Doug Tallamy receives the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence

September 17, 2013 under CANR News

Doug Tallamy receives the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of ExcellenceDoug Tallamy, professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was presented the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence at the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference held at Western Carolina University this summer.

Tallamy was also chosen to be a presenter at the conference for his ideas on promoting change in the landscape paradigm. “Right now, about 80% of our ornamental plants are from Asia,” said Tallamy. “Our local insects can’t eat them because they haven’t evolved to deal with the defensive chemicals within the plants. Now at the same time, 96% of birds are rearing their young on insects. In fact, about six to nine thousand caterpillars are used to rear one clutch of chickadees. So we end up creating these landscapes that are actually one of the biggest hits on biodiversity.”

Robert Wyatt, professor Emeritus of Botany and Ecology at the University of Georgia and current Director of the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference, said Tallamy is likely to be the rare entomologist chosen for the award, as past award recipients are typically botanists.

Tallamy was chosen for the award in part due to the popularity surrounding his 2007 book, Bringing Nature Home. The book makes a strong scientific case for reintroducing native plants to landscapes and eliminating the “urban deserts” created by planting an abundance of nonnative ornamentals.

Tallamy said that there is a need for ecological literacy, and stresses the importance of increasing public awareness for why native plants are so important ecologically in terms of retaining biodiversity.  His attendance at this conference is a testament to his own goal of wanting to re-landscape the entire country.

In the past 30 years that the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference has been held, the number of native plant nurseries has increased substantially as more homeowners have come to value the beauty and understand the benefits of a natural landscape.

Invasive Species

Looking at invasive exotics such as Kudzu, Chinese privet, and Japanese honeysuckle, it is easy to understand the uncontrolled dispersal and harm invasive species can have on a landscape. Free from predators, these species have affectively displaced many surrounding native plants while offering little to no food for wildlife living in the area.

The reintroduction of native species could potentially thwart the damages caused by the introduction of some of these aggressive plants.

Other examples of the potential dangers nonnative species can cause includes unintentional introduction of pests and subsequent disease, like the American Chestnut, whose nuts provided a prime food source for many animals, and whose populations were decimated by an introduced fungus.

Not all nonnative species are detrimental. However, their decreased utility by wildlife as a food source and often uncontrolled growth means that introducing them at a greater rate than native species can adapt to them could lead to decreased diversity in an ecosystem.

Examples of some native trees that people could start planting as alternatives to nonnatives include Smooth Witherod and Winterberry, which have berries that birds depend on, Redbud, which provides a convenient nectar source for early pollinators, Summersweet Clethra, another popular pollinator shrub, and Pipevine which serves as a food source for Swallowtail larvae.  With their colorful flowers and berries, these plants offer all the aesthetics that homeowners and landscapers tend to seek in nonnative ornamentals.

About the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence

The Tom Dodd Jr. Award of Excellence is presented annually at the Cullowhee Conference on Native Plants in the Landscape and are given to individuals who excel in one of the following areas: conservation of native flora in sites; studying and promoting the understanding of our native flora; building expertise in the propagation/cultivation of native plants; and the use of native plants in a diversity of natural and designed landscapes.

Past winners have included C. Ritchie Bell, professor of botany at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Founding Director of the North Carolina Botanical Garden, and co-author of the Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas; Dick Bir, professor of Horticulture and plant breeder at the Mountain Horticulture Research Center of North Carolina State University; and Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady of the United States and an avid proponent of native plants and natural areas.

Article by Angela Carcione


Don Tilmon receives College of the Ozarks Meritorious Award

November 5, 2012 under CANR News

Don Tilmon, professor in the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics (APEC), has received the 2012 Meritorious Award for Distinguished Achievement from the College of the Ozarks where he earned his associate degree in 1963.

Tilmon received his master’s degree at the University of Delaware and then eventually returned to UD, where he has worked for 34 years. He served as the Cooperative Extension farm management specialist and the director of the Northeast Center for Risk Management Education, which was established at UD in 2001. It is one of four regional centers that conduct the Extension Risk Management Education Program. Tilmon provided leadership for developing the program while he was serving as the national program leader for risk management education, during one of three separate one-year Inter-Agency Personnel assignments at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Tilmon also received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Missouri in 1965 and his doctorate from Purdue University in 1971.


