CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

November 19, 2009

May 27, 2014 admin

Message from the Dean







A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Planning and Reorganization

There are indications that the nation’s economy is beginning to improve and that we may be officially near the end of the recession. In California, however, those of us who follow the state budget recognize that we are still facing serious budget problems. Reports indicate that the state budget for the next 18 months may be more than $20 billion out of balance.  While we do not yet know how deep a cut our college will face next year, we do know that it is likely to be very large.

In preparation, our college has engaged in planning for how we can emerge from this budget crisis positioned to retain our global preeminence. The basic premise of our planning is that we must stop doing some things in order to maintain robust programs in the areas in which we excel.

A College Planning Committee has been charged to build on the recommendations of the Academic Prioritization Committee report released in August 2009 and to envision how we can position ourselves for academic excellence in the future. This committee will be meeting regularly during the next few months with faculty, staff, and students to exchange ideas as they develop proposals for our faculty to consider. We are all committed to making this planning process transparent and participatory in order to solicit the very best ideas for how our college can emerge from this crisis strong and more focused. The College Planning Committee will soon be announcing the mechanisms for faculty input into the planning process.

The extent of this budget crisis requires that we give up some pursuits. Deciding what to stop doing is very difficult and wrenching, so I really appreciate the courage that faculty on the Academic Prioritization Committee (APC) showed in making recommendations. We are now asking the College Planning Committee to consider not only the closing and merger of departments, as recommended by the APC, but also to recommend organizational structures that assure our departments are robust in size and organized to meet future opportunities. Our college has made some very difficult decisions in the recent past, so I know that we can continue to make the decisions necessary for us to maintain our excellence into the future.

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] 


Daniel Anderson and Frank Gress: Pacific Seabird Achievement Awards


The Pacific Seabird Group will honor Professor Emeritus Daniel Anderson of the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology and his former graduate student, Dr. Franklin Gress, for their extensive research and fieldwork on the California Brown Pelican. Anderson will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and Gress, a former UC Davis researcher, will receive a Special Achievement Award from the group, which is an international, nonprofit organization founded in 1972 to promote the knowledge, study, and conservation of Pacific seabirds. The awards will be made at the Pacific Seabird Group’s upcoming 37th annual meeting in Long Beach.

Anderson and Gress have worked on the population status of the California Brown Pelican for decades. Its decline due to the effects of the pesticide DDT was one of the major events that helped to develop public concern for the environment and related laws in California in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  After 38 years on the endangered species list, the California Brown Pelican was recently recommended for delisting from both the federal and state endangered species list. It was the first time the California Fish and Game Commission has voted to delist an endangered species due to its recovery.

In the photo taken in 1990, Anderson and Gress are banding a California Brown Pelican.

Dan Anderson
(530) 752-2108
[email protected]

Frank Gress
California Institute of Environmental Studies
(530) 756-6944
[email protected]

Gurdev Khush: Mahathir Science Award


The Academy of Sciences Malaysia honored Gurdev Khush, an adjunct professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, with the Mahathir Science Award, Malaysia’s most prestigious science award for the tropical sciences. A UC Davis alum, Khush was the chief plant breeder at the International Rice Research Institute in the Phillippines from 1967 until 2002. Khush was honored by Prime Minister Mohd Najib of Malaysia in recognition of his perseverance and revolutionary work in pioneering rice varieties that have overwhelmingly contributed toward the alleviation of world hunger. One Mahathir Science Award is conferred each year in the area of tropical medicine, agriculture, architecture, engineering, or natural resources management.

At the International Rice Research Institute, Khush led the development of more than 300 rice varieties and gained a reputation as the father of the Green Revolution in South Asia. One of these varieties, IR36, is the most widely planted food crop ever grown.

Gurdev Khush
(530) 754-5111
[email protected]

CA&ES: Communications Awards of Excellence

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences received four awards of excellence from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for its “Outlook” alumni magazines and its “Impact” statements. Awards were for special issues, writing, design, and institutional magazines. Members of the Dean’s Office communications team who participated in these projects include Ann Filmer, John Stumbos, Eric Rohr, Elisabeth Kauffman, and Robin DeRieux. Other campus groups winning 2009 CASE awards of excellence include Government and Community Relations, the Office of Advancement Services, and the Graduate School of Management.

The 2009 CASE Division VII awards are listed at

Ann Filmer
CA&ES Dean’s Office
(530) 754-6788
[email protected]

Nancy Rupp Tibbitts Scholarship

An undergraduate scholarship is being established in the memory of Nancy Rupp Tibbitts, a UC Davis alumna and longtime staff member of the Internship and Career Center who died on October 20, 2009. Throughout her career, Tibbitts guided countless students and alumni to important field experiences and productive careers in agriculture and the environmental sciences. Her drive to connect UC Davis students with employers resulted in internship programs in production agriculture, animal science, viticulture and enology, veterinary medicine, and the food industry.

The Nancy Rupp Tibbitts Scholarship has been created as a tribute to her service. Those wishing to contribute may visit or send donations to the UC Davis Foundation (c/o Student Affairs Vice Chancellor’s Office, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, California, 95616). Contributions should include a notation indicating that they are for the Nancy Rupp Tibbitts Scholarship.

