March 2: Longwood Graduate Program Symposium

January 4, 2012 under CANR News, Events

The University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture will host its annual symposium on Friday, March 2 at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa.

The symposium, “The Panda and the Public Garden: Reimagining Our Conservation Story,” will bring together the best of zoo and garden expertise to discover how public gardens and other institutions can inspire their audiences to care and advocate for conservation.

Designed for the professional staff of public gardens, conservation-oriented organizations, and cultural institutions, the symposium will take place in Longwood Gardens’ spectacular Ballroom starting at 8 a.m. Registration for the daylong event is $75 for professionals, and $55.00 for full-time students.

For more information and to register online, visit the Longwood Graduate Program website or call the program office at 302-831-2517.

Symposium highlights

Jerry Borin, former executive director of Columbus Zoo, will discuss how to gain a mass media audience for conservation, drawing on both his experience at Columbus Zoo and that of his protégé, Jack Hanna, through national television exposure.

John Gwynne, emeritus chief creative officer and vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, will speak on inspiring conservation through effective message design, based on his twenty years of creative leadership at the Bronx Zoo, and its direct link to conservation projects and expertise in developing nations.

Alistair Griffiths, curator (horticultural science) of the Eden Project in the United Kingdom, will address how to have a conservation message as the organizing principle in the life of a garden, from concept to realization. He will also present a case study on species conservation from discovery to commercialization.

Catherine Hubbard, director of the ABQ Biopark, N.M., will offer a wide range of current best practices for communicating with the public in zoos, aquariums, and gardens, with practical applications for organizations of varying sizes and missions.

Kathy Wagner, consultant and former vice president for conservation and education at the Philadelphia Zoo, will stimulate thinking about message relevance and effective evaluation techniques for measuring impact.

This year’s event includes a special new session featuring two speakers who will share their insights on the impact of storytelling and environmental psychology in communication for conservation. Sally O’Byrne, teacher and naturalist at the Delaware Nature Society, will share the practical art of storytelling. Andrew Losowsky, books editor at the Huffington Post, will address the nature and mechanics of a good story.


May 6: Electronics Recycling Day

May 3, 2011 under CANR News

The Longwood Graduate Program is thrilled to bring you another Electronics Recycling Day on Friday, May 6th from 11:00am to 1:00pm. During this 2-hour period, we will be collecting your unwanted electronics in the alcove of Townsend Hall Commons or, weather permitting, in front of Townsend Hall at the College Avenue entrance. They will be recycled with UD’s Supporting Services or available for reuse by anyone coming to the Commons. Some examples of items we will be accepting are: computers, computer components, TVs, radios, scanners, printers, cell phones, batteries, microwaves, stereos, and other smaller electronic items. For a more complete list from Delaware Solid Waste Authority, see:

Unlike our previous ERD’s, we will NOT also be collecting plastic bags for recycling since the firm we had been working with to collect them is no longer offering its services to us, unfortunately. This is an E-waste-only event!

So remember to drop off your unwanted broken or functional electronics at this event, and we will take them for you to UD Supporting Services, who will properly dispose of them through Delaware Solid Waste Authority. Don’t forget to delete any sensitive information from personal electronics, particularly computer hard drives!

If you are unable to drop off your electronics during the 11am-1pm collection time, you can also bring it to the Longwood graduate student office at 125 Townsend Hall ahead of time.

Questions? Email



LGP alum tends to home of American Horticultural Society

April 11, 2011 under CANR News

Tending to the picturesque 25 acre River Farm, once owned by George Washington, would be a dream for any horticulturist.  For James Gagliardi, a graduate of the Longwood Graduate Program who now works as River Farm’s lone horticulturist, it’s a reality.

The farm is home to the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society (AHS) and Gagliardi is responsible for all the plantings and running the maintenance for the 25 acre garden, as well as writing any educational brochures, developing educational panels, and doing community outreach.  He is the first to say that none of it would have been possible had it not been for the experience he gained at the Longwood Graduate Program.

