WEATHER ALERT-Hurricane Sandy

October 28, 2012 under CANR News

For updates and University of Delaware information as it relates to Hurricane Sandy, check the University’s homepage or UD’s official Facebook and Twitter pages.

In addition to what is posted on the UD homepage, all 4-H events, classes and meetings scheduled at UD’s Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown, DE are cancelled Monday through Wednesday. And, the UDairy Creamery will close on Sunday night at 9pm and remain closed on Monday and Tuesday.

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Extension Scholars now accepting applications

February 6, 2012 under CANR News

Applications are now being accepted for the 2012 Cooperative Extension Scholars Student Intern Program. This innovative program, open to rising juniors, seniors and graduate students at the University of Delaware, offers a 10-week experience of working, and making a difference, as an intern with UD’s Cooperative Extension.

Jan Seitz, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of UD Cooperative Extension, created the Extension Scholars Program in 2004 to give UD students an opportunity to become fully engaged in service learning, which has long been a hallmark of the Cooperative Extension Service.

“The work that Extension Scholars carry out each summer is integrated into their academic curriculum; meets the needs of local communities; provides structured time for reflection; and helps foster civic responsibility,” says Seitz.

Past Extension Scholars have designed and delivered 4-H educational programs; fostered partnerships between Extension and other government and nonprofit organizations; worked with volunteers; pursued funding; evaluated program impacts; and conducted needs assessments. A capstone experience is part of the program.

Up to three Extension Scholars will be named. Scholars receive a stipend of $3,000 and, if needed, an allowance of $500 for job-related travel and/or housing. Support for the 2012 program comes from an endowment fund created in 2010 by Dover-based growers Chet and Sally Dickerson.

Location of internships will be Extension offices on the UD campus and/or in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties. Scholars are expected to work from June 10 to Aug. 4.

The application deadline is March 23. Selections will be announced by April 6.

To receive an application, or for more information, contact Alice Moore at 831-2504 or via email at ammoore@udel.edu.

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March 3: Community gardens

February 6, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Are you interested in starting or maintaining a community or school garden? Experts from the University of Delaware, Delaware Department of Agriculture, Delaware Center for Horticulture and Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids will hold an information session on Saturday, March 3, from 9 a.m. to noon, for interested educators, community members and gardeners.

The session will highlight successful, local garden projects and provide information to help participants in their community or school garden, whether that’s a vegetable garden, nature trail or butterfly garden.

“A workshop like this is long overdue,” says Carrie Murphy, educator for ornamental horticulture withUD Cooperative Extension.  “For the last two to three years, we’ve seen a major influx of phone calls, emails and in-person questions about starting and maintaining school and community gardens. Through the workshop, we hope to not only give people the resources that they need, but also give them a space to network with each other.”

In addition to expert presentations, Master Gardeners will have displays on a variety of topics including water conservation, soil testing, attracting pollinators and more.

The information session will be held in 132 Townsend Hall on the University of Delaware campus.  Townsend Hall is located at 531 South College Avenue in Newark.

To register, call or email Murphy at 302-831-2506 or cjmurphy@udel.edu.  Preregistration is required, but the workshop fee of $5 will be collected at the door.  Participants are asked to bring their own mugs for coffee.

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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.

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CANR Dean Search

December 15, 2011 under CANR News

The University of Delaware has formally launched a nationwide search for a new dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The new dean will replace Robin Morgan, who announced in September that she will be stepping down effective at the end of the 2011-12 academic year, when she completes her second five-year term as dean. Morgan will return to the CANR faculty.

UD will begin advertising for the position, and a review of applications will begin Feb. 15 and will continue until the position is filled. The proposed start date for the successful candidate is July 1, 2012.

“We look forward to an inclusive, nationwide search to identify the next dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, a person whose dynamic and entrepreneurial leadership will continue to strengthen and expand the research, teaching and extension work of the college,” said Charles G. Riordan, UD vice provost for graduate and professional education and chair of the search committee.

The search committee was convened by Provost Tom Apple.

In addition to Riordan, committee members are: Mohsen Badiey, deputy dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and professor of marine science and policy; Kelebogile Setiloane, associate professor of behavioral health and nutrition; Blake Meyers, Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor and chair of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences; Calvin Keeler, professor of animal and food sciences; Joshua Duke, professor of food and resource economics; Judy Hough-Goldstein, professor of entomology and wildlife ecology; James Glancey, associate professor of bioresources engineering; Pam Green, Crawford H. Greenewalt Chair of Plant and Soil Sciences; Susan Garey, Cooperative Extension agent; Carissa Wickens, assistant professor of animal and food sciences; Mark Isaacs, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences; and James C. Borel, DuPont executive vice president and a member of the UD Board of Trustees.

Information is available at the CANR dean search website, and a copy of the dean search advertisement is available in PDF format.