Lasher Fellowship for Graduate Students

November 2, 2012 under CANR News

The family of Dr. Hiram Lasher—a pioneer in poultry vaccine research, development, and commercialization, and a generous benefactor of the University of Delaware—has announced the establishment of the Hiram Lasher Fellowship Award at the University of Delaware.

“We are honored that Dr. Lasher’s family has established the Hiram Lasher Fellowship award to benefit graduate students pursuing studies in poultry health at UD,” says Jack Gelb, professor and chair of animal and food sciences, and the director of the Avian Biosciences Center at UD. “Dr. Lasher directly influenced many, many people from all walks of life directly through his support, his knowledge and generosity.  It is fitting that Dr. Lasher’s family has established this fellowship so that his legacy can live on.”

The family’s announcement of the scholarship is available on

Dr. Lasher, 92, died Oct. 7 after a short illness. In 1997, the University dedicated the Lasher Laboratory in Dr. Lasher’s honor in Georgetown, Del. The laboratory, formerly owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was transferred to UD when the USDA decided to close it. A $250,000 gift from Dr. Lasher allowed the University to update and renovate the lab.

In 2008, Dr. Lasher was awarded the University of Delaware Medal of Distinction. Robin Morgan, then dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, read a citation that noted his importance to the poultry industry worldwide and also noted his extraordinary contributions in Delaware to education, youth development and public service. “Hiram Lasher is a scientist, businessman, public servant, educational advocate and philanthropist who contributed significantly to the lives of many Delawareans.,” she said.

Donations to the Hiram Lasher Fellowship Award should be directed to the attention of Robert Rudd, University of Delaware, Office of University Development, 83 E Main St., Newark, DE 19716-0701 with a notation that the donation is to be assigned to the Lasher Fellowship. Alternatively, donations may be made online on the University of Delaware’s Giving webpage.    Please enter “Lasher Fellowship” in the “Other” box on the web form.


Oct 5: Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame

September 24, 2012 under Cooperative Extension

The Delaware 4-H Foundation will induct 27 pioneers of 4-H work in Delaware into its inaugural Hall of Fame Class in a ceremony to be held at the Diamond Room at Dover Downs on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. This initial class of inductees represents Delawareans who made notable contributions to Delaware 4-H in its first 50 years of existence, from 1914-1964.

In the past 100 years, tens of thousands of Delaware youth have participated in the Delaware 4-H program, many going on to notable careers in business, industry and politics.

The first 4-H work was done in Delaware prior to the passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, but wasn’t formalized until then. Delaware was the first state to have county agents in each county and youth work began almost immediately with staff working in the agriculture department at then Delaware College. The early pioneers included Nellie Snyder of Newport who began the first work with boys and girls in canning and gardening in 1914.

Agnes Medill was the first girl’s club 4-H agent and was responsible for starting 4-H garden and canning clubs throughout the state. She traveled the state in her Model T “Lizzie’ and became renowned for her work. World War I made the production and preservation of food at home a high priority as so much of American agricultural production was shipped overseas for the war effort.

The first organized 4-H club was the Houston Cardinals in 1915 with George Dewey Sapp as its first member. The club still exists and thrives today.

Other notable inductees include former Governor Ruth Ann Minner, former State Senator Thurman Adams and Dr. George Worrilow, former Dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Delaware. Among the inductees will also be seven Delawareans who have already been inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame.

Tickets to the event are available from the Delaware 4-H Foundation at Tickets are $30 and include refreshments, entertainment (with a 1920’s flair) and a visual history of the early days of Delaware 4-H.

For more information on the Delaware 4-H Hall of fame contact: Mark J. Manno, State 4-H program Leader ( at 302-831-2997.

2012 Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame Pioneer Class

  • Thurman Adams
  • Jim Baker
  • Martha Benson
  • Floyd Blessing
  • Ann Clendaniel
  • Ralph Clendaniel
  • Alex Cobb
  • Helen Comstock
  • Dorothy Emerson
  • “Pop” Fields
  • Sam Gwinn
  • John Hastings
  • Cliff Hufnal
  • Pauline Hufnal
  • Mabel Lambden
  • Marion MacDonald
  • Theodore Martin
  • Agnes Medill
  • Ruth Ann Minner
  • M.O. Pence
  • George Dewey Sapp
  • Larry Shaffer
  • Nellie Snyder
  • Joy Sparks
  • Linda Sullivan
  • Isaac Thomas
  • Sylvia Walther
  • William Walther
  • George Worrilow

Gelb Receives Poultry Research Award

August 21, 2012 under CANR News

Jack Gelb, Jr., chair of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, was awarded The Bruce W. Calnek Applied Poultry 
Research Achievement Award at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP). The award is presented annually by the AAAP to an individual in recognition of their outstanding research contributions resulting 
in a measurable and practical impact on the control of important diseases of poultry.

