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From the UC Blogosphere...

Thrips Expert Cheryle O'Donnell: From San Diego to Beltsville

Just before Cheryle O'Donnell left San Diego for Beltsville, Md. she posed for this photo, which documents her USDA career.

Thrips expert Cheryle O'Donnell, a true UC Davis success story, is now settled into her new position. As of April 6, the former San Diego resident is the National Thysanoptera Taxonomist with the National Identification Services (NIS) at the Systematic...

Just before Cheryle O'Donnell left San Diego for Beltsville, Md. she posed for this photo, which documents her USDA career.
Just before Cheryle O'Donnell left San Diego for Beltsville, Md. she posed for this photo, which documents her USDA career.

Just before Cheryle O'Donnell left San Diego for Beltsville, Md. she posed for this photo, which documents her USDA career.

Posted on Friday, April 24, 2015 at 5:52 PM

Can crickets be the new beef?

UC ANR's Mark Lundy says some of the sustainability claims on production of insects for human food have been overstated. (Photo: Kathy Keatley Garvey)
As the world strives to feed its growing population, some have suggested insects could be an environmentally friendly alternative protein source for people. However, research by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources experts on crickets found they don't have the potential to add much protein to the diet after all, reported Mandy Oaklander on Time.com.

For the study, published in the journal PLOS One, the researchers raised crickets on five different diets - corn, soy, grain, food waste and crop residue. They measured the crickets' size and how much edible protein they produced.

“I think the sustainability claims on this topic have been overstated given the current state of knowledge,” wrote UC ANR Cooperative Extension agronomy advisor Mark Lundy in an e-mail to Time. “I'm all for exploring alternatives, and I am impressed by the amount of innovation that has sprung up around insect cultivation and cuisine in the last few years. However, I also think we need to be clear-eyed about what the sustainability gains are and aren't, and focus our innovative efforts and limited resources to where they will have the most lasting impact.”

Lundy conducted the research and published the results with horticultural entomologist Michael Parrella, a professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. The story generated a great deal of news media coverage, including:

The environmental benefits of eating crickets vs. chicken: It's complicated
Brooke Borel, Popular Science, April 22

Humans Are Ready For Protein-Rich Crickets, But Are Crickets Ready For Us?
Rex Macadangdang, Tech Times, April 19

Crickets can't replace Meat in Human Diet: Study
Luis Georg, Perfect Science, April 18

Turns out, crickets may not be the solution to all of our problems
Lindsay Abrams, Salon, April 17

Crickets aren't ready to replace meat
Pat Bailey, Futurity.org, April 17

Crickets aren't the miracle source of protein
Kathy Keatley Garvey, Phys.org, April 16

Crickets Aren't the Superfood They're Cracked Up to Be
Alissa Walker, Gizmodo.com, April 16

Maybe crickets aren't the food of the future, after all 
Alexis Madrigal, Fusion.net, April 16

Crickets Alone Will Not Save You, Futurist Foodies Robbie Gonzalez, i09/We Come From the Future, April 20

Crickets Are Not a Free Lunch
Entomology Today, April 15

Posted on Friday, April 24, 2015 at 10:55 AM

Happy Arbor Day!

Plant a Tree to Celebrate Arbor Day! Have you ever wondered how this national (and international) holiday got its roots? Arbor Day is an annual observance that promotes tree planting and care and reflects a hope for the future. As a formal holiday, it was first observed in 1872, in Nebraska.

Julius S. Morton Photo courtesy Nebraskahistory.org

In 1854, Julius Sterling Morton moved from Detroit to Nebraska City, Nebraska. Morton was a nature lover and felt that Nebraska's landscape and economy would benefit from the wide-scale planting of trees. He set an example himself planting orchards, shade trees and wind breaks on his own farm and urged neighbors to do the same.

Morton  became editor of Nebraska's first newspaper and used the paper to share agricultural information, ideas on environmental stewardship and his enthusiasm for trees to a receptive audience. He was ahead of his time as his own version of a master gardener!

In 1872, Morton presented the State Board of Agriculture a resolution “to set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and fruit.” The Board declared April 10 Arbor Day. More than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day. With this first tree planting holiday observance, J. Sterling Morton became known as the “Founder of Arbor Day.” Arbor Day did not become a legal holiday until 1885, when the legislature set aside Morton's birthday, April 22, as the holiday. 

Chinese pistache Photo by Pamela M. Geisel
Today, National Arbor Day is celebrated in all fifty states the last Friday in April but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year based on best tree-planting times in their area. As a state, California celebrates Arbor Day Week March 7-14.

For more information on planting and caring for landscape or fruit trees visit the UC California Garden Web website.

To learn more about Arbor Day, visit the Arbor Day Foundation Website.       

 

Information and quotes cited in this blog can be found on Arbor Day Foundation & Arbor-day.net.

 

Posted on Friday, April 24, 2015 at 6:00 AM

From a 'Butterfly Wish' to a Tarantula Named 'Peaches'

Roxanne Bell, 7, of Davis, decided that Peaches, the rose-haired tarantula,

What a grand event! When the University of California, Davis held its annual campus "Take Your Daughters (And Sons) to Work" Day today (April 23), the participants met one-on-one with entomologists, firefighters, physicians, plant specialists,...

Roxanne Bell, 7, of Davis, decided that Peaches, the rose-haired tarantula,
Roxanne Bell, 7, of Davis, decided that Peaches, the rose-haired tarantula, "tickles!" Watching her reaction at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, during "Take Your Daughers (And Sons) to Work" Day is Joel Fuerte, 6, of Woodland. Their mothers work at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Roxanne Bell, 7, of Davis, decided that Peaches, the rose-haired tarantula, "tickles!" Watching her reaction at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, during "Take Your Daughers (And Sons) to Work" Day is Joel Fuerte, 6, of Woodland. Their mothers work at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Joel Fuerte, 6, of Woodland, eagerly listens to children's author S. S. Dudley, a retired UC Davis scientist. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Joel Fuerte, 6, of Woodland, eagerly listens to children's author S. S. Dudley, a retired UC Davis scientist. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Joel Fuerte, 6, of Woodland, eagerly listens to children's author S. S. Dudley, a retired UC Davis scientist. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Children's author S. S. Dudley draws the attention of a crowd listening as he talks about the morpho butterflies. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Children's author S. S. Dudley draws the attention of a crowd listening as he talks about the morpho butterflies. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Children's author S. S. Dudley draws the attention of a crowd listening as he talks about the morpho butterflies. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 5:56 PM

Luck Be a Lady (Beetle)

A lady beetle, newly rescued from the bathroom of a restaurant in Marin County, crawls on an Iceland poppy in a Solano County bee garden. Freedom! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Overhead in the lady's restroom of a restaurant at the Sausalito marina: Mother to daughter: "There's a lady in here." Daughter: "A lady? Well, why wouldn't there be a lady in here? This is a lady's restroom." Mother: "Look right over there, on the...

A lady beetle, newly rescued from the bathroom of a restaurant in Marin County, crawls on an Iceland poppy in a Solano County bee garden. Freedom! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A lady beetle, newly rescued from the bathroom of a restaurant in Marin County, crawls on an Iceland poppy in a Solano County bee garden. Freedom! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A lady beetle, newly rescued from the bathroom of a restaurant in Marin County, crawls on an Iceland poppy in a Solano County bee garden. Freedom! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Which way is up? Which way is down? A rescued lady beetle exploring its surroundings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Which way is up? Which way is down? A rescued lady beetle exploring its surroundings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Which way is up? Which way is down? A rescued lady beetle exploring its surroundings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 6:18 PM

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