CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

December 15, 2011

May 22, 2014 admin

Message from the Dean







A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Reflections on Campus Protests

The end of this very memorable quarter occurred when the campus collectively celebrated a single Winter Commencement Ceremony for our graduating seniors. With the end of the quarter and the return of students to their homes to celebrate the holidays, protestors vacated Dutton Hall, and the encampment on the Quad has diminished to a few remaining tents.

For those of us who were on campus as students during the Vietnam War protests, our campus' recent challenges have triggered a rush of memories and comparisons. UC Davis was at best a sideshow in the campus protests during the Vietnam War, but we have been at center stage this time. Some could argue that any publicity, as long as our name is spelled correctly, is good (P.T. Barnum), but it is very disappointing that we have become famous for mistreating students who were peacefully protesting. The myriad investigations that are occurring will assign blame — an issue that currently seems to preoccupy many faculty and students.

My concern is not that individuals should be blamed, but rather that the famous "Davis culture" did not prevent the situation from getting out of control. We have a unique culture at UC Davis that should be valued and protected; the core of this culture has always been a sense of community among all campus members. My hope is that part of our introspective discussion in the coming months will be about our collective failure to prevent the situation on the Quad from escalating to the point that it did. UC Davis is unique, and our culture is worth preserving. I hope that by focusing less on individual failings in this situation, but by also trying to understand how we failed as a community, we may be able to preserve this unique "Davis culture".

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] 



Joe DiTomaso: California Invasive Plant Council Award


The California Invasive Plant Council recently presented its highest honor to Joe DiTomaso, a Cooperative Extension weed science specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences and director of the UC Weed Research and Information Center.

DiTomaso helped establish the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) in 1992. Cal-IPC, in collaboration with other nonprofits, as well as industry and government agencies, works to protect California’s land and water from invasive plants through science, education, and policy. Cal-IPC awarded DiTomaso the Jake Sigg Award for Vision and Dedicated Service for his guidance and for years of providing valuable resources, tools, and books for land managers in California and beyond. He was honored at the 2011 Cal-IPC Symposium in Tahoe in November.

DiTomaso is pictured here at UC Davis Weed Day (photo by Diane Nelson).

Joe DiTomaso
(530) 754-8715
[email protected]

Alison Van Eenennaam: Science Friday Appearance

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Alison Van Eenennaam, a Cooperative Extension specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology, appeared on the December 9 edition of “Science Friday,” a weekly program on science and technology heard on National Public Radio. The topic was the debate over the science and safety of bioengineered fish, from regulatory concerns to environmental impact.

A biotech company named AquaBounty Technologies has been seeking FDA approval for 15 years for a genetically modified fish called the AquAdvantage® Salmon, which grows twice as quickly as non-transgenic Atlantic salmon. To listen to the podcast, go to Click on the link to: “SciFri 120911 Hour 2: Transgenic Salmon, Pythons and Hearts.” 

Van Eenennaam, of the Department of Animal Science, does extensive outreach to provide education on the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems.

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



Early Childhood Lab School Receives “Nature Explore Classroom” Designation

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The Early Childhood Lab School was recently designated as a nationally certified “Nature Explore Classroom” by the Arbor Day Foundation. The Early Childhood Lab School is a model early childhood weekday program for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers at the UC Davis Center for Child and Family Studies. It serves as a site for research involving young children, and provides an educational experience for students studying child development.

Janet Thompson, director of the school, initiated the three-year project that transformed the outdoor play yard between First Street and the UC Davis Arboretum so that wherever children look, there are opportunities to engage with nature. The Early Childhood Lab School is one of about 120 programs nationwide that have earned national certification from the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. The certification is for creating outdoor learning environments that integrate natural materials, climbing structures, garden areas, and pathways that connect children to nature.

For more information on the Early Childhood Lab School, visit (Photo by Julia Luckenbill.)