Christine Schmidt
CA&ES Dean’s Office
(530) 752-6414
[email protected] 


Horse Day


More than 350 horse lovers attended the annual State 4-H Equine Field Day, hosted on campus October 24 by the Department of Animal Science. 4-H members ranging in age from 8 to 18, along with parents and adult 4-H leaders, spent the day at the Animal Science Horse Barn. Animal science students helped graduate student Gerri Brown give a presentation on horse conformation and judging. Participants also heard talks on shoeing and hoof care, equine dentistry, horse nutrition, saddle fitting and tack, and other topics as well.

Equine facility supervisor Joel Viloria and his crew gave tours of the campus breeding facility and horse barn. The Draft Horse and Driving Club taught youths the basics of harnessing and hitching draft horses to wagons and gave wagon rides to participants. The California Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team performed and gave a clinic on organizing a riding team. Internationally renowned horse trainer Charles Wilhelm gave a training demonstration in the arena.

This was the first year that UC Davis has hosted this annual outreach event. To view more photos of the event, visit

Daniel Sehnert
Department of Animal Science
(530) 752-1256
[email protected] 

Call for Applications: Growing Green Awards for Sustainable Food Leadership

The Natural Resources Defense Council is accepting applications until December 4, 2009, for its second annual Growing Green Awards to recognize individuals who have demonstrated original leadership in the field of sustainable food.

A Growing Green Award will be given to an outstanding individual in each of four categories, including Food Producer, Business Leader, Thought Leader, and Water Steward.  A $10,000 cash prize will be awarded in the Food Producer category. Award selections will be made by an independent panel of sustainable food experts. Through this national award, the council will recognize extraordinary contributions that advance ecologically integrated farming practices, climate stewardship, water stewardship, farmland preservation, and social responsibility from farm to fork. 

Applications must be submitted electronically using the website application at:

Suzanne Vyborney
National Resources Defense Council
(415) 875-6134
[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:

  • December 7, 2009: New Media and Agricultural Health and Safety: Is My Space Really Our Space?
  • 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]

Landscape Architecture Lunchbag Lecture Series

The public is invited to attend the UC Davis Landscape Architecture program’s fall 2009 lunchbag lecture series on Fridays from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in 1130 Hart Hall. This fall’s series is “A Sustainable Campus — What’s Being Done? What More Can Be Done?” The lectures will be held on Fridays through December 4, with the exception of November 27.

Dates and topics for remaining seminars include:

  • November 20: Sustainability at Shields Library
  • December 4: Minicharette, Your Ideas for a Sustainable Campus

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

Entomology Seminar Series

The Department of Entomology hosts a series of noon seminars that meet every Wednesday through December 2 from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall. Topics this fall range from honey bees to butterflies. No lecture is scheduled during the Thanksgiving holiday, November 25. The talks are open to the public.

Dates and topics for remaining seminars include:

  • November 18: Anatomy of a Niche Shift: Lycaeides melissa and the Colonization of Alfalfa
  • December 2: An International Perspective on Sustainable Production in Greenhouses

Kathy Keatley Garvey
Department of Entomology
(530) 754-6894
[email protected] 

Media Training Workshops: 2009–2010 Schedule

The schedule for media training workshops offered by University Communications includes dates for both regular and advanced media training.

  • Media Training 1
    This full-day interactive session is customized for UC Davis scientists, faculty, staff, and students who interact with the news media. It covers the benefits and risks of working with the news media, including strategies for accommodating the differing methods of print and broadcast journalists. Participants will learn what to do when a reporter calls, as well as their rights to obtain information from the news media before agreeing to an interview. A series of exercises will teach participants how to prepare for a successful interview and how to develop strategic media messages and talking points for public presentations.

    All workshops will be held in the Allewelt Room of the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center, unless otherwise noted. Enrollment is limited to eight participants per session. The class meets from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and costs $50, which includes materials and a catered lunch. (Please note that cancellations made less than one week in advance of the scheduled class date will still be charged the entire class fee.) Remaining dates offered include January 14, February 11, May 13, and some summer training dates, TBA. For registration, contact Ada McAdow.
  • Advanced Media Training
    This three-hour program is for those who have completed the primary media training workshop and are seeking more practice with media interviews and public speaking situations. Topics covered through on-camera exercises will include message development, speaking to a group, and aggressive interviews.

    All workshops will be held in the UC Davis television studio at Mediaworks, unless otherwise noted. Enrollment is limited to three participants per session. The class meets from 9 a.m. to noon and costs $50. (Please note that cancellations made less than one week in advance of the scheduled class date will still be charged the entire class fee.) Dates offered include March 11 and April 15. The December 10 class is full. For registration, contact Ada McAdow.

Ada McAdow
University Communications
(530) 752-3683
[email protected]

Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

  • “Native American Uses of Plants”
    Saturday, November 21, 11 a.m., Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.
    Native Californians traditionally use plants for food, clothing, building materials, medicine, tools, and games. Learn about traditional uses of California native plants during a tour of the new Native American Reflective Garden.
  • “Gardens, Art, and the Environment”
    Saturday, December 5, 11 a.m., Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.
    Take an offbeat tour of the east end of the arboretum with a self-described “maverick” docent who combines gardening know-how with an artist’s eye and environmental concern.
  • “Walk with Warren”
    Wednesday, December 9, noon, Gazebo.
    Join superintendent Warren Roberts for a lunchtime stroll in the arboretum. Enjoy the crisp weather and learn about the collections.


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, 2010, 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]


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] 

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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].

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