CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

May 14, 2009

May 27, 2014 admin

Message from the Dean









A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Strategic Planning for ANR

A statewide conference of all faculty and staff associated with the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) was held in April for the first time in eight years. The ANR conference culminated a yearlong effort of strategic planning and major reviews of programs led by the new vice president, Dan Dooley. The energy and enthusiasm exhibited by the conference attendees reflected a growing optimism that this organization is taking a serious look at itself and is planning for the future.

The reports of two high-level external reviews of ANR were recently released. One was a review by the USDA/Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service of our Cooperative Extension program. The other was a review of ANR from the UC Provost’s office. There were common messages in the reports that warrant serious consideration: that ANR should renew and expand its connections within the UC system, as well as strengthen its connections to all external stakeholders.

The relationships of county programs to campuses, and campuses to each other, were seen as areas that could be improved. It was very gratifying to read in each of the reviews that the county and campus programs were judged to be outstanding by our reviewers—programs that lead the country in quality. We all hope that these reviews will help us resolve some long-standing issues related to the equivalency of our Cooperative Extension faculty within the UC system and will help us better understand the role of the Agricultural Experiment Station within the UC System. Although these are stressful times because of our budget challenges, it is also a time of opportunity to strengthen the role of ANR within the UC system.

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]





Husein Ajwa: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Award


Husein Ajwa, Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences, was recently awarded a 2009 Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Since 1990, the EPA has recognized the efforts of organizations and individuals who are working to protect the earth’s ozone layer.

Ajwa and six other researchers and scientists working on iodomethane with Arysta LifeScience North America LLC were honored this year by the EPA in the “corporate and government” award category. Iodomethane (methyl iodide) is the key ingredient in a next-generation soil fumigant that is an alternative for methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting substance. As a vegetable crop specialist, Ajwa has conducted extensive research on iodomethane and other soil fumigants over the last eight years, in collaboration with colleagues from the USDA-Agricultural Research Services and the University of Florida.

Ajwa’s research interests include soil and water management, methyl bromide alternatives, and cool-season vegetables. He works in the Salinas office of Cooperative Extension, which is housed with the USDA-ARS. Ajwa and other winners of the ozone layer protection awards were honored for their environmental efforts at an April ceremony in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Husein Ajwa
(831) 755-2823
[email protected]



Missy Borel: Media Appearances on Sustainable Gardening

Missy Borel, program manager at the California Center for Urban Horticulture, has appeared on News10, the local ABC affiliate, as well as Fox 40 News, Capital Public Radio, and other local media shows this spring promoting sustainable backyard gardening. The California Center for Urban Horticulture does research and outreach to help state residents maintain environmentally sound landscapes.

Two popular topics for Borel are honey bees (gardening to promote pollinators), and the UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars (drought tolerant plants recommended for Central Valley gardens).

For a look at various newsstories featuring Borel as a representative for the CCUH, visit:

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



Frank Mitloehner: Outstanding Research Award


Frank Mitloehner, a Cooperative Extension specialist in air quality in the Department of Animal Science, received a 2009 ANR Distinguished Service Award at the recent Agriculture and Natural Resources conference held in Sacramento. Mitloehner won the Outstanding Research Award for his work to improve livestock production systems and describe the nature of their environmental impact. Some of his research studies concern air quality in the San Joaquin Valley, which ranks as the worst in the country.

Mitloehner's research is vital to California's $4.6 billion, 1.8 million-cow dairy industry because producers must comply with strict new pollution regulations. On a larger scale, the cattle industry contributes greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Mitloehner has developed new ways to measure airborne pollutants and methods to measure the impact of cattle on air pollution. One of his most visible studies is his work conducted in 'bovine bubbles,' which contain cattle and allow precise measurements of their gas emissions. At the invitation of the Office of the Chief Economist in the White House and the USDA, he serves on a federal advisory committee on climate change.

The ANR Distinguished Service Awards acknowledge outstanding accomplishments over a significant period of time by UC Cooperative Extension academics.

Frank Mitloehner
(530) 752-3936
[email protected]



Marilyn Townsend: Outstanding Teamwork Award


Marilyn Townsend, a Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist in the Department of Nutrition, received a 2009 ANR Distinguished Service Award at the recent Agriculture and Natural Resources conference held in Sacramento. Townsend is part of the eight-member EatFit nutrition education team that won the Outstanding Teamwork Award.

EatFit is a program that promotes healthy eating behavior among youth. Using nine lessons and a Web-based eating analysis, it provides a flexible and interactive way for teachers and educators to integrate obesity prevention and nutrition education into their programs, particularly at schools in low-income communities. To date, the program has been used by 35 counties, reaching 105,000 California youth. Students participating in EatFit adopted healthy eating and physical activity behaviors, while improving their academic performance in mathematics and language arts.

