CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

March 18, 2010

May 22, 2014 admin

Message from the Dean







A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Reorganization Recommendations

The College Planning Committee (CPC), composed of faculty and led by associate deans Mary Delany and Jan Hopmans, will soon be making recommendations regarding college organizational changes that will position our college for continued excellence in the future. The committee recently posted a draft of the report on SmartSite ( that outlined the various options being considered. They received feedback posted by faculty, over 70 sets of comments, which was reviewed and discussed by the CPC. The committee recommendations and report are being finalized.

Once the committee makes its recommendations to me, the report will be widely circulated to the faculty. I will ask the various consultative groups of our college to consider these recommendations and advise me on how to proceed. The recommendations of the College Planning Committee and the feedback I receive from the College Executive Committee, CE Specialists Advisory Committee, Dean’s Advisory Council (external stakeholders), department chairs, and individuals will be presented to the Dean’s Council.

Based on the advice of the Dean’s Council, I will recommend how our college should reorganize and absorb our budget cuts. My recommendation will again be presented to our various consultative bodies for their advice. This process may seem very complex, but it ensures that the challenging budget decisions that must be made will only be made after careful thought and consideration of all consequences of these decisions.

These are not easy decisions to make, but I hope that by engaging all stakeholders in the process, we will make the best possible decisions for the future of our college.

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] 





William Horwath: Soil Science Society Fellow


Professor Will Horwath, vice chair of the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, was named a 2009 fellow of the Soil Science Society of America. A soil biogeochemist, Horwath is internationally known for his work in soil organic matter and sustainable agriculture. The 6,000-member Soil Science Society of America selects up to 14 members each year as fellows, recognizing outstanding contributions in research, teaching, extension, and administration. Horwath and other fellows were recognized at the SSSA annual meeting in Pittsburgh.

Horwath ([email protected]), who holds the James G. Boswell Endowed Chair in Soil Science, has served as director of the Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems project at UC Davis since 2003. His research uses radioactive and stable isotopes to decipher nutrient cycling and plant and metabolic processes.

Pia van Benthem
Department of Land, Air and Water Resources
(530) 752-0857
[email protected] 

Eric Mussen: Pedro Ilic Outstanding Agricultural Educator Award


Eric Mussen, a Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology, received the 2010 Pedro Ilic Outstanding Agricultural Educator Award for his work in educating the agricultural community, the beekeeping industry, and the general public about honey bees. Mussen was recently honored at the California Small Farm Conference in San Diego.

The Pedro Ilic Award is 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. Apiculturist Mussen educates people about bees with a bimonthly newsletter, which he launched in 1976. He also writes “Bee Briefs,” addressing such issues as diseases, pesticides, and swarms. Both publications are accessible on the entomology department website.

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

Susan Ustin: Honorary Doctorate

Professor Susan Ustin has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Zurich, the largest university in Switzerland. In recognition of her outstanding career research achievements, Ustin will receive the award at a formal ceremony in Zurich on April 24.

Ustin is a professor of environmental and resource sciences in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources. Her Center for Spatial Technologies and Remote Sensing deals primarily with interpretation of remote sensing imagery, applications of geographic information systems, and landscape modeling of vegetation, hydrology, and climatology.

Susan Ustin
(530) 752-0621
[email protected] 

CA&ES Honors New Endowed Chairs

In April, our college will honor new endowed chair holders and the establishment of three newly endowed chairs at the Endowed Chairs and Professorships Dinner.

An endowed chair is an honor that provides funding to support the teaching, research, and outreach responsibilities of an outstanding faculty member. The distinction helps our college attract and retain the brightest teachers and researchers. Endowed chairs are funded through endowments established by donors who want to direct their gifts toward study in a specific academic area.

