Lange was born and educated in western Washington. In 1942, he joined the Naval Air Corps and, after three and a half years of active duty, he returned to Oregon State University, where he graduated in 1950 with bachelor's and master's degrees in horticulture.
In 1954, Lange earned a doctorate degree in plant physiology at UCLA and accepted an associate horticulturist position at the University of Hawaii. In 1958, he moved across campus to head the Weed Control Research Program for the Pineapple Research Institute of Hawaii.
Lange returned to California in 1962, accepting the position of weed control specialist with UC Cooperative Extension, first at the Davis campus and later at UC Riverside. In 1970, after spending part of a sabbatical leave in Columbia, Chile, and Central America, he relocated to Kearney.
During Lange's years in California agriculture, he was active in the California Weed Conference as a frequent speaker and a member of the steering committee. In 1986, he was named an honorary member. With the financial support of the California Weed Conference, he initiated the Grower's Weed Identification Handbook. Lange was named a fellow of the Western Society of Weed Science in 1977.
Lange retired in 1986 with the emeritus title. In retirement, Lange managed his Honey Crisp Farm in Reedley. He excelled at producing tree- and vine-ripe fruit as well as unsulfured dried fruit, which he sold at a roadside stand, at farmers markets, to fresh produce distributors and restaurants.
Vernard Lewis, UC Berkeley’s first African American entomologist, retires from 35-year career terminating termites, bed bugs and cockroaches
In the early 1990s, the UC Cooperative Extension specialist needed a place to test drywood termite detection and control methods. The College of Natural Resources wasn't keen on infesting a building with destructive pests near UC Berkeley's historic buildings, but ultimately allowed Lewis to construct the Villa Termiti in Richmond, about six miles north of campus.
“Babysitting my brothers and sisters sure helped develop my negotiating skills,” said Lewis, the oldest of 10 children.
Built at the UC Richmond Field Station in 1993, the 400-square-foot, wooden structure has been fumigated, x-rayed and featured on the cover of Popular Mechanics. It nearly burned when six test boards were scorched by a microwave device that was supposed to kill termites; Lewis observed termites living in the wood despite the microwaves and fire. Fortunately, the damage was minor.
Villa Termiti has since hosted ants, subterranean termites, wood-boring beetles and bed bugs for subsequent research projects.
The Minnesota native's interest in insects was piqued as a kindergartner, after Lewis moved from Minnesota to live with his grandparents in Fresno for six years. “California has a lot more bugs because Minnesota is frozen six months out of the year,” he said wryly. “During recess, while other kids were kicking balls, I was catching grasshoppers and feeding them to harvester ants.”
For many years, pest control operators relied on fumigation. As claims were made without scientific basis that microwave, freezing, heating, electricity, orange oil and modified fumigation were effective, Lewis tested the methods.
“If it didn't work in a lab set-up, it's not going to work where conditions are more complex in homes and buildings,” said Haverty, who published a paper with Lewis in 1996 comparing six techniques. “Nothing was as effective as fumigation.”
Lewis showed how best to do spot treatments for termites rather than tenting a whole house for fumigation, which can be expensive for homeowners.
University of Georgia entomology professor Brian Forschler said Lewis is trusted for his integrity.
“Urban entomology programs across the country are essentially funded by donations from industry so you have to walk a tightrope in that funding scenario,” Forschler explained. “You don't want to fall prey to telling your sugar daddy what they want to hear. Vernard is clearly not in that league, he has garnered respect and remained an objective scientist.”
Lewis has found mentoring young scientists at UC Berkeley and stimulating children's interest in science rewarding. In 2000, he joined the City Bugs project with Oakland Unified School District, educating K-12 school teachers and students about insects, life sciences and biodiversity.
In 1993, for a presentation in front of 300 students at Claremont Middle School in Oakland, Lewis brought a Madagascar cockroach, which measured two to three inches long.