“The Longwood Graduate Program helped me a lot for what I’m doing now. It has one of the strongest and greatest networks within the public horticulture field.”

Gagliardi said now that the program is providing 5 graduates a year, the network is expanding and there are graduates of the program all over the world in public horticulture.

“There’s a strong network among fellows and even the people who haven’t come out of the program know the experience and the education that you are getting from the program.”

AHS has strong ties with the Longwood Graduate Program. Katy Moss Warner (76’), the President Emeritus of AHS, is a graduate of the program, and when Gagliardi was applying for his position, one of his classmates, Grace Chapman (08’), was doing her thesis at AHS.

“AHS had a really strong connection with the Longwood Graduate Program so they knew the kind of person that I had to be and the kind of experiences I had. So I am very sure that it helped me get my job here.”

Attending the program from 2006-08, Gagliardi said that the five-person class had a mix of people with varying professional horticulture experience.  He came to the program right after completing his undergraduate work at the University of Connecticut and said that getting the job at AHS was due in large part to the professional, hands on experience he gained while at the Longwood Graduate Program.

“I was 25 when I was getting out and I didn’t have the work experience that some other people had. But because the Longwood Graduate Program features experiential learning, it provided a good solid basis for me when I was applying for jobs with botanic gardens.”

While he said that finding a favorite part of the program was tough since he enjoyed it so thoroughly, Gagliardi did admit that the trip he and his classmates took to Ecuador for three weeks was hard to beat.

“The travel with the program is unbelievable. We looked at botanical gardens in Ecuador and went everywhere from the Amazon Rainforest up into the mountains and out to the Galapagos Islands to see plants in their native habitats, and what they’re doing in different countries for conservation. It was beyond amazing.”

Robert Lyons, director for the Longwood Graduate Program, said that Gagliardi’s passion for the program was evident before he even finished his undergraduate degree.

“James made it a point to visit us prior to applying and saw that what we offered would be a great fit for his career goals.”

Lyons said that once Gagliardi was accepted to the program, he “soon became one of the most resourceful of all the Longwood Fellows, so it is not surprising to me to see how he has combined his interest and knowledge of horticulture with efficient gardening practices that he can now share with others.”

Those efficient gardening practices are now being displayed in his professional work at AHS, and that work isn’t going unnoticed. In just the past month, Gagliardi has been quoted for his horticulture expertise in two USA Today pieces, a TIME Money column and a Washington Post piece.

Once again, Gagliardi credits the Longwood Graduate Program with putting him on the path to success.

“The program is created to produce leaders in public horticulture. It’s course driven, it’s thesis driven, and it’s project driven; the combination of those varied experiences gave me the strength I needed in various means of management and knowledge. The Longwood Program is the premier program to go to for public horticulture. Delaware is definitely the place to get that education.”

Story by Adam Thomas


Therapeutic community garden offers natural relief

December 6, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

When we’re having a bad day, many of us intuitively seek relief in nature, whether that means a hike in the woods, quick stroll through the park, or merely adding a green plant to an otherwise sterile work cubicle.

Scientists would say we’re doing the right thing. A slew of studies indicate that interaction with nature reduces stress and anger, improves cognitive performance and increases one’s sense of connection to the world.

For those who are experiencing more than just a bad day and suffer from depression or other mental illnesses, the benefits of nature may be even greater.

Recently, Cooperative Extension and the Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture at the University of Delaware began helping clients of the state’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) enjoy the uplifting benefits of nature. They developed plans for a therapeutic and community garden on DHSS’s Herman M. Holloway, Sr., Campus in New Castle.

Partners in the project include UD’s Center for Disabilities Studies, Delaware Department of Agriculture, Delaware Center for Horticulture and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The Longwood Fellows took on the garden design as their annual professional outreach project. But even before a single design was sketched, Extension and Department of Agriculture professionals got to work on an education program for the clients.