Gelb was honored for his work related to the control avian infectious bronchitis virus, an important respiratory disease of chickens.

The Bruce W. Calnek Applied Poultry Research Achievement Award was first presented in 2004 as a result of a gift from 
Bruce Calnek of Cornell University.


Joshua Duke Elected President of NAREA

May 25, 2012 under CANR News

Joshua M. Duke, professor in the Department of Food and Resource Economics, has been elected president for the Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association (NAREA), a group of 250 agricultural and resource economists focused on promoting education and research on economic and social problems related to the environment, natural resource use, agricultural production, and economic development.

Duke has held every major position within the organization, from being an elected member of the executive board, to serving as co-editor with Titus Awokuse, chair of the Department of Food and Resource Economics, of the peer-reviewed journal Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, the official publication of the NAREA. Duke also served as workshop organizer and on the local arrangements committee for the annual meeting. He received the distinguished member award from the group in 2010, only the third UD recipient after Conrado M. Gempesaw II, former dean of the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, and Steve Hastings, professor and associate chair in the Department of Food and Resource Economics.

Duke said that he is honored to be elected president and is incredibly excited for the opportunity to head such a great organization. “My career benefited tremendously from the collegiality, sharing of research, and networking opportunities afforded by NAREA,” said Duke. “One of my goals as president will be to recruit the next group of leaders to the organization.” He will begin his 3-year term in June and he said that he is most looking forward to organizing the program for the 2013 annual meeting. “It’s a great opportunity to shape an annual meeting by categorizing selected-paper panels and inviting renowned experts to speak,” said Duke.

Awokuse said of Duke being named president, “I’m excited about the election of Joshua Duke as the next president-elect of NAREA.  This is a great honor for Josh and it is a culmination of his many years of faithful service to NAREA in various roles. As a friend and colleague for over a decade, I can attest to Josh’s passion for professional excellence and commitment to a life of service to others.  As leader, he will lead the organization to greater heights.”

Duke will be the 4th faculty member to serve as president for the NAREA from the University of Delaware. Past presidents include Gempesaw, Gerald Cole, emeritus professor in the Department of Food and Resource Economics, and Hastings.

There are other strong ties between the NAREA and the University of Delaware as well, as Awokuse, John Bernard, Tom Ilvento, professors of food and resource economics, and Kent Messer, associate professor of food and resource economics, are also involved in the organization.

For more information about NAREA, visit their website.


Delaware EPSCoR announces 2012 seed grant recipients

March 7, 2012 under CANR News

The Delaware EPSCoR program has awarded seven seed grants to University of Delaware faculty whose projects address current environmental issues within the state.

EPSCoR, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, is a federal grant program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) that helps states develop their research capabilities so that they may compete for further federal funding.

Seed grants are typically in the $50,000 range and help researchers set the stage for applications to larger federal funding programs. Seed grant proposals are solicited annually during the fall semester. The selections were made by a committee of five senior faculty affiliated with the Delaware EPSCoR program and two external reviewers representing the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). This year’s funded projects are as follows:

Microbes that remove arsenic from rice

Rice is a staple in diets across the globe, but it is commonly contaminated by arsenic (As) in many developing nations. To solve this problem, University of Delaware scientists Harsh Bais and Janine Sherrier of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences have proposed that the inoculation of rice with the bacterium EA106 will reduce arsenic accumulation within the edible portion of the plant, simultaneously improving quality and yield. Arsenic-contaminated rice represents a significant health risk to millions of people worldwide; in their research Bais and Sherrier plan to “systematically dissect the overall mechanism in As absorption and translocation in rice.” Their efforts will further probe the field of plant-microbial processes and how they may be used to agricultural advantage.