“A kid in the second row asked to see what was in the box. He asked to hold it so I put the cockroach in his hand and he dropped it on the floor. As the cockroach ran around, kids are flying out the door. We're trying to catch it and calm the kids down, calling ‘Come back.' It was wild,” Lewis said, adding, “The Madagascar cockroach is big, but it won't hurt anybody.”
“It's been fun,” said Lewis about his career, but he is quick to point out his academic success wasn't served up with a silver spoon. “I had no spoon,” he said, jokingly.
“My high school counselor said I wasn't bright enough to go to college. I took offense to that,” said Lewis, recalling that he had scored well on the IQ tests that were administered liberally in schools in the 1950s and 1960s. “I asked him what was the best university in the country. He said, ‘UC Berkeley,' so I decided to go there.”
In 1979, Lewis earned an M.S. in entomology at UC Berkeley and started his own pest management business, IPM Systems, Inc., in 1982. Prison trustees affectionately dubbed him “Killer” when he exterminated bed bugs and cockroaches as San Quentin State Prison's vector control coordinator from 1986 through 1988. He earned his Ph.D. in entomology at UC Berkeley in 1989 and continued his entomological research on campus as a postdoctoral fellow.
In 1991, Lewis was hired as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in entomology in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) at UC Berkeley.
An advocate for diversity, Lewis is one of 20 entomologists featured in the book “Memoirs of Black Entomologists,” published by the Entomological Society of America in 2015 to encourage black students to pursue careers in the life sciences and providing practical advice on how to become successful in science. Of ESA's 7,000 members, only about 100 are African or African American.
Lewis's research and extension has been honored by several institutions and organizations, including his induction into the Pest Management Professionals' Hall of Fame in 2016, an Urban Entomology award from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America in 2002 and the Orkin Outstanding Research Award in 1998. The Florida Entomological Society recognized his efforts to promote diversity in the field of entomology by presenting him with its Pioneer Lecture Award in 2015. Lewis delivered a lecture on Margaret James Strickland Collins, the first African American woman entomology professor, whom he knew and admired.
While Lewis's work has focused on California, his career has also taken him out of the country. Lewis was a visiting professor at Kyoto University in Japan in 2011. In 2000, the United Nations selected him as the leader and founding member of its Global Termite Expert Group. He chaired the 20-member group, which worked together on projects from 2000 to 2008. Internationally, mosquitoes are the No. 1 pest and termites are No. 2.
“We couldn't stop the use of DDT on mosquitoes, but we can stop its use on termites,” Lewis said. The UN group presented lower-risk alternatives for termite management and negotiated with pest control professionals in different countries to change their practices. “That was one of the most rewarding projects,” he said, noting that China significantly reduced its use of the insecticide.
In retirement, Lewis looks forward to taking a few months to “clear my mind,” before considering offers from private companies and international contacts. While his wife, Lisa Kala, continues her work in the School of Education at UC Berkeley, Lewis intends to spend more time with their daughter, Aikane, and young grandson, Tahir. He has been granted emeritus status and will continue leading efforts to promote diversity and equity for the College of Natural Resources.
“The general public and, in particular, large funders tend to not view agriculture as a particularly sexy topic. We've done such a great job for over 150 years of providing a safe, secure, wonderful, bountiful food supply that people take it for granted,” VP Glenda Humiston told members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, explaining the challenges of fundraising for public agricultural research.
“Agricultural research has been essential to U.S. gains in productivity over the past century,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) when he announced the hearing on The Next Farm Bill: University Research. “With the global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, U.S. production agriculture will continue to be asked to produce more with fewer resources, and the best way to do that will be through strategic investments in agricultural research. I look forward to hearing from university leaders about the opportunities and challenges they face in ensuring American agriculture remains a world leader in cutting-edge technology and research.”
Conaway asked why the universities' agriculture programs lack infrastructure like labs and greenhouses and have $8.4 billion in deferred maintenance.