Janet Thompson
Center for Child and Family Studies
(530) 754-4000
[email protected]  

The Students Get Younger Every Year

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The Department of Animal Science helped fulfill a birthday wish for a nine-year-old Bay Area girl who hopes one day to study at UC Davis and continue on to become a veterinarian. Joan Chandler, academic program adviser for animal science, helped arrange a department visit for the Cabot family, whose daughter had been studying the animal science website and wanted to come see the UC Davis campus for her birthday. On the day before Thanksgiving, the family attended the department’s advanced horse class, ANS 115, taught by Professor Janet Roser, as well as ANS 001, taught by Professor Thomas Famula.

They also met with animal science professor Ed DePeters, had a tour of the horse facility, and happened to catch a ride on a draft horse wagon with student members of the Draft Horse and Driving Club, who were out practicing in the pasture. (Photo: The Cabot family visits with Professor Ed DePeters.)

Joan Chandler
Department of Animal Science
(530) 752-6118
[email protected] 

Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award: Call for Nominations


Nominations for the Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award are due Monday, January 2, 2012. The award was established in memory of Eric Bradford, professor of animal science, and Charlie Rominger, a fifth-generation farmer and well-known advocate of farmland preservation and wildlife habitat restoration. The award seeks to recognize and honor individuals who exhibit the leadership, work ethic, and integrity epitomized by Bradford and Rominger.

Members of the UC Davis community are invited to nominate UC farm advisors and Cooperative Extension specialists, as well as UC Davis graduate students, faculty members, and in special cases, alumni, for their work toward agricultural sustainability. Nominees for the award should demonstrate leadership with a passion for service, as they aim to improve the world through their contributions to agriculture.

The recipient will receive a cash award, and may be invited to give a lecture sponsored by the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis, which manages the award selection process. For nomination forms and more information about the award, visit The award recipient will be announced in spring 2012.

Eve Hightower
Agricultural Sustainability Institute
(530) 752-8664
[email protected] 


Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

  • “Under the Redwood Canopy”
    Saturday, December 17, 2 p.m., Wyatt Deck.

    Enjoy a free guided tour of the redwood grove on a quiet and peaceful winter day.
  • “Much Ado about Nothing” (abridged)
    Saturday, December 17, 8 p.m., Putah Creek Lodge
    The Davis Shakespeare Ensemble will feature a reading of Shakespeare’s hilarious comedy, “Much Ado about Nothing.” General admission is $10. The event is recommended for ages 12 and over. For more information, visit


Bohart Museum of Entomology Open House: December 18, 2011


The Bohart Museum of Entomology will sponsor an open house, themed "Insects in the Winter Wonderland," on Sunday, December 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Participants will be invited to make a holiday insect card, which they can take home and share with others.

The Bohart Museum houses a global collection of more than seven million insect specimens. Visitors can also enjoy a live “petting zoo” with such residents as Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Tabatha Yang
Bohart Museum of Entomology
(530) 752-0493
[email protected] 

Olive Oil Flavor and Quality Seminar: January 12, 2012

The Culinary Institute of America and the UC Davis Olive Center, in collaboration with the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, present a one-day seminar on olive oil, to be held January 12 at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone Campus in Saint Helena. “Olive Oil Flavor and Quality: Next-Generation Benchmarks for Specialty Retail, Supermarkets, and Foodservice” will educate food professionals about what constitutes quality in the olive oil sector.

The seminar will feature olive oil experts from the United States, the Mediterranean region, and Australia. Registration is $295. For registration and more information, including a full list of speakers, visit

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

California Rangeland Summit: January 19–20, 2012


Ranchers, environmentalists, researchers, and regulators will gather at Freeborn Hall January 19–20 to explore new research and share varied interests and common commitment to preserving California’s rangeland. The summit will feature two events in one — the first annual Range Research Symposium and seventh annual California Rangeland Conservation Coalition Summit. The first day will have a scientific feel, highlighting renowned rangeland research from throughout California. The second day will include ranchers sharing their conservation stories and successful collaborative conservation initiatives, as well as research presentations and networking opportunities. Registration is $75 through January 6, and $100 thereafter. Student discounts are available. For an agenda and registration details, visit

Tracy Schohr
California Rangeland Conservation Coalition
(916) 716-2643
[email protected] 

Immunity Symposium Featuring 2011 Nobel Laureates: January 25, 2012

Two winners of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine will join Professor Pamela Ronald of the Department of Plant Pathology and Luke O’Neill, a professor of biochemistry and immunology from Trinity College, Dublin, on Wednesday, January 25, for a symposium on the links between how rice plants, flies, and people fight off infections.

