NEWS & EVENTS
Watch this video to find out more about this year’s inductees into the Academy of Distinguished Alumni. At the end of the video, click on each inductee to hear their success stories.
– See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2014/03/06/wvu-alumni-make-a-better-world-through-leadership-and-healthcare#sthash.lo0pqR8h.dpuf
Dr. Gopala Krishna was born in Kaiwara, a village in southern India, where he was one of six children. He completed the 10th grade in Kaiwara, often studying at night using kerosene lamps and street lights because his home had no electricity at the time. He was first in his family to pass 10th grade with honors and he spent the next two years living independently and studying in a larger nearby village.
After completing 12th grade with honors, he pursued his dreams in metropolitan Bangalore by attending the College of Agriculture, University of Agricultural Sciences where he earned a bachelor’s degree, finishing 11th among 400 students, and later a master’s degree where he finished at the top of his class and was recognized with a University Gold Medal.
With strong academic credentials and a zeal for higher learning, Krishna was one of three students to receive a full scholarship from the Indian government to study abroad. After choosing the U.S. for his post-graduate studies, he chose WVU because of research being done by Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design Professor Joginder Nath, who also went out his way to help Krishna begin his studies at WVU.
Learn more about Dr. Krishna’s remarkable career at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2014/02/10/wvu-to-induct-four-visionaries-into-academy-of-distinguished-alumni#sthash.36PsaXX7.dpuf
Nath, a West Virginia University professor emeritus and long-time chair of the genetics and developmental biology program who retired in 2009, recently established the Nath Graduate Student Travel Award, which assists graduate students in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design by providing travel fund assistance to attend conferences, present papers, conduct research or travel to enhance their education. The college will make the award for the first time this spring.
“It’s really a personal thing,” Nath said. “When I was chair of the program, I used to go to national and international meetings every year and sometimes as many as five or 10 students would want to go but didn’t have the money for travel.”
Nath would solicit funds from the president’s office, his dean, former students and friends. When the money fell short, he used his own resources.
“Nothing stopped us, honestly, but that was a hard thing, having very little funding for travel,” Nath said. “So when I was thinking about what to support, it wasn’t a tough decision for me.”
Nath attended Panjab University in India, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s. He left India in his twenties to earn a doctorate in genetics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In the late ‘60s, he and two other professors were hired to start a genetics and developmental biology program at WVU.
“I was committed to this program because we were hired to create this program,” Nath said. “I have been committed to this program from its inception and the program became part of my life, really.”
WVU Davis College Dean Dan Robison has launched an effort to further develop the program Nath began and shepherded for many years, working collaboratively to do that with several other WVU colleges.
“There are so many parts to the legacy that Jo Nath continues to build at WVU, from the genetics and developmental biology program, to an endowed lecture in the Honors College, to support for the new Art Museum, to this new fantastic graduate student travel effort,” Robison said. “Jo and his wife, Charlotte, have and are making such a great positive difference at WVU it’s astounding and an inspiration to us all.”
– See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2014/01/15/retired-wvu-professor-continues-to-create-opportunities-for-students#sthash.aVc1zCBC.dpuf
Via WVU Today:
Small farms can mean big business. That’s one of the messages of the 10th annual West Virginia Small Farm Conference, Feb. 27 through March 1, at Waterfront Place Hotel and Conference Center in Morgantown.
The conference brings together a number of experts, including West Virginia University Extension agents and experienced farmers, who will offer more than 100 sessions covering everything from livestock and crop production to packaging, marketing and record keeping.
“It’s not enough just to tell farmers about the opportunities that are out there,” said Tom McConnell, WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center program leader. “To make their farms and families more profitable, they need to know how to embrace those opportunities. This conference is all about teaching and networking.”
– See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2014/01/17/annual-w-va-small-farm-conference-continues-to-expand#sthash.W9VwVuGe.dpuf
“We are thrilled with the appointment of Dr. Jenks to this position,” said Daniel Robison, dean of the Davis College. “He is an outstanding scholar and leader, having risen through the ranks at Purdue University and now serving in a leadership role for the USDA Agriculture Research Service.”
Robison added that Jenks “will bring to WVU a passion for learning, teaching, service and science, and the application of all that we do to the practical and fundamental aspects of agriculture and related fields.”