“As we've dealt with cuts and increased costs, it's been easy to say, ‘We can put off fixing that roof or put off buying that new piece of equipment a few more years if we can keep those researchers doing their work,'” Humiston explained. “Unfortunately, I think that's been going on for decades rather than a few years and that's why it's gotten so critical."
Humiston and the other guests described how their institutions partner with private industry and other government agencies to leverage federal funding.
Highlights of Humiston's remarks
- A vital component of federal support for agricultural research has been capacity funding specifically dedicated to supporting research and Cooperative Extension programs at America's land-grant universities.
- The current mix of federal and state capacity funds is generally leveraged many-fold by federal competitive grants, grants from private industry, and other types of unrestricted gifts and awards to faculty conducting research at the nation's land-grant universities.
- A recent study found the return on investment for federal funding of the public land-grant system averages 21:1, corresponding to annual rates of return between 9 percent and 10 percent.
- With University of California (UC) Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) serving as a vital partner, California's $47 billion agricultural sector continues to make California the nation's top agricultural state.
- In the past fiscal year, UC ANR has served more than 1.4 million adults and youth directly, published 1,800 peer-reviewed journal articles and filed more than 20 patents.
- Although progress is being made to incrementally increase appropriations to the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, it remains funded at considerably less than the $700 million authorized in the previous two Farm Bills.
To watch a recording of the hearing, visit YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckbfCTTuZs0. Humiston appears at the 24:45 mark.
For a transcript of Humiston's full prepared remarks, visit http://ucanr.edu/files/264186.pdf.
The committee has scheduled listening sessions, “The Next Farm Bill, Conversations in the Field,” to gather input from farmers, ranchers and stakeholders across the country. They will be in California on Aug. 5 in Modesto.
Since then, he has been a critical resource for pest management needs in field crops, alfalfa and vegetables. Besides alfalfa, his main focus has been on cotton, cole crops, lettuce, melons, onions and bell peppers. His most recent work has been working to spot and send out important information to growers and pest control advisers (PCAs) on the potentially devastating sugarcane aphid. Some of his other important projects include whitefly host plant resistance in cotton, insecticidal control of cotton pests and whitefly control in melons, and the tomato yellow leaf curly virus, a disease that threatens both commercial tomato production fields as well as home gardens.
Back in the 1990s, Natwick's work and research on the pink bollworm, which was invading the region's cotton fields, was instrumental in changing growers' practices by restricting cotton planting and terminating dates. The pink bollworm is no longer as severe a pest as it once was.
He has also put in an enormous amount of work into combatting the sweetpotato whitefly, for which he has been recognized locally, statewide and nationally. He worked on pesticide evaluations for short-term control of the pest and tested alfalfa varieties for whitefly resistance. Natwick also helped develop an alfalfa irrigation management strategy to reduce whitefly numbers.
Former UCCE Imperial County director Khaled Bali said, “Eric has always been a hard worker and is one of the top one percent of advisors in having achieved the highest step (Step 9) in the UC system six years ago.”
Another former colleague, Michael Rethwisch of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln said, “It takes a special person to be a successful low-desert cooperative extension entomology advisor. It takes grit, perseverance, self-motivation, leadership and an expert eye for new insect pests and resulting challenges when diseases are involved. Eric, you not only survived, but thrived!”
UCCE Imperial County director Oli Bachie said, “Because of his great knowledge, Eric has been our ‘go-to' person for our new advisors when they had questions or needed ideas. I can say that Eric has been a great artist of research in the field of entomology whose position will not easily be filled.”
In addition to his research, Natwick served two terms on the Holtville City Council, was mayor in 1988-89 and was director of UCCE Imperial County for five years. He has also done extensive mission work internationally.
Natwick was recently honored at a retirement party. About 70 of his colleagues, friends and employees turned out to say thanks for his years of service. He and his wife, Lisa, recently moved to Cedar City, Utah, where they plan to enjoy their “golden years”.