The ANR Distinguished Service Awards acknowledge outstanding accomplishments over a significant period of time by UC Cooperative Extension academics.

Marilyn Townsend
(530) 754-9222
[email protected]



Alison Van Eenennaam: Outstanding New Professional Award


Alison Van Eenennaam, a Cooperative Extension specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology in the Department of Animal Science, received a 2009 ANR Distinguished Service Award at the recent Agriculture and Natural Resources conference held in Sacramento. Van Eenennaam won the Outstanding New Professional Award for her work in animal genomics and biotechnology. She was recognized for her robust research and extension biotechnology program and for her ability to identify the most pressing clientele issues and develop projects that resolve those challenges. Current projects in her lab include using DNA information in beef cattle production systems, transgenic modification of milk fatty acid composition, and the development of methods for the biological containment of transgenic fish.

Van Eenennaam was also commended for her use of alternative media in outreach. She produced an award-winning 30-minute educational video that presents biotechnology in layman’s terms. Van Eenennaam has been appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to serve on the National Advisory Committee On Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture.

The ANR Distinguished Service Awards acknowledge outstanding accomplishments over a significant period of time by UC Cooperative Extension academics.

Alison Van Eenennaam
(530) 752-7942
[email protected]





“Landscape Journal” Recognition for Landscape Architecture

The Landscape Architecture Program in the Department of Environmental Design is featured prominently in the January issue of “Landscape Journal,” in an article that analyzes authorship and article content over the journal’s 25-year history. “Landscape Journal” is the most prestigious peer-reviewed academic journal in the study of landscape architecture.

UC Davis was recognized as having the highest number of published articles among the 152 different academic, professional, and government author affiliations noted. Of the 14 most prolific affiliations, nine were public land-grant universities. The article also noted that Professor Mark Francis and Professor Emeritus Rob Thayer are among a handful of people who have authored four publications for the journal during its existence.

Shannon Tanguay
Department of Environmental Design
(530) 752-1127
[email protected]



Grant for Postharvest Strategies

The World Food Logistics Organization, in partnership with our college’s Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center, received a $1.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to identify postharvest strategies to increase the incomes of small-farm growers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

By making improvements in the handling, transportation, and storage of harvested crops, rural farmers can reduce crop losses and keep fruits and vegetables marketable longer. This project will create an international network of specialists at institutions in Benin, Ghana, Rwanda, India, and the United States, who will determine the extent of postharvest crop losses and formulate suggested interventions.

Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center
Jim Gorny
(530) 754-9270
[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]



Brainstorming Sessions on Advancing Faculty Diversity

The campus has initiated a process to prepare a proposal for the NSF ADVANCE program, which is designed to increase the representation and advancement of diverse faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Faculty and staff are invited to participate in one of several brainstorming sessions. Ideas are sought on:

  • How UC Davis can compete for the best diverse faculty candidates
  • How we can foster successful careers for all faculty
  • How we can promote a culture that values excellence and diversity
  • How leadership positions in administration can be diversified

Remaining brainstorming sessions will be held:

  • Wednesday, May 20, 10–11 a.m., De Carli Room, 2nd Floor MU
  • Thursday, May 21, 2–3 p.m., De Carli Room, 2nd Floor MU

Barbara Horwitz
Vice Provost for Academic Personnel   
(530) 752-2072
[email protected]



Picnic Day Parade Winners


Congratulations to three CA&ES departments that had winning entries in the 2009 Picnic Day Parade.

The Horse Barn in the Department of Animal Science won the “best animal entry” category. Equine Facilities supervisor Joel Viloria said that undergraduate student foal managers paraded eight yearlings that were bred and raised in the campus Horse Barn. The Cal Aggie Marching Band Uh! did a few practice sessions at the Horse Barn before the event to get the yearlings accustomed to parade noises. The yearlings that wowed the crowd at Picnic Day will be available for purchase on June 20 at the Horse Barn’s annual sale. For more information, visit


The Department of Plant Sciences won “best theme representation” with a float that featured Snow White and a wicked stepmother. According to facility manager Lee Ann Richmond, who was in charge of the department float this year, the float was divided by a faux wall. On one side was a castle scene with a magic mirror and a poster that read, “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, what has Plant Sciences done for us all?”  On the other side was an outdoor scene featuring an apple tree and other fruits and vegetables, along with the words, “Hey Dude—bigger, better, healthier food!” Seven students wearing lab coats and dwarf hats walked the parade route handing out bags of carrots and sliced apples. More than a dozen plant sciences staff members helped on the float.


