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Archive for the ‘Plants’ Category

Meet graduate student Jonathan Mahoney

Jonathan Mahoney

Jonathan Mahoney.

Jonathan Mahoney is a PhD student studying plant breeding in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. While completing an undergraduate internship at the USDA in Ames, Iowa, he became part of a collaboration that connected him to UConn. Here is what he said in an interview.

Where did you study as an undergraduate?

I studied at Iowa State University in the Department of Horticulture and graduated in 2014.

What was your major?

My major was horticulture with an emphasis in fruit and vegetable production.

Why did you decide to go to graduate school?

It was partly due to the people that I worked with at Iowa State, especially the faculty, and the research that I did as an undergraduate at the USDA-ARS, National Plant Germplasm System.

It was also probably my own curiosity. Learning what something is, that’s interesting, but I want to know why and how. I think graduate school allows me to do that with experiments and scientific discoveries.

Who is your advisor? (more…)

Website relays native plant info

Native plants website

Homepage of New England Native Plants Initiatives website

New England native plants have a new ally with the creation of a website dedicated to disseminating information about them.

The New England Native Plants Initiatives site highlights “the important role native plants play in our ecology,” said Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture graduate student John Campanelli. He and his advisor, Associate Professor Julia Kuzovkina, co-initiated the website while working on a related DOT native grasses project.

Campanelli adds that the site acts as a clearinghouse to “direct people to organizations and businesses related to native plants in our region,” with the goal of increasing use of the plants. The new CAHNR website has several potential audiences from amateur gardeners to government and industry professionals to conservationists.

Native plants benefit ecosystems and the environment. For example, forbs, or wildflowers, provide ideal forage (pollen and nectar) for native pollinators like bees and butterflies. With the increased use of native forbs, there is the potential to reverse the decline of pollinator populations in the region, says Campanelli. The website has a page devoted to pollinators, and it includes links to fact sheets and research articles.

Campanelli points out an additional bonus, “Native plants are better adapted to a region’s ecological parameters. They require fewer inputs, such as water and fertilizers, to thrive.” This fact and the ability of natives to provide habitats for many species of wildlife, such as birds, reptiles and amphibians, contribute to a cleaner environment and conservation efforts, according to Campanelli. (more…)

Sustainable landscape program works with practitioners to decrease inputs while meeting the needs of users

Victoria Wallace talks with participants at a school IPM workshop in Hamden.

Victoria Wallace talks with participants at a school IPM workshop in Hamden.

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, sustainable landscapes are responsive to the environment, are re-generative and can actively contribute to the development of healthy communities. In practice, this means developing a program that incorporates the use of cultural practices that maintain and protect the environment while meeting the needs of users and adding to the value of the community.

Sustainable landscapes require the least amount of inputs (water, fertilizer, pesticides) necessary to support the managed area. Over-fertilizing is costly and contributes to excess nutrient runoff that affects water systems; changes in weather have illuminated the need for more drought-resistant turfgrass cultivars and landscape plants; and pesticides need to be used thoughtfully to protect the environment.

Victoria Wallace, extension educator in sustainable turf and landscapes, works with the College’s faculty in turf and plant science, particularly members of the integrated pest management (IPM) team, to provide educational programs in sustainable landscape management for grounds managers for municipalities and schools and professionals in the landscape industry.

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Awards and accolades for CAHNR

Awards and accoladesRecently, some of CAHNR’s faculty (names in bold type) were selected for awards that recognize their accomplishments.

The Research Excellence Program provides seed funding to promote, support and enhance the research, scholarship and creative endeavors of faculty at UConn. The Office of the Vice President for Research recently announced the 2017-2018 Research Excellence Program-Storrs recipients. CAHNR awardees and their departments and projects are:

Assistant Professor Christopher Blesso, of nutritional sciences, Defining the Impact of Dietary Sphingomyelin on Lipopolysaccharide Translocation and Inflammation.

Assistant Professor Nathan Fiala, of agricultural and resource economics, Wheels of Change: Impact of Cycles on Female Education and Empowerment in Zambia. Co-PI: Assistant Professor Nishith Prakash, of economics (more…)

CAHNR in the news

newsprintSome of CAHNR’s people, places and programs made the news recently. The bolded topics are linked to initial media coverage. The roman text links go to additional information.

UConn Magazine. Summer ’17. Highlighted many facets of CAHNR and UConn Extension in “The Next Generation of Farming” article. CAHNR Interim Dean and Director Cameron Faustman and Department of Extension Associate Cooperative Extension Educator Jiff Martin were quoted. A photo of students Marisa Kaplita and Macario Rodrigues illustrated the piece. In addition, students Anthony Chiozzi, Gabriel DeRosa, Marisa Kaplita, Nick Laskos, Tierney Lawlor and Macario Rodrigues were introduced as the “new faces of farming.” See also UConn Today. 6-20-17.

UConn Magazine. Summer ’17. Put James Gagliardi, a plant science and landscape architecture alumnus, in its alumni spotlight. The article described Gagliardi’s horticultural career at the Smithsonian Gardens in Washington, DC and mentioned Ruby Ribbons™ switch grass, a patented and trademarked ornamental grass bred by Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture Professor Mark Brand. (more…)