Impact of terrestrial phosphorus on eutrophication in the Chesapeake Bay

Principal investigator Deb Jaisi, assistant professor, and Donald Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair of Soil and Environmental Chemistry, both of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, will investigate the concentrations of terrestrial and nonterrestrial phosphorus (P) input into the Chesapeake Bay over time. The prevailing notion is that the level of nonterrestrial P has remained constant since early civilization, and thus terrestrial P is the sole culprit in the eutrophication (increased concentrations of nutrients which result in algae blooms and fish kills) of the Chesapeake Bay. However, observed changes in the bottom water environment indicate that this is unlikely. Their study will influence future management strategies to limit nutrient pollution, with regulations possibly addressing both terrestrial and nonterrestrial P input. Sparks is director of the Delaware Environmental Institute.

Article by Jacob Crum

Photos by Ambre Alexander and Kathy F. Atkinson

For the complete article and list of seed grant recipients, view the full story on UDaily


University honors Griffiths, Louise, Fulbright and Salzburg Fellows

December 8, 2011 under CANR News

A reception celebrating University of Delaware global leaders capped off International Education Week (IEW) at the University on Nov. 18.

Matthew Robinson, director of the Institute for Global Studies (IGS) and professor of business administration, served as master of ceremonies at the event, which recognized Fulbright and Salzburg Fellows, as well as former IGS director Lesa Griffiths, and Janet Louise, an instructor at the English Language Institute (ELI) who will retire this June after 25 years of service.

James Magee, professor of political science and international relations, delivered the remarks honoring Griffiths, who returned to the faculty of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in August after serving as associate provost for international programs and IGS director for nearly 10 years.

During her tenure, Griffiths’ cultivated a reputation as a dedicated leader and “straight shooter,” said Magee, who has worked closely with Griffiths as faculty director of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).

Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, MEPI helps students from the Middle East and North Africa gain more effective leadership skills as well as a more realistic understanding of American norms and institutions. The program, which has been funded at UD for the past eight years, also helps break down stereotypes of Arabs among the Americans with whom the students interact.

“Since the very first MEPI program, the Institute for Global Studies, under Lesa Griffiths’ leadership, has built a growing network of MEPI alumni and American participants who keep in touch with each other,” Magee said. “In Arab capitals and even in remote villages, there are MEPI alumni — and their families — with a deep affection for and a yearning to return to UD and Newark, Delaware.”

Ann Ardis, deputy dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, delivered the remarks honoring Janet Louise, noting that the veteran instructor of English as a Second Language at the ELI “aimed not simply to transform minds but to renew spirits.”

Ardis spoke of how Louise, a 25-year devotee of martial arts, had learned from tai chi how to stay calm and centered amid the storm of homesickness while working abroad for a number of years — and shared those lessons with her students struggling with the culture shock of coming to the U.S. and learning a new language. Louise also never hesitated to impart motherly advice, compassion and reassurance to her charges.

As one former student shared: “I would have given up and gone home long ago, had not Janet helped me through my darkest hours and helped me see the way to success.”

Sami Nassim, chair of the international caucus, reported that hundreds of people had attended each of the IEW events, from talks by distinguished international speakers to an international talent and fashion show.

Scott Stevens, ELI director, spoke of the increasing interest in multiculturalism among UD students, causing some events to be moved to larger venues this year and how the new locations this year also were packed.

Robinson thanked the ELI, Residence Life, and offices across the University for their support for IEW and said he looked forward to collaborating on other global events and activities.

As UD Deputy Provost Nancy Brickhouse pointed out, “International Education Week is more than a week-long endeavor at the University of Delaware, it is important and integral to the Path to Prominence and to the fabric of UD.”

Photo by Evan Krape

This article was originally published on UDaily


4-H Youth Congress

December 6, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Ten Delaware youth were selected to participate in the National 4-H Youth Congress, which was held recently in Atlanta. This leadership development conference is considered the flagship event of the 4-H program, providing youth with an unparalleled opportunity to learn about community involvement, culture diversity and service to others.

“I am very proud of the Delaware 4-Hers who represented our state at Youth Congress,” says Jan Seitz, associate dean and director of University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. “I know these students will take the knowledge they have gained and put it to good use in community service projects and other activities here in Delaware.”

Two youth from Kent County participated in the Youth Congress: McKenzie Ivory and Trevor Maloney. Eight youth from Sussex County attended: Bethany Killmon, Stephen Mervine, Jr., Joe Anderson, Jenna Hitchens, Nathan Bradley, Mary Catherine Lagano, Hunter Murray and Isabel (Izzy) Wharton.

