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From the UC Blogosphere...

Know Your Dragonflies!

A red flameskimmer dragonfly, (Libellula saturata) perches on a bamboo stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

You're walking through a park and suddenly spot a dragonfly perched on a stick. "What's that?" you ask. As you edge closer, it takes off. "Missed it!" Well, you won't want to miss the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house on Sunday, Sept. 20...

A red flameskimmer dragonfly, (Libellula saturata) perches on a bamboo stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A red flameskimmer dragonfly, (Libellula saturata) perches on a bamboo stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A red flameskimmer dragonfly, (Libellula saturata) perches on a bamboo stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Variegated meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Variegated meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Variegated meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Red-veined meadowhawk (Sympetrium madidum). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Red-veined meadowhawk (Sympetrium madidum). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Red-veined meadowhawk (Sympetrium madidum). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, September 4, 2015 at 5:52 PM

Congressman eats a healthy lunch with first-graders

Kids are eating better in Contra Costa County schools and it improves their long term health, said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier in an interview broadcast by KTVU News in San Francisco. The congressman was at Ygnacio Valley Elementary School to eat a healthy lunch with students yesterday.

The school received a USDA grant to purchase new kitchen equipment. The UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) has a contract with Pew Charitable Trusts to do case studies of selected schools around California and the nation to show the benefits of the USDA grant program, and to promote its continuation in Congress for future years.

"Many schools are making do with obsolete equipment that cannot readily meet the new, tougher federal meal standards," said Kenneth Hecht, NPI director of policy. "With new equipment, schools can prepare healthier, fresher, more appealing meals that are often the best meal kids get all day."

In the media report, DeSaulnier walked through the new serving line with Ygnacio first-graders and sat down to enjoy a healthy lunch with them. According to KTVU news, the congressman said he has heard a lot of arguments in Washington, DC, against changing food in schools, but he believes it makes a long term difference for children.

 

KTVU reporter John Sasaki tweeted this picture of Congressman Mark DeSaulnier enjoying lunch with children at Ygnacio Elementary.
 
NPI's Kenneth Hecht shares information about the program with the reporter.

 

Posted on Friday, September 4, 2015 at 8:23 AM

Find the Praying Mantis!

Late afternoon sun gives away the location of this praying mantis hidden in a bed of lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Whether you call them "praying" mantis or "preying" mantis, one thing is for sure: they are difficult to find. Tucked away in vegetation and as quiet as "the proverbial mouse" (except praying mantids are more quiet than the "proverbial" mice), they are...

Late afternoon sun gives away the location of this praying mantis hidden in a bed of lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Late afternoon sun gives away the location of this praying mantis hidden in a bed of lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Late afternoon sun gives away the location of this praying mantis hidden in a bed of lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Dead Tithonia leaves camouflage this praying mantis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Dead Tithonia leaves camouflage this praying mantis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Dead Tithonia leaves camouflage this praying mantis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A very gravid female hanging out in the lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A very gravid female hanging out in the lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A very gravid female hanging out in the lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

These are all green leaves, right? No, there's a green praying mantis here, too. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
These are all green leaves, right? No, there's a green praying mantis here, too. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

These are all green leaves, right? No, there's a green praying mantis here, too. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 5:34 PM

How Small Is Small?

A lady beetle, a monarch caterpillar and an infestation of oleander aphids. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Sometimes in a world of towering skyscrapers, jumbo jets and warehouses big enough to hold a small planet--or at least a state the size of Rhode Island--we don't realize how “small” small is. Last weekend it was a veritable insect feast...

A lady beetle, a monarch caterpillar and an infestation of oleander aphids. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A lady beetle, a monarch caterpillar and an infestation of oleander aphids. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A lady beetle, a monarch caterpillar and an infestation of oleander aphids. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An oleander aphid on
An oleander aphid on "the nose" of a monarch caterpillar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An oleander aphid on "the nose" of a monarch caterpillar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An oleander aphid on the back of a monarch caterpillar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
An oleander aphid on the back of a monarch caterpillar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An oleander aphid on the back of a monarch caterpillar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An oleander aphid crawling on a tentacle of a monarch caterpillar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
An oleander aphid crawling on a tentacle of a monarch caterpillar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An oleander aphid crawling on a tentacle of a monarch caterpillar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 6:36 PM

UC ANR advisor featured on U.S.-Indian news outlet

Surendra Dara in a Central Coast strawberry field.
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) advisor Surendra Dara was featured on a half-hour program broadcast by NRI Samay, a California-based public radio service focused on Indian-American news. Dara, an Indian native himself, shared with the host the academic path that led him to his current position serving as an advisor to strawberry and vegetable crops growers in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Dara is also affiliated with the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program.

The program's host asked how California came to be the No. 1 agricultural state in the United States and a world leader in many specific crops. Dara said the weather plays a role, of course, but he attributed much of the success to California farmers, who are continually improving their production practices. He said the research and extension programs provided by UC ANR Cooperative Extension also contributes significantly to the success of California agriculture.

In India, he said, there is an extension system, but the channels are different. He pointed out that extension is also different in other U.S. states. The University of California is a world renowned 10-campus system that has a separate division dedicated to the extension program - UC ANR.

"We have around 250 scientists responsible for various crops and commodities," Dara said.

The scientists are in regular contact with growers, plus they work to anticipate agricultural problems that might develop in the future.

"We are involved in applied research," Dara said. "We provide science-based practical solutions to farmers that can be used right away."

Posted on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 3:52 PM

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