“We offered workshops to develop interest in gardening,” says Carrie Murphy, horticulture agent for New Castle County Extension. “There was already a lot of interest; in fact, the clients wanted to begin growing vegetables immediately. So we designed and planted a 20- by 30-foot vegetable garden at the Holloway campus this past summer and showed the clients how to prep the soil, plant, weed, compost and harvest.”

First-year crops included popcorn, pumpkins, sweet corn and sunflowers.

Thursday has become “Garden Day” when Extension and Department of Agriculture staff and Master Gardeners offer structured activities at the Holloway campus.

One week, Master Gardener Hetty Francke gave a composting demonstration, another week entomologist Brian Kunkel discussed how to tackle garden pests. Even now, as winter draws near, Garden Day continues. One recent Thursday, Department of Agriculture entomologist Heather Disque gave a talk on where bees spend the cold-weather months.

Holloway clients and employees provided input into the therapeutic garden’s design.

The Longwood Fellows organized a design charrette, a brainstorming session with Holloway clients and other stakeholders, as well as representatives from the professional horticulture community. The fellows also held informal focus groups on the Holloway campus.

One thing they quickly discovered, says Longwood Fellow Rebecca Pineo, was the clients’ wish to memorialize individuals buried in a nearby potter’s field. So the garden design maintains open sight lines to this field from the main garden area. In addition, the clients will be creating garden art in on-site ceramic studios; some of these works may be utilized for memorial purposes.

Before hitting the drawing board, the fellows also researched existing therapeutic gardens. A few traveled to the Buehler Enabling Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden, which is considered a model in engaging people of all abilities in gardening. And all 10 fellows visited Philadelphia’s Friends Hospital, which has had a therapeutic garden on site since 1817.

The final design that the Longwood Fellows created splits the one-acre garden into quadrants that feature raised beds and green walls. One quadrant will have a slate wall for chalk art, an idea suggested by clients. The design also includes a woodland walk, an avenue of mixed-species trees and two shaded plazas, which can be used for everything from picnic lunches to workshops. Smaller, semi-enclosed seating nooks appear perfect for contemplation.

Sustainable landscaping practices were incorporated into every facet of the garden design, says the Department of Agriculture’s Faith Kuehn, a project leader. The garden design includes native plants whenever possible, uses some recycled materials for garden hardscapes, designates rain collection in barrels and by other means, incorporates a composting station and utilizes solar and other green technologies.

“This project helped me learn about working with a lot of different people,” says Pineo. “We had multiple partners and each partner brought different work styles, perspectives and creativity. It was challenging but it was a good lesson in the strength you can get from partnerships.”

“It’s been a win-win situation for all involved,” says Bob Lyons, director of the Longwood Graduate Program. “The therapeutic and community garden has great potential to improve the experience of the clients of the Holloway campus; it also served to grow the fellows’ experience in coordinating focus groups, design charrettes and conceptual designs.”

Although the educational piece of the project is well underway, the therapeutic garden is still just a design on paper. The project team is seeking donations and grants.

To learn more about the garden, contact Murphy at [] or (302) 831-COOP or Kuehn at [] or (302) 698-4587.

Article by Margo McDonough


Longwood Graduate Program Saves Electronics from Landfill

October 18, 2010 under CANR News, Events

The Longwood Graduate Program in public horticulture hosted its fourth successful Electronics Recycling Day on October 14.  They were able to collect computers, cell phones, walkie talkies, modems, radios, printers, dehumidifiers, a plethora of batteries, and many other items.  Four palettes worth of electronics were kept from the landfill and about 20 cell phones will be going to Cell Phones for Soldiers.

For photos and the blog post from the LGP, click here.

The students will organize another Electronics Recycling Day for next semester so continue to save any broken or unwanted electronics until next time.

Don’t forget that you can always recycle your plastic grocery bags in the green bin in Townsend Hall Commons!


FREC Masters Students Placed in PhD Programs across the US

August 17, 2010 under CANR News

The Department of Food and Resource Economics at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is having an outstanding year, with six masters’ students going into funded Ph.D. programs across the country in the fall.