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Native Gifts for the Holidays

December 15, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Gift certificates for UDairy Creamery ice cream make a great holiday treat.

The holiday season is right around the corner. Some folks wrapped up their shopping on Black Friday but plenty haven’t finished the task – and some haven’t even started.

No worries. We’ve rounded up some great gift ideas. Best yet, these gifts have a uniquely Delaware focus. Some choices – like landscape design classes – are tailor-made for outdoorsy types. Others gifts – like Delaware wool blankets — work equally well for couch potatoes who just gaze at the landscape from their windows.

From spices to vines 

A few years ago, New Castle County Master Gardeners began offering winter workshops in addition to their regular fall and spring classes. “The response was overwhelming,” says Carrie Murphy, the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension horticultural agent for New Castle County. “January and February aren’t good for gardening but they’re perfect for learning new ways to garden and planning for the season ahead.”

Winter workshop topics include vines and espaliers, downsizing your garden, and the origin of cooking spices. For the complete list, go to this website.

To purchase a gift certificate for a Master Garden workshop, call 302-831-COOP.

Keep warm with Delaware wool

UD’s flock of Dorset ewes get sheared every spring before going out to summer pasture. Previously, their wool was sold at a regional auction to wool processors. Then farm superintendent Scott Hopkins and animal science professor Lesa Griffiths put their heads together and, soon after, Blue Hen Blankets and Yarn was born. Now, after the sheep are sheared, the wool is sent to a Canadian mill to create cozy blankets in two styles — a lap throw and a queen-size version.

The blankets have plenty of heft — each lap throw requires four pounds of wool and the queen-sized contain 12 pounds.  The lap size is $100 and queen-size $175. Buy them at the UDairy Creamery on UD’s South Campus. For creamery location and hours, see the website.

A gift that lasts all year

Surfing at Indian River Inlet and swimming at Fenwick Island. Hiking at Alapocas Run and biking at White Clay Creek. Pond fishing at Killens Pond and surf fishing at Cape Henlopen. Give them an annual pass to Delaware’s state parks, where they can enjoy their favorite outdoor activity — or try something new.

Annual passes range in price from $12 for a senior citizen to $54 for an of-state resident. For more info, or to buy a pass online, go to the state parks website.

UD profs and other experts at Longwood

Don’t let “Tips for Turf Diagnosis: Insect and Disease Management” scare you. Sure, Longwood Gardens’ continuing education program has serious classes for pros. But there’s also “beginning bonsai” and “orchids for beginners.” Your gift recipient doesn’t even have to be a gardener — birding, photography, art and flower arranging classes also are offered.

UD prof Sue Barton teaches the fundamentals of sustainable landscape design in a five-session class; UD adjunct instructor Jon Cox presents the secrets to photographing water in an all-day session. For the full schedule of classes go to the Longwood website and click on “education.”

Longwood gift cards can be purchased on Longwood’s website or at the Kennett Square, Pa., gardens.

Give ‘em Delaware River Mud

Mud pie ice cream, that is.

Delaware River Mud Pie is the most popular flavor at the UDairy Creamery, according to manager Melinda Litvinas. This ice cream pairs vanilla and chocolate cookie with swirls of fudge.

Plus, the creamery offers seasonal selections, including peppermint bark, eggnog, gingerbread and peppermint hot chocolate. Gift certificates are available in $5 denominations, perfect for stocking stuffers.

You may want to pick up All Nighter for yourself. This concoction of coffee ice cream and cookie dough chunks, crushed cookies and fudge swirl won a recent flavor creation contest. It was concocted by UD senior Kate Maloney. According to her contest entry, “Every college student has to pull an all-nighter at some point… [this ice cream] gives you the sugar rush you need to survive a 24-hour cram session.”

All Nighter could be just thing for assembling toys late on Christmas Eve, too.

The UDairy Creamery is located behind Townsend Hall on the Newark campus. The creamery closes on Dec. 23 at 5 p.m. (and re-opens Jan. 3). For more information, see the UDairy Creamery website.

Article by Margo McDonough

Photo by Danielle Quigley

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CANR Holiday Gifts

December 6, 2011 under CANR News

Need a holiday gift for someone that’s distinctively Delaware? Think about a blanket or skein of yarn made from the wool of University of Delaware sheep.

Products featured by Blue Hen Blankets and Yarn, established in 2009, are made with wool from UD’s flock of Dorset sheep at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

All proceeds from the sale of Blue Hen Blankets and Yarn help to support to the undergraduate large animal teaching programs of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

Two blankets sizes are available: lap throws ($100) and queen-sized blankets ($175).

The un-dyed natural wool blankets are edged in blue in true UD spirit.  Each blanket is labeled with an individual serial number.  Customers can request a specific serial number for a surcharge of $10 per item  (subject to availability based on a total of 200 throws and 25 blankets produced in 2010).