Jenks is currently research leader and supervisory research geneticist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service Arid Land Agricultural Research Center in Maricopa, Ariz.
“I’m very honored and excited to join the faculty, staff, and students in the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, and follow in the footsteps of current director Barton Baker,” Jenks said. “And I’m looking forward to continuing the important work that’s done there.”
Jenks earned a B.S. in Horticulture from Michigan State University, a M.S. in Horticulture from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Purdue University. He began his career in academia at Arkansas State University, followed by a long and successful stint at Purdue.
While there, he attained the rank of full professor, was named director of the Purdue Arboretum and completed a year as a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow at the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece. When he left Purdue, he was serving as associate department head of the horticulture and landscape architecture program.
From there, he joined the Arid Land Agricultural Research Center as research leader of its Plant Physiology and Genetics Unit. He also served as an adjunct faculty member for the School of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona. He’ll begin his duties at WVU on Monday, March 17.
Jenks’ predecessor, Barton Baker has served as a member of WVU’s agronomy faculty since 1970. He undertook interim leadership of the Division in 1986 and accepted the permanent position in 1988. He served a one-year term as interim dean of the Davis College in 1994.
Robison thanked Baker for his “terrific work and success. Barton has fostered a unit of excellence and collegiality, he has been a huge help to me as I got started here at WVU, and I know he has mentored many others. He is a person of wisdom and insight, and will be handing off to Dr. Jenks an academic unit doing great things and ready to do more.”
Some of the milestones that the Division has experienced under Baker’s leadership include conversion of the Morgantown horticulture farm into a USDA-certified organic research center, the construction of South Agricultural Sciences for programs in plant pathology and environmental microbiology, and the dedication of a state-of-the-art greenhouse on WVU’s Evansdale Campus.
Baker was enshrined in the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame in 2009, and was a long serving member of the Allegheny Highlands Project. He is currently finalizing retirement plans.
The Division of Plant and Soil Sciences offers undergraduate majors in agroecology, agronomy, applied and environmental microbiology, environmental protection, horticulture, and soil science, and minors in applied and environmental microbiology, arboriculture, environmental protection, horticulture, pest management, and soil science.
Graduate students can pursue master’s programs in agronomy, applied and environmental microbiology, entomology, genetics and developmental biology, horticulture, plant pathology, soil science and Ph.D. programs in plant and soil sciences and genetics and developmental biology.
Faculty, staff and students pursue teaching, research and service at two farms in Monongalia County and at the Kearneysville Tree Fruit Research Facility in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. Working with the WVU Extension Service, the Division conducts thousands of soil tests for West Virginians each year.
Division faculty and staff curate the International Culture Collection of Mycorrhizal Fungi with ongoing support of the National Science Foundation. Faculty and student researchers have been instrumental in the ongoing restoration of the American Chestnut, while others lead the nation in land reclamation. They conduct research in the fields of environmental microbiology, plant physiology, and genetics, and pursue other subjects ranging from forage and fruit systems to soils mapping and hydrology.
The Newmans have created the Joel and Suellen Newman Dean’s Opportunities Fund, which will provide discretionary funds to support salaries, scholarships, research and other opportunities to advance the college’s mission and goals.
“Suellen and I feel it is very important to repay, in a small way, what we received from WVU, and contribute to the experience that the current students and our future leaders are enjoying,” said Joel Newman, president of the American Feed Industry Association and ‘71 graduate of the Davis College’s program in animal and nutritional sciences.
“I have enjoyed a very diverse and progressive career,” added Newman, who was inducted into the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2013. “WVU and the Davis College gave me the foundation to build on and achieve this success. Dr. Harold Kidder, in particular, was a valuable mentor for me during my time at WVU and his influence has stayed with me long after I graduated.”
Kidder also provided an example of philanthropy. His donation to WVU continues to support Davis College graduates as they pursue professional and graduate education.
Joel Newman serves as a member of the Davis College’s Visiting Committee and Comprehensive Campaign Committee, indications of his belief in the college’s growth and momentum.
“Davis College is making great strides under Dean Dan Robison’s leadership,” Newman said. “The expansion and success of the college research programs are contributing to the new technology that will enable our poultry and livestock producers to feed a growing global population, while also protecting our environmental resources for future generations.”