  • CA&ES associate dean Mary Delany has been awarded the John and Joan Fiddyment Endowed Chair in Agriculture. Delany is a professor in the Department of Animal Science.
  • Professor Ermias Kebreab, Department of Animal Science, has been awarded the Sesnon Endowed Chair in Animal Science. The Sesnon Chair was the first endowed chair to be established at UC Davis, made possible by gifts from Sesnon family members in 1977.
  • Professor Randy Dahlgren, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, has been named holder of the newly established Russell L. Rustici Endowed Chair in Rangeland Watershed Science.
  • Kenneth Tate, Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences, has been named holder of the newly established Russell L. Rustici Endowed Specialist in Cooperative Extension in Rangeland Watershed Science.
  • The Donald G. Crosby Endowed Chair in Environmental Chemistry was recently established through a gift from the estate of alumnus Charles Soderquist. A search to fill this chair will begin soon.

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






UC ANR Support for Initiative Grant Program

University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources wants to aid researchers who propose projects that are relevant to ANR strategic initiatives:

  • Sustainable food systems
  • Healthy families and communities
  • Sustainable natural ecosystem
  • Endemic and invasive plants and diseases

UC ANR will support grant applications for the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) 2010 grant program. The request for applications is scheduled to be released at the end of March. This year, the funding pool is larger, the grants are expected to be larger, and a significant part of the total grant pool will be reserved for integrated research, education, and extension projects.

ANR will support 2010 AFRI grant applications that relate to the ANR initiatives with both monetary (e.g., matching funds) and in-kind (e.g., grant writing) support.

Researchers who are considering an AFRI application should contact the appropriate initiative leader:

Or contact other members of ANR’s Program Council for assistance at

Barbara Allen-Diaz
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources
Oakland, California
(510) 987-9359
[email protected] 

College Receives Six "Best of Davis" Awards

In a special “Best of Davis” section in “The California Aggie” (February 18, 2010), students voted for “Best General Education Course” on campus. Leading the list were three classes in our college:

  • Human Development 12: Human Sexuality
  • Nutrition 10: Discoveries and Concepts in Nutrition
  • Food Science and Technology 3: Introduction to Brewing and Beer

Human Development 12 is taught by Michael Rahilly, a lecturer in the Department of Human and Community Development. Nutrition 10 is taught by Liz Applegate, a senior lecturer in the Department of Nutrition. Food Science and Technology 3 is taught by Professor Charlie Bamforth.

In addition, the UC Davis Arboretum was listed as “Best Place to Take a Date,” “Most Picturesque,” and ranked second as “Best Place to Study.”

Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Field Day


A milk-quality and dairy-foods judging contest was one of the highlights of the 34th annual Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Field Day on March 6, which drew more than 3,000 FFA and 4-H high school students to UC Davis from California and surrounding states. The field day is one of the largest such competitions in the nation, and the only one in California that is completely run by university students.

During the dairy-products judging contest, participating high school students sampled a variety of different milks for flavor characteristics, distinguished butter from margarine, and identified 10 different cheese varieties. This contest was hosted by the Department of Food Science and Technology.

Other field day events included tractor driving, livestock judging, and public speaking. Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Field Day was organized by the Aggie Ambassadors, a student volunteer organization that draws from a variety of majors within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Over the years, the field day has provided thousands of high school students with the opportunity to showcase their skills and to spend a day at UC Davis.

Grace Cun, animal science major
Field Day Coordinator
(951) 941-6583
[email protected] 

Call for Nominations: James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award

Members of the university community are invited to nominate a member of the Academic Federation for the James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes distinguished career-long achievement. A secondary, but important, consideration is voluntary service to the campus, the UC community, or beyond. Nominees must be a current member of the UC Davis Academic Federation and have been a member for at least five years. Past recipients are not eligible, but previous nominees are eligible.

The nominee’s activities as a member of the Academic Federation should be described in the nomination letter, although specific Academic Federation committee service is not required. The nomination must include the following:

  • A current CV, including complete lists of publications and contributions to university and public service
  • A brief statement, not more than three pages, outlining the achievements of the candidate
  • Nominator’s name and contact information

Nominations must be sent electronically to [email protected]  in the Academic Senate Office by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 14, 2010.

Nancy Kilpatrick
Academic Senate Office
(530) 752-2220
[email protected] 

Call for Nominations: CA&ES Award of Distinction

Nominations for the 2010 CA&ES Award of Distinction will be accepted through March 29, 2010. Awards recognize individuals for excellence in leadership, achievement, support, and/or meritorious service to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, or for bringing distinction to the college through their careers.