Ivory is a 16-year-old member of the Harrington Sunshine 4-H Club. Her 4-H project areas of concentration include livestock and the fashion revue. Ivory is the daughter of Stephanie and Matt Ivory of Harrington. She attends Lake Forest High School.

Maloney is also a 16-year-old member of the Harrington Sunshine Cub. His 4-H project areas include goat, swine, woodworking and photography. He attends Milford High School and is the son of Timothy and Kelley Maloney of Houston.

Killmon is a member of the Dublin Hill 4-H club. She is in her eighth year of 4-H and attends Sussex Technical High School.  She has focused on raising and showing sheep and also has been involved in horticulture and photography projects. She is the daughter of Carla and Garry Killmon of Bridgeville.

Mervine is a 16-year-old member of the Dublin Hill 4-H Club. He enjoys photography projects but his favorite thing about 4-H is state camp. Mervine’s grandfather was inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame and he hopes to follow in his footsteps someday. He is the son of Stephen and Polly Mervine of Bridgeville and attends Sussex Technical High School.

Anderson, 16, of Milton, is a member of the Hollymount 4-H Club. He is in his 10th year of 4-H and attends Sussex Technical High School. He has raised and shown dairy cows for eight years and also has been involved in swine and photography projects. He is the son of Sharon and Paul Anderson.

Hitchens, 17, is a member of Dublin 4-H Club. She is in her sixth year of 4-H and attends Sussex Central High School. She has raised and shown sheep for six years. She is the daughter of Tracie and Randy Hitchens of Georgetown.

Bradley has been in 4-H for eight years and is a member of the Seaford Blue Jays 4-H Club. The 16-year-old attends Sussex Technical High School. In 4-H, he has been active in fishing, shooting sports and food projects. He is the son of Jacalyn and Steven Bradley of Seaford.

Lagano, 17, also attends Sussex Technical High School. As a member of the Country Clover 4-H Club, she has been involved in robotics and clothing and textiles projects. She also enjoys being a counselor at 4-H camps. She lives in Frankford with her parents, Joe and Debbie Lagano.

Murray, 17, is a member of the Dublin Hill 4-H Club. He is in his ninth year in 4-H and attends Sussex Technical High School. He has raised and shown sheep for 9 years and has been involved in foods and arts and crafts projects. He is the son of David and Melissa Murray of Greenwood.

Wharton is a member of Buttonwood 4-H Club. The 17-year-old attends Sussex Technical High School and lives in Laurel with her parents, Wendy and Kip Wharton. She has raised and shown livestock for eight years and also has been involved in clothing and textiles and animal science projects.

For more information about Delaware 4-H, contact the state 4-H office at 302-831-2509.

Article by Margo McDonough

This article can also be viewed online on UDaily by clicking here.


UD doctoral student in soil science receives Dixon Award

December 5, 2011 under CANR News

Chunmei Chen, a University of Delaware doctoral student in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, was chosen to receive the Dixon Award for best graduate student presentation in soil mineralogy at the recent 2011 Soil Science Society of America meeting in San Antonio.

Chen received a $500 award for being recognized as having the best Division S-9 student presentation, with the selection based on quality of presentation and contribution of the research to advancing the state of knowledge of soil mineralogy.

“I feel very happy and honored to receive the award,” Chen said. “It is encouraging and helpful for me because I would like to continue my career in research.”

Chen presented her research on the Christina River Basin Critical Zone Observatory (CRB-CZO), which specifically reports on the interaction of soil organic matter with soil minerals at the molecular scale along landscape redox gradients.

“The research will lead to better soil management strategies that maintain and enhance levels of soil organic matter, which has important implications in addressing soil carbon sequestration and climate change,” Chen said.

Division S-9 of the Soil Science Society of America established the Joe B. and Martha J. Dixon Soil Mineralogy Endowment to honor Joe Dixon’s career and contributions to soil mineralogy. Each year, two graduate students with projects relating to soil mineralogy are awarded the funding.

Chen earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural resources and environment from the Nanjing Agricultural University and a master’s degree in environmental science from the Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Chen plans to submit a manuscript based on her presentation for publication. She hopes to finish her doctorate and eventually become a university faculty member.

Article by Brittany Barkes

This article was originally published on UDaily