Yarn is ideal for making natural handcrafts. Four-ounce hands are available in un-dyed natural ($10), blue ($12) and yellow ($12).

Blankets and yarn are available for purchase at the UDairy Creamery store. If you are not able to visit the Creamery, visit the Blue Hen Blankets website to complete an online order form.  Shipping is available for an additional fee.

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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.

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Native Delaware: Beneficial Spiders

October 27, 2011 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

A big, furry, fake spider, dangling over a doorway or front porch, should produce a few screams from unsuspecting trick-or-treaters — before they dissolve in giggles when they discover that this particular arachnid is made of plastic.

As for real spiders, people don’t have much to fear, especially here in Delaware, according to Brian Kunkel, an entomologist with University of Delaware Cooperative Extension.

Most large, hairy, and scary-looking spiders, such as the wolf spider, will hurt a fly but they won’t hurt you.

“Delaware’s native spiders are more friend than foe,” says Kunkel.  “Only one poisonous spider is found in Delaware, the black widow. Of course, for those who are allergic, any spider bite can be a problem.”

Spiders are considered beneficial because they keep insect populations in check. Insects and spiders are both classified as arthropods but insects have three body parts and six legs, while spiders have two body parts and eight legs. In addition, spiders have two hand-like appendages called pedipals that they use to hold food. The pedipals contain sensory organs that allow spiders to taste their food. These sensory organs also are found on the spider’s legs.

The majority of spiders have eight eyes but despite all those eyes most spiders have bad vision, says Kunkel.  An exception is the jumping spider, which relies on its keen eyesight to locate its next meal. After spotting its prey, this spider takes a flying leap and, if successful, lands right on top of it. The wolf spider also captures its prey by hunting and chasing it down, though it’s more a sprinter than a jumper.

Another group of spiders captures its prey by using the ambush method – they just hang out, motionless, until a tasty little insect comes along into easy grasping range.

Constructing a web is the most common method that spiders use to capture prey. Web spinners in Delaware include the orb weaver, comb-footed, sheet web and funnel web spiders.

When it comes to dining habits, spiders are generalists, meaning they’re a lot like the guy at the smorgasbord sampling one of everything. In contrast, the monarch butterfly caterpillar is a specialist because it eats milkweed and only milkweed. If you want to attract spiders to your yard – so they’ll gobble up all the bad bugs – plant a variety of plants and plant types, says Kunkel. Use as little pesticide as possible; it can kill spiders as well as the pest insects.

“Spiders are a sign of a healthy garden,” says Kunkel. “They are often the most important biological control of pests in the home landscape as well as on cropland. In addition, spiders are a good source of food for birds and small mammals, particularly in winter and spring.”

Doug Tallamy, chair of UD’s Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, can personally attest to the role of spiders in controlling pests. The first summer he lived in his house it was overrun with flies, thanks in part to a nearby horse barn.

Then Tallamy and his wife began transforming their barren yard. “When we moved in, the yard supported little more than mustard grass and ragweed,” he says.

After he planted a wide variety of native trees and plants, the wildlife came – everything from bluebirds to spiders.

“One predator, in particular, that I saw pouncing on the flies is a species of jumping spider,” says Tallamy. “These small but powerful spiders learned that our windows are great hunting grounds for flies.”

Because our trees and shrubs have grown since that first summer, the jumping spider now has plenty of places to hide and lay its eggs. And our native plantings provide an alternative food source, as well.”

So go ahead and scare someone with a fake spider this Halloween – just don’t scare off the real, beneficial spiders in your yard and garden.

Article by Margo McDonough

Photo by Evan Krape

View the original post on UDaily by clicking here.

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Oct. 19: Lies and Statistics

October 7, 2011 under CANR News, Events

University of Delaware Prof. Joel Best will speak about his book, Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers From the Media, Politicians, and Activists on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 3:30 p.m., in Room 132 Townsend Hall. A reception will follow.

According to the University of California Press, “In this book Best shows us exactly how and why bad statistics emerge, spread, and come to shape policy debates. He recommends specific ways to detect bad statistics, and shows how to think more critically about ‘stat wars,’ or disputes over social statistics among various experts.”

Best is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at UD. He has written extensively about the sociology of social problems.  In addition toDamned Lies and Statistics and its sequels, his books include Threatened ChildrenRandom Violence,Flavor of the Month, and two books published earlier this year – Everyone’s a Winner, and The Stupidity Epidemic.

He is a past president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the Midwest Sociological Society, the former editor of Social Problems, and the chief editor of the online journal Sociology Compass.  He has spoken about dubious statistics at campuses across the country, and before audiences of judges, journalists and legislators.

The event is co-sponsored by the Northeast Center for Risk Management Education, the UD Department of Food and Resource Economics and the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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