Categories include alumni, friends of the college, young alumni (less than 15 years from last degree), faculty, and staff. Recipients will be honored at College Celebration, to be held October 8, 2010.

If possible, nominations should be kept confidential from nominees. Nomination forms can be downloaded and submitted by mail, fax, e-mail, or online at

Elisabeth Kauffman
CA&ES Dean’s Office
(530) 754-0321
[email protected]

CA&ES Executive Committee Election

March 29, 2010 is the deadline for nominations for Academic Senate and Academic Federation faculty to serve on the CA&ES Executive Committee. There will be four Academic Senate vacancies: two representing the Division of Agricultural Sciences, one representing the Division of Environmental Sciences, and one representing the Division of Human Sciences. In addition, there are two Academic Federation vacancies: one representing the Division of Agricultural Sciences, and one representing the Division of Environmental Sciences. Elected members serve a three-year term. At least two nominations are needed for each vacancy.

Sharon Berg
CA&ES Dean’s Office
(530) 752-3483
[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:

  • April 5: Vineyard Safety Training and the Agricultural Safety Research Alliance
  • May 3: Harvesting Aids for Reducing Ergonomics Risk Factors in Fruit Orchards
  • June 7: Agricultural Engineering Developments

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”
    Fridays, March 19, April 2, and April 16, 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.
  • “California Native Plants”
    Saturday, March 20, 11 a.m., Buehler Alumni & Visitors Center.
    Spring standouts in the native plant garden will be the focus of a free tour.
  • “All-Stars in the Garden”
    Sunday, March 28, 2 p.m., Gazebo.
    Learn about the Arboretum All-Stars, plants recommended by the arboretum for Central Valley gardens. All -Stars require little water, are easy to maintain, and look attractive year round.




Bohart Museum of Entomology: March 21, 2010


The Bohart Museum of Entomology will host a special Sunday afternoon opening with a St. Patrick’s Day theme from 1 to 5 p.m. on March 21. The event is called "What Has Six Legs and Is Green All Over?" The first 50 visitors wearing green will receive a free Bohart Museum bookmark. The opening highlights walking sticks and walking leaves, including a new addition to the museum, a bright green six-inch walking stick (featured in photo).

Dedicated to teaching, research and service, the museum houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America. Regular hours are weekdays, Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and from 1 to 5 p.m. Special tours can be arranged by contacting education and outreach coordinator Tabatha Yang at [email protected] or (530) 752-0493.

Kathy Keatley Garvey
Department of Entomology
(530) 754-6894
[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 registration and more information, visit

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

Youth Art Exhibition Opening : March 31, 2010


An opening reception for artwork produced by Sacramento youth, in collaboration with UC Davis scholars, will be held Wednesday, March 31 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. The “Youth Voices for Change Exhibition,” presented by the Art of Regional Change, will be on display from March 23 through June 20 in the AGR room.

The artwork was created by the Sactown Heroes, a team of youth affiliated with the West Sacramento Youth Resource Coalition, who collaborated with UC Davis researchers and artists for four months to produce poetry, photos, comics, and an interactive web-map with videos. The work documents local conditions that impact the lives of the young artists, and it expresses their hopes for the future.

The opening reception on March 31 will feature a presentation by youth, artists, and scholars involved in the project.  They will discuss how community-university partnerships contribute to youth and community development, shape academic research, and inform public policy in the region.

The exhibition is sponsored by the UC Davis Center for Regional Change, the Cross Cultural Center, and the Davis Humanities Institute.

jesikah maria ross
Art of Regional Change
(530) 754-6491
[email protected] 

Arboretum Plant Sale: Saturday, April 10, 2010


The Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum plant sale will be held Saturday, April 10, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery on Garrod Drive across from the School of Veterinary Medicine. The sale will feature hundreds of different kinds of water-wise plants, most of which have been grown in Davis and will thrive in Central Valley conditions, including newly-introduced and unusual garden plants that are not available in commercial nurseries.