The symposium, “Evolution of Common Molecular Pathways Underlying Innate Immunity,” will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. in the UC Davis Conference Center. Registration is free, but preregistration is required at

Featured speakers will include Jules Hoffmann of the University of Strasbourg, France, and Bruce Beutler of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who shared the 2011 Nobel Prize for their groundbreaking discoveries on how the immune system is triggered to fight invaders. (The third recipient, Ralph Steinmann of Rockefeller University, died shortly before the prize was announced.) “Their work has opened up new avenues for the development of prevention and therapy against infections, cancer, and inflammatory diseases,” wrote the Nobel committee, in announcing the prize.

The symposium is sponsored by the Murray B. Gardner Research Seminar Fund and the UC Davis Center for Comparative Medicine.

Anita Moore
Center for Comparative Medicine
(530) 752-1245
[email protected] 


Food and Health Entrepreneurship Academy: February 6–10, 2012

A business development short course to teach researchers how to move discoveries out of the laboratory and into the marketplace will be held February 6–10 at UC Davis. Presented by the UC Davis Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the intensive five-day academy is for science and engineering graduate students, postdocs, and research faculty in fields related to foods, nutrition, and human health. Participants will learn skills to translate their research in ways that can make a broader impact in industry, the marketplace, and the world. Instructors include university faculty, venture capitalists, angel investors, industry executives, attorneys, and entrepreneurs.

The majority of the cost is supported by fellowships from sponsors. Participants pay a $150 nonrefundable fee without lodging, and a $250 nonrefundable fee with lodging. The course is open to applicants from national and international universities. The corporate rate is $2,000, no lodging, and there is limited space available for professionals. Apply online by January 1, 2012 at

Mara Chambers
Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
(530) 752-1827
[email protected]

Breeding with Molecular Markers: February 14–16, 2012

The UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center will host a short course on Breeding with Molecular Markers to be held February 14–16 at the UC Davis Conference Center. The course is designed for professional plant breeders who want to learn when and how molecular tools can be integrated in their breeding programs. It is also an opportunity for breeders who are already using these tools to expand their knowledge of new strategies and technologies.

To register and learn more, visit

Jeannette Martins
(530) 752-4984
[email protected]


UC Soil Fertility Short Course: February 22, 2012

A UC Soil Fertility Short Course will be held Wednesday, February 22, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. Sponsored by the UC Vegetable Research and Information Center, the short course will focus on the practical aspects of soil fertility management in an era of escalating fertilizer costs and increasing government regulation of nutrient inputs for environmental water quality protection.

Topics include:

  • getting the maximum value from soil testing
  • interpretation of laboratory soil test results
  • comparing fertilizer sources
  • developing crop nutrient management plans
  • fertilizer management and environmental protection
  • Although the focus will be on nutrient management in annual cropping systems, much of the material presented will be relevant to perennial crops as well. The program is intended for growers, CCAs, PCAs, government agency personnel, and others involved in fertility management planning.

Registration, which includes lunch, refreshments and study materials, is $75 for students and UC personnel. For others, registration is $125 if received prior to January 21, 2012, and $150 thereafter. More information is available on the VRIC website (

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

Water 101: February 23–24, 2012

A short course on California water basics and water district board member governance will be held February 23–24 on campus, presented by the Water Education Foundation.

The course is open to anyone interested in learning more about the history of water and the management structure of water in California, as well as the water issues facing the state. The course will be especially beneficial to water resource industry staff, engineering and environmental firm personnel, legislators, legislative staff, advocates, stakeholders, environmentalists, public interest organizations, and water district directors.

Educational sessions will include discussions on:

  • California's natural water environment
  • California's water rights systems
  • Water demand and use
  • Current issues in California water management
  • The legal and institutional management framework

The cost is $150, which includes all educational materials, coffee breaks, lunch on February 23, and a graduation certificate upon completion of the day-and-a-half course. For registration and more information, visit

Water Education Foundation
(916) 444-6240

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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, Neal Van Alfen
Editorial review: Ann Filmer, Thomas Kaiser

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