The Department of Food Science and Technology won the “best departmental entry” with a group of students (and some faculty) dressed as pieces of food, marching alongside a float with a banner announcing Picnic Day events at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. The events included an olive oil lecture and tasting, a chocolate lecture and tasting, as well as free ice cream and grapevines.



Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:


  • “Folk Music Jam Session” - Fridays, May 15 and May 29, 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.
  • “End of Season Clearance Plant Sale” - Saturday, May 16, 9 a.m. to noon, Arboretum Teaching Nursery.
    Home gardeners are invited to help clear out the arboretum nursery for the summer and take advantage of some great bargains on locally-grown, uncommon garden plants at the clearance sale. Join the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum at the door and receive a 20 percent discount on your purchases and a free plant.
  • “Simple Secrets for Great Container Gardens” - Saturday, May 16, 11 a.m., Arboretum Terrace Garden, Davis Commons, First Street.
    Participants can learn some simple secrets for great container gardens. The tour guide will show examples of planting in multiple layers and grouping a variety of containers of different types and sizes to create depth and density.
  • “Writers in the Garden: Hannah Stein” - Tuesday, May 19, 7 p.m., Wyatt Deck.
    Fans of good writing and beautiful gardens are invited to enjoy a reading by poet Hannah Stein. Stein is the author of the collections “Earthlight,” “Schools of Flying Fish,” and “Greatest Hits of Hannah Stein, 1981-2004.”
  • “Design Your Garden to Survive the Drought” - Saturday, May 23, 11 a.m., Arboretum Terrace Garden, Davis Commons, First Street.
    Homeowners can learn how to create a beautiful garden that will continue to provide a green retreat in drought conditions. Choosing less-thirsty plants and using shade structures, container gardens, and water features such as fountains and pools can lower ambient temperature while reducing water use.
  • “Writers in the Garden: Clarence Major” - Thursday, May 28, noon, Wyatt Deck.
    Enjoy a reading by poet, novelist, and painter Clarence Major. Major is the author of several ground-breaking anthologies and 30 books of poetry, fiction, essays, and criticism.
  • “Ethnobotany of California Native Plants” - Sunday, May 31, 2 p.m., Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.
    The connections between human cultures and their natural environment will be the theme of a free guided walk. The tour will focus on California native peoples and their deep knowledge of plants used for food, medicine, tools, and spiritual practices.






A Midsummer Night’s Dream: May 14–24, 2009

The arboretum will host a production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” presented by Studio 301 Productions. The play will be performed outdoors at the Wyatt Deck, Thursdays through Sundays, May 14–17 and May 21–24. All performances begin at 8 p.m., except the last performance on May 24, which will be a 2 p.m. matinee.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students, and $7 for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased at the venue before the event—cash only please. For seat reservations, please e-mail [email protected]  with your name, contact information, and number of seats requested. Reservations can also be made by phone at (408) 838-7551.



Hubert Heitman Staff Learning Center: May 14, 2009

The Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh! will kick off a naming ceremony and Open House for the Hubert Heitman Staff Learning Center to be held Thursday, May 14 from 12:45 to 3 p.m. The former hog barn has been remodeled and dedicated to honor the memory of Hubert Heitman, Jr., an emeritus professor of animal husbandry (now animal science).

Heitman, who joined the UC Davis faculty after World War II, specialized in swine nutrition and environmental physiology and worked to improve methods for commercial pig production. Heitman also completed two terms as chair of the Department of Animal Science. He served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and was a member of the Chancellor's Academic Council.

The Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh! performance that kicks off the building dedication will be from 12:45 to 1 p.m. The ceremony will be held from 1 to 1:20 p.m., to be followed by refreshments and an Open House until 3 p.m.

Kristine Stalls
Ceremonies and Special Events
(530) 754-2262
[email protected]



Viticulture and Enology Alumni Celebration: May 15, 2009

The Department of Viticulture and Enology has invited department alumni to celebrate the May 15 groundbreaking of the new LEED Platinum winery, the first of its kind in the world. The event is free, but attendees are invited to bring a bottle of their favorite wine to share. The day will include faculty presentations from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Lunch will be catered by The Buckhorn restaurant. The Open House from 1:30 to 4 p.m. will include facility tours at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science lead by faculty and researchers.

For more information, visit

Kay Bogart
Department of Viticulture and Enology
(530) 754-9876
[email protected]



Cheese Loves Beer: May 16, 2009

The public is invited to “Cheese Loves Beer: Mastering the Marriage,” to be held Saturday, May 16, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Co-sponsored by Slow Food Yolo, the event will feature talks from Charlie Bamforth, Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences, and Moshe Rosenberg, professor and Cooperative Extension specialist in dairy engineering and technology. Both are faculty in the Department of Food Science and Technology.

The event will include beer and cheese tastings and pairings. Tickets are $75, or $65 for Slow Food members and UC Davis affiliates. RSVP by May 8 to Kim Bannister.