Master gardeners and arboretum experts will be available to advise on the best plants for shoppers’ garden conditions. At the Plant Doctor booth, plant pathology graduate students will diagnose plant pests and diseases from plant samples brought by shoppers. The UC Davis Environmental Horticulture Club will sell annuals and starts for summer vegetable gardens.

Anyone can join the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum at the door and receive a 10 percent discount on purchases, as well as a free plant. For more information, please call (530) 752-4880, or visit

Diane Cary
UC Davis Arboretum
(530) 752-7822
[email protected]   

Science and the Experience of Eating and Drinking: April 15, 2010


Join acclaimed food writer, Harold McGee, along with faculty speakers Melissa Caldwell, Jean-Xaviar Guinard, and Susan Ebeler, for an afternoon discussing the Science and the Experience of Eating and Drinking. Sponsored by the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, the event is free and meets from 3 to 7 p.m. at the UC Davis Conference Center, Ballrooms A–C. To reserve a seat, please register online at
Kimberly Bannister
Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science
(530) 754-6349
[email protected] 

Robert L. Thayer Distinguished Lecture: April 16, 2010

Peter Jay Zweig will speak on "The Landscape of the Mind," at the second annual Robert L. Thayer Distinguished Lecture. Presented by the Landscape Architecture Program, the lecture will be held Friday, April 16, at 7 p.m. in Hunt Hall, Room 100. Zweig is an internationally renowned architect, educator, exhibition designer, and author. He has maintained a practice in Texas for more than 30 years in architecture, planning, and industrial design. Zweig is also a professor of architecture and director of the TexaStudio Program at the University of Houston.

Zweig’s lecture will be followed by a brief talk and book signing by landscape architecture professor Heath Schenker, who recently published “Melodramatic Landscapes: Urban Parks in the Nineteenth Century.”

Anyone planning to attend should RSVP to [email protected] by Monday, April 12.

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

Picnic Day: April 17, 2010


Come celebrate UC Davis on Picnic Day, Saturday, April 17. Start with the pancake breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in Freeborn Hall. Stay for the parade that begins at 9:30 at the grandstands near the Quad. Visit dozens of free events throughout the day at the university’s traditional open house.

Picnic Day is one of the largest student-run events in the nation and began in 1909 when the University Farm invited the surrounding community to view their new dairy barn. Two thousand people attended, bring along picnic lunches. Nearly 100,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event, themed Carpe Davis: Seizing Opportunities.

For more information, visit

Fresh Produce Marketing Strategies Short Course: May 5–7, 2010

Cooperative Extension will offer a marketing short course on fresh produce in San Francisco May 5–7. The Fresh Produce Marketing Strategies Short Course will give industry managers and executives an opportunity to focus on their strategic thinking and developing their fresh produce marketing approach within real-world budget constraints. The program is designed for people in the fresh fruit and vegetable industry, such as grower-shippers, food retailers, wholesalers, distributors, fresh-cut processors, and seed companies. Cooperative Extension specialist Roberta Cook is the course coordinator and will serve as one of the instructors.

Class size is limited to 65, and registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Enroll online at

Roberta Cook
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
(530) 752-1531
[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.

For program updates and additional information, visit To register for the conference, visit
Beth Stern
Water Education Foundation
(916) 444-6240
[email protected] 

Produce Research Symposium: June 23, 2010

The UC Davis Center for Produce Safety will host a Produce Research Symposium on Wednesday, June 23 at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. The inaugural symposium will bring together scientists and produce industry leaders for forums that emphasize the practical implications of new research.

Results of 11 research projects funded by the Center for Produce Safety will be showcased throughout the day. Attendees will include members of the produce supply chain who have interest in ensuring the safety of fresh produce, including grower-shipper organizations, distributors, retailers, foodservice companies, and industry regulators. A $125 early bird registration fee ($150 after May 28, 2010) includes all sessions, breakfast, lunch, as well as an evening reception in the courtyard and gardens of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.  Additional registration and event details will be available by March 22 at

Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli
Center for Produce Safety
(530) 757-5777
[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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