, August 26 through Sunday, August 30. “Plant Nutrition for Sustainable Development and Global Health,” hosted by the Department of Plant Sciences and CA&ES, will highlight advances in fundamental and applied plant nutrition, and emphasize the role of plant nutrition in food systems and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit

Patrick Brown
Plant Sciences
(530) 752-0929
[email protected]

Fresh-Cut Workshop: September 22–24, 2009

The UC Davis Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center is accepting registration for the 14th annual “Focus on Fresh-Cut!” workshop, to be held at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center on September 22–24, 2009.

The rapidly expanding food category of fresh-cut products (cleaned, washed, cut, packaged, and refrigerated fruits and vegetables) requires that produce be handled and packaged to maintain freshness, ensure safety, extend shelf life, and provide good eating quality. This workshop is designed for individuals from the fresh and processed fruit and vegetable industries, and will be of interest to food scientists, food engineers, quality assurance personnel, and new product development staff. The course is also valuable to representatives from research institutions, the restaurant and institutional food industries, and packaging and ingredient suppliers.

Enrollment is requested by September 4, 2009. For registration and more information, visit

Marita Cantwell
Plant Sciences
(530) 752-7305
[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].

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The university is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.
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