Kim Bannister
Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science
(530) 754-6349
[email protected]



Alternatives to Pest Control: May 28, 2009

 “Safer Alternatives to Pest Control in Agriculture—Making the Public Health Case for Change” will meet May 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. in the ARC Ballroom B. The continuing education class is sponsored by the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, along with the UC Davis Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety and the California Department of Public Health.

This conference will bring together a diverse audience of growers, pesticide applicators, public health officials, researchers, and entrepreneurs to discuss how to promote change in agricultural pesticide use. The class will explore the public health impacts of pesticide use in agriculture, discuss barriers that growers face in choosing to use non-pesticide control methods and reduced-risk pesticides, learn about safer technologies, and develop strategies to promote the use of safer pest management alternatives in agriculture.

The course costs $25, and enrollment is limited to 50. For more information and registration, visit

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



Green Acres Blue Skies II: June 1–2, 2009


A conference to examine agriculture and air quality called “Green Acres Blue Skies II” will be held June 1–2 at the Activities and Recreation Center on campus. The event is hosted by the UC Davis Agriculture Air Quality Center and the UC Davis Air Quality Research Center, with support from the
California Air Resources Board. For more registration and more information about “Ag and Air Quality, Working Toward Common Solutions,” visit

Donna Reid
Air Quality Research Center
(530) 754-8374
[email protected]



Climate Change Forum: June 7, 2009

“Climate Change, Our Environment and How We Can Protect It” will meet Sunday, June 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the International House. Experts from campus, the California Energy Commission, the California Department of Conservation, the California Air Resources Board, and others will deliver their latest research and findings. The forum is organized by GreenSpot, a nongovernmental organization. Registration is $15 per person, or $10 for students, with snacks and lunch provided.

Murshid Hoque
Land, Air and Water Resources
(530) 752-2533
[email protected]



CA&ES Commencement: June 13, 2009

Mark your calendars for CA&ES Spring Commencement, to be held June 13 at 9 a.m. and at 2 p.m. in the Pavilion at the Activities and Recreation Center. College and department staff are needed as volunteers at the event. The CA&ES majors included in the 9 a.m. ceremony are community and regional development, human development, international agricultural development, and managerial economics. All other CA&ES majors will participate in the afternoon ceremony.

Faculty members participating in the ceremony should report with their cap and gown to the Special Events Room on the main floor of the Pavilion at least 30 minutes before the event begins. Faculty will be directed by staff to their line-up.

A rehearsal will be held the week prior to commencement, with date and time to be determined. For gowns, caps, tassels, and UC Ph.D. faculty hoods, visit Services/CapsGownsProd/. For academic hoods from another university or any UC degree other than a Ph.D., visit

For more information, visit the commencement site at

Barbara Ambler-Thomas
Dean’s Office
(530) 754-0322
[email protected]



Postharvest Technology Short Course: June 15–26, 2009


The 31st annual Postharvest Technology Short Course will be held June 15–26. The course is an intensive two-week study of current technologies and best practices associated with the postharvest handling of fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables, and ornamentals in California. It is designed for produce industry, government, or academic professionals interested in current advances in the postharvest technology of horticultural crops. The first week of the short course will meet on campus. The optional second week is a field tour that takes participants to visit a variety of postharvest handling operations throughout California.

Attendees may register for this and other upcoming educational activities sponsored by the Postharvest Technology Research & Information Center via their website at

Pam Devine
(530) 754-4326
[email protected]



Locavore Feast: June 20, 2009


The Good Life Garden's first annual Locavore Feast will highlight the importance of eating tasty, healthy, environmentally-friendly local food. It will be held in the Good Life Garden at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at 6 p.m. The feast will be prepared by a well-known local chef who will use as many ingredients as possible from the greater Sacramento region. Tickets are $125.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Kira O'Donnell
Good Life Garden
(530) 681-6412
[email protected]



Olive Oil Conference: June 21–23, 2009

“Beyond Extra Virgin: Discovering the World of Super-premium Olive Oil” will meet June 21–23 on the UC Davis campus. The conference will explore the sensory qualities and culinary uses of “super-premium” olive oil.

The conference convenes in Freeborn Hall at 4 p.m. on June 21. The first two days of the event will spotlight UC Davis facilities, and the third day will be held at the Culinary Institute of America’s Napa Valley campus. Transportation to Napa is included in the $495 registration fee. The last day to register is June 12, 2009; refunds will not be issued.

For registration and more information, visit

Dan Flynn
UC Davis Olive Center
(530) 754-9301
[email protected]



International Plant Nutrition Colloquium: August 26–30, 2009

Save the date for the 16th annual International Plant Nutrition Colloquium to be held 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]



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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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