- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
DAVIS--Mary Louise “Mary Lou” Flint, a longtime leader of the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM) Program and an Extension entomologist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is the recipient of the 2014 James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions to the university.
Flint, UC IPM's associate director for Urban and Community IPM, and a June 2014 retiree, is the third entomologist (Frank Zalom, 2004, and Thomas Leigh, 1988) to receive the Academic Federation award, first presented in 1971.
A dinner honoring her will take place at 6 p.m., Monday, Dec. 1 in Ballrooms B and C of the UC Davis Conference Center.
“This is a special award for me because of my father-in-law (former UC Davis Chancellor James Meyer for whom the award is named) and his strong support for the Academic Federation and the Cooperative Extension Specialists, Agricultural Experiment Station researchers and other non-Senate academics it represents,” Flint said.
Meyer (1922-2002) served as chancellor from 1969 to 1987, during the university's greatest period of growth and change.
Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, nominated Flint for the award. “Her name is synonymous with IPM, pest control alternatives, and public service, not just in California and the United States, but worldwide,” he wrote in his letter of nomination.
Wrote UC IPM Director Kassim Al-Khatib: “Dr. Flint has initiated, conducted, and established an outstanding and well respected IPM research and outreach program for urban and community. Many of her programs and findings have significant impact on pest management in California. She is a talented, capable specialist and good communicator to the IPM end-user.” Globally, the UC IPM program is considered the gold standard of IPM.
Flint received her bachelor's degree in plant sciences in 1972 from UC Davis, and her doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley in 1979. “We are fortunate that she chose to spend her career here at UC Davis,” Parrella said.
Among her accomplishments:
- Created, wrote or edited and oversaw the development of the UC IPM's IPM Manual series of books from 1980-2007; this series includes IPM manuals on 15 different agricultural crops or crop groups. More than 100,000 copies of these books have been sold worldwide.
- Oversaw the development and creation of the online UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines from 1987-2007. This series included 43-crop specific PMGs featuring hundreds of pests and thousands of photographs and authored by UC experts around the state and updated regularly. Flint served as technical editor. She developed many online tools associated with the PMGs such as the Natural Enemies Gallery and the Weed Galleries.
- Established the UC IPM Pest Note series for home, garden, landscape and urban audiences. This series covers more than 165 pests. About 12,000 people a day access these publications on the UC IPM Home and Garden website.
- Authored several important books on IPM including Pests of the Garden and Small Farm, IPM in Practice: Principles and Methods of IPM and The Natural Enemies Handbook. She developed the Pesticide Compendium series along with Patrick O'Connor Marer.
- Created some of the earliest interactive learning tools of IPM, including the 1996 CD-ROM Solving Garden Problems: A University of California Interactive Guide and The UC Interactive Tutorial for Biological Control of Insects and Mites (an interactive CD-ROM, Publication 3412). She and her colleagues also created some of the first online training materials for IPM with online training programs for retail nursery and garden center personnel. The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns on the UC IPM website is another key accomplishment. UC IPM takes its 16 portable UC IPM Touch Screen IPM kiosks to hundreds of retail stores and community events. More recently, Flint has been heavily involved in creating YouTube videos on the UC IPM channel and disseminating information through other electronic and social media.
- Developed hands-on, train-the-trainer programs for UC Master Gardeners, retail nursery personnel and landscape professionals that have resulted in the delivery of information to far more people than would be possible through conventional training meetings. Among the topics: biological control, pesticides and landscape pest identification.
Butte County Cooperative Extension Director and Farm Advisor Joseph Connell lauded Flint's outstanding work in “developing a wide range of Pest Notes covering topics of concern to both commercial growers and homeowners. These notes are widely distributed through Cooperative Extension offices statewide and are regularly used by Master Gardeners throughout California in their numerous outreach efforts to provide the public with peer reviewed pest management answers to common problems.”
Bay Area IPM Advisor Andrew Sutherland, Alameda County, noted that “Mary Louise Flint clearly understands the importance of reaching urban clientele through electronic media and hands-on educational programs. Urban pesticide applications have the potential to disproportionately affect surface water quality due to the prevalence of impervious surfaces and frequent runoff in urban areas.
“Mary Louise has aimed to reduce these negative impacts by extending pesticide and IPM information and resources to the main urban users of pesticides; the general public. She has utilized important urban extenders, such as UCCE Master Gardeners and retail garden center and hardware store staff, as well as mass media to disseminate the IPM message and directives. These applied and innovative programs have doubtless outcomes, such as reductions in urban pesticide use, and probable impacts, such as improved biodiversity and survival of aquatic invertebrates, key members of the food web.”
Said research entomologist Steven J. Seybold of the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Davis, and an affiliate of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology: “Dr. Flint is a California and national leader in outreach/technology transfer in the area of urban and community integrated pest management. For almost three decades she held the leadership position of director of the UC Statewide IPM Program's Education and Publications unit and singlehandedly guided and nurtured the development of the print and electronic media program that is the basis for the outreach success of UC Statewide IPM today….she cares fiercely about the creativity, technical merit, quality, and appearance of the materials provided by the IPM program and this attention to detail and her high standards have paid dividends to my own research program.”
“On a national level, Mary Louise was instrumental in facilitating the rapid processing and release of the national trapping guidelines for the walnut twig beetle, a bark beetle that vectors the pathogenic agent for thousand cankers disease of walnut,” said Seybold, a noted chemical ecologist. “Once our team had discovered the aggregation pheromone of this beetle and had demonstrated its value in trapping the insect in California, Mary Louise assisted us with the preparation and dissemination of useful trapping guidelines, which have been employed by state pest regulatory officials and detection entomologists throughout the country.”
Widely honored by her peers, Flint received the 2002 Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award for Integrated Pest Management from the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists; a 2003 IPM Innovator Award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation as part of the Sacramento Water Wise Pest Control Program; a 2003 resolution from the Sacramento City Council honoring her for contributions to the Sacramento Water Wise Program; a 2004 Environmental Services Award from the San Francisco Department of the Environment; and an international IPM Award of Recognition, “Grower Incentives Team Project,” at the 2009 International IPM Symposium in Portland, Ore.
Active in the Academic Federation, Flint chaired the merits and promotions committee (Joint Academic Federation/Academic Senate) for three years.
Flint is not only the third entomologist to receive the award, but the third IPM specialist. Frank Zalom, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, directed the UC IPM Program for 16 years (1988-2001). He is currently serving as president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America. Thomas Leigh (1923-1993) stood at the forefront of integrated pest management of cotton pests, according to an article in the summer 1994 edition of American Entomologist. He taught courses on cotton IPM and host plant resistance.
Past recipients of the James H. Meyer Award