– See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2013/12/16/new-fund-creates-opportunities-for-wvu-s-davis-college#sthash.MdkwqG31.dpuf
Carol Brown, a master’s candidate in soil science in WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, received a $1,500 scholarship from the National Association of State Land Reclamationists.
Brown’s thesis research focuses on the quality and yield of switchgrass grown on reclaimed surface mines for biofuel production.
After earning her undergraduate degree at Ohio State, Brown began her graduate studies under Jeff Skousen, a professor of soil science in the Davis College and land reclamation specialist for WVU Extension.
“As an undergraduate, I specialized in ecological engineering because of the focus on habitat restoration,” said Brown, of Avon, Ohio. “I knew that a master’s degree in soil science would fill in the gaps left with my engineering degree.
“Soil science is such a crucial part of the reclamation of new and abandoned mine lands that I jumped at the chance when I was offered the position at WVU,” Brown added.
– See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2013/10/24/wvu-grad-student-seeks-new-fuels-in-old-fields#sthash.SnAolx6P.dpuf
West Virginia University Extension specialists will conduct a one-day Lawn and Landscape Recertification Workshop on Oct. 26 that teaches participants tips and safety techniques to maintain their lawns and gardens.
Topics include pest control, proper fertilizer and pesticide storage and balancing soil nutrition.
The workshop will be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the South Agricultural Sciences Building on the Evansdale Campus. The cost for the workshop is $20 at the door or $15 by mail-in advance. Drinks and snacks will be provided.
During the lawn and garden pest portion of the workshop, participants will learn about common, unwelcome insects, weeds and plant diseases.
– See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2013/10/21/wvu-extension-to-hold-workshop-on-lawn-and-garden-maintenance#sthash.wwXEDGmp.dpuf
Jessica Odenheimer, a master’s candidate in agronomy in WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, won a $2,000 scholarship from the National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs.
“Land reclamation is my passion,” Odenheimer said. “Reclamation will always be needed, whether it’s for land that was mined for coal, land that was fractured for natural gas, superfund sites, or even streams and rivers that have been affected by industry or our growing population.”
Odenheimer took land reclamation courses while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences at Virginia Tech. In 2010, she met WVU’s Jeff Skousen at a meeting of the American Society of Mining Reclamation.
“I knew he would be a fantastic mentor in the realm of mining reclamation,” Odenheimer said.
Skousen serves a dual role at WVU, both as professor of soil science in the Davis College and as land reclamation specialist for WVU Extension. He has an international reputation as an expert in disturbed mine lands and reclamation systems.
– See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2013/10/18/wvu-grad-student-receives-national-recognition-for-mine-land-reclamation#sthash.I2KSNGXq.dpuf
Fall webworm appears late in the season and is usually not difficult to control or detrimental to the plant.
“While they can destroy leaves it’s rare for them to do any significant damage to established trees,” Daniel Frank, WVU Extension Service entomology specialist, said.
Fall webworm larvae form a web or tent around themselves and their food the tree foliage. As the larvae grow, so do their webs and the destruction that they cause.
Because the larvae feed in groups, they can skeletonize leaves, eventually consuming entire leaves as they reach maturity.
Gardeners and growers often mistake fall webworms with the eastern tent caterpillar despite their different appearances.
Fall webworms form loose, silken webs around the ends of branches; the larvae feed on the foliage within the web.
Conversely, the eastern tent caterpillar forms dense webs in the forks and crotches of trees; the larvae leave their web to feed but congregate there at night and during inclement weather. Eastern tent caterpillar larvae occur in the spring.
Since fall webworm feed on leaves late in the season and their webs are generally concentrated in limited areas, they cause minimal damage to the tree. However, the nests often look unsightly and can be controlled by pruning and destroying infested branches if the webs are within reach.
According to Frank, bacterial and synthetic insecticides are also effective against fall webworm. Sprays should be applied to the foliage closest to the web mass, as spraying the web itself will not give good contact to the larvae inside.
For more information on agriculture programs in your community, contact your local county office of the WVU Extension Service, or visit www.ext.wvu.edu.
By Cassie Waugh, WVU Extension Service
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