 Titus Awokuse, associate professor of food and resource economics, said the FREC graduate program prepares students to contribute to critical social problems in education, natural resources and the environment, data analysis and the economy.

 “Our students do very well in the job market with a master’s degree, but those who desire more study are very competitive,” Awokuse said. “This year was an exceptional year with six students funded for advanced study. We are proud of that.”

 Tom Ilvento, chairman of the FREC department, said the master’s program includes rigorous courses in economic theory, operations research and statistics.

 “Our graduate education emphasizes a sound theoretical base coupled with applied opportunities to develop and practice professional skills in analysis, writing and presentation of ideas,” Ilvento said. “Students go on to complete a thesis or work in a company as an intern, but we want them to have a good foundation in theory so they can compete in advanced graduate study.”

Jubo Yan, who graduated from the FREC program this summer, said he was drawn to the department’s research when choosing a master’s program. Yan will be pursuing his Ph.D. in Applied Economics and Management at Cornell.

“I went to several meetings to present my papers and to meet other researchers across the country,” Yan said. “This might not be common for a lot of masters’ programs.”

Guang Xiao, who graduated from the program in May, is currently a Ph.D. student in Operations Management at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He said the FREC program taught him valuable research techniques, as well as gaining experience and improving his communication skills through presentations and written reports.

“The operations research program at UD has a practical focus, which may help me to get a better understanding about the applications of OR in the real world,” Xiao said. “The OR program in UD made me well prepared for future Ph.D. work.”

Kathryn Onken, who will graduate in the fall, is planning to pursue a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech. After completing her bachelor’s degree in the FREC department, Onken said she jumped at the chance to earn her master’s degree while conducting research with UD faculty.

“My master’s work provided me with a solid foundation from which to further build upon—not just course work, but also the opportunity to assist with research projects and publications,” Onken said. “I was never short on good advice; the faculty in the department genuinely want to see their students succeed.”


May 7: Electronics Recycling Day

April 26, 2010 under CANR News, Events

The Longwood Graduate Program is proud to announce the upcoming Electronics Recycling Day. On Friday, May 7th from 11:00am to 1:00pm, we will be collecting your unwanted electronics in the Commons of Townsend Hall. They will be recycled with UD’s Supporting Services or available for reuse by anyone coming to the Commons (someone last semester took home a perfectly good paper shredder!).

Some examples of items we will be accepting are: computers, computer components, TVs, scanners, printers, cell phones, batteries, microwaves, stereos, and other smaller electronic items. Last October, at our second CANR Electronic Recycling Day, we collected two vehicles full of materials (click link to visit the blog post). So please help us put on another successful event by bringing in your items from your office or home.

Also, please feel free to email any questions to me at the following email address


UD Study Abroad sends 1,103 Students Around the World

January 25, 2010 under CANR News

CANR students are among the 1,103 UD students abroad this winter session. Many groups are writing about their experiences on blogs.  Plant and soil science students are blogging from Brazil. Wildlife ecology and nature photography students are blogging from the Australian Outback.  Longwood Graduate Program students are blogging from South Africa

Read the full story on UDaily.


March 5: Longwood Graduate Program to host annual symposium

January 7, 2010 under CANR News, Events

The University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program in public horticulture will host its annual symposium on Friday, March 5, at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa. The symposium, titled “People, Plants, Collections: Making the Connection,” will offer insight into connecting people with the beauty, diversity and science of plants through strategic planning, inspiring interpretation, innovative programs and exhibits, and thoughtful collections development.

Designed for professional staff of public gardens, nature centers, parks, and cultural institutions, the symposium will take place in Longwood Gardens’ spectacular Ballroom starting at 8 a.m. Registration for the daylong event is $75 for professionals and $55 for full-time students.

For more information and to register online, visit the Longwood Graduate Program Web site, or call the Longwood Graduate Program office at (302) 831-2517.

For the full story click here to visit UDaily.