This article was published in the Imperial Valley Press on July 6, 2017.
Mariano Galla joined UCCE on June 5 as an area agronomic cropping systems and weed science advisor in Glenn, Butte and Tehama counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Galla was a research scientist from 2010 to 2014 at Agrisearch Services (now part of Eurofin Agroscience Australia), an Australian contract-research company with offices spread throughout the country. During his four years with the company, Galla worked in different locations across Australia, where he gained experience in different cropping systems and environments. He was responsible for establishing and conducting field trials in horticulture and broad acreage agronomy and with plant varieties.
Galla earned an M.S. in international agricultural development and a B.S. in agricultural sciences from University of Florence in Italy. He is currently studying herbicide drift as a Ph.D. candidate in weed science at UC Davis, and he anticipates completing his doctorate in spring 2018. He speaks Italian fluently.
Based in Orland, Galla can be reached at (530) 865-1105 and email@example.com.
Trish Bloemker Sowers joined the Development Services team June 1 as the major gift officer/executive director of the 4-H Foundation. She is a seasoned development professional with more than a decade of major and principal gifts experience in the university setting. She has worked with collegiate alumni, parents and friends as well as corporate and foundation partners at a variety of institutions, including Carnegie Mellon University, Missouri University of Science & Technology and UC Davis. In addition, Sowers has served as an executive director to a variety of trade and professional association leaders, a role in which she excelled at chapter management, board development and volunteer recruitment.
While she takes great pride in her previous development work, Sowers is especially excited to help strengthen and enhance the CA 4-H Foundation. 4-H is the organization that has had the greatest impact on her life and there has never been a cause in which she believes more passionately than 4-H.
Sowers, a 10-year 4-H alumna, represented the Nebraska 4-H program as a state and national leadership winner at the National 4-H Congress, where she was selected to receive the Silver Presidential Tray for outstanding leadership. In addition, she was a delegate to the National 4-H Conference, served as a member of the Nebraska Teen Awareness Team and held key leadership roles in four consecutive state conferences.
Sowers is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and earned her master's degree at the University of Nebraska, while working full time in the Nebraska State 4-H office. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and an active volunteer for several educational and philanthropic organizations.
Based at the ANR building in Davis, Sowers can be reached at (530) 750-1202 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bryan Schneider joined UC Riverside's College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences as its director of communications on June 19. In this role, he will oversee digital, web and print communications, along with marketing and events management, for the college, working closely with UCR's Strategic Communications office on media relations and various communications initiatives.
Working in higher education for over 17 years, Schneider came to UCR from the Claremont Colleges, where he co-managed the communications office for Claremont McKenna College. He also led award-winning marketing and web development teams for the Health Sciences enterprise at the University of Southern California, which included the Keck Medical Center of USC and the Keck School of Medicine. Prior to that, he led communications efforts at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication and Claremont Graduate University.
Prior to his career in public communications, Schneider was a grant writer and prospect researcher in development. He studied anthropology at UCLA and the University of Michigan.
Schneider is based in the CNAS Dean's Office in the Geology Building at UCR and can be reached at (951) 827-5304 and email@example.com.
Messenger-Sikes and Fontecha join IPM
joined UC IPM as an urban writer/editor on May 1. Messenger-Sikes will update Pest Notes publications and contribute to the Urban IPM Program's newsletters, blogs, online training course development and other materials. She will also assist academics and staff in developing curricula for various training materials aimed at UC Master Gardeners, retailers, pest management professionals and other urban audiences.
Messenger-Sikes holds a Ph.D. in plant pathology from UC Riverside. Her dissertation studied the use of calcium soil amendments for control of Phytophthora root rot of avocado. After graduating, she worked as a mycologist in the discovery section of AgraQuest, a biopesticide company in Davis. In 2000, she joined the pest management program at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, where she worked in both urban and agricultural IPM. She initiated the school and child care IPM program and worked as the child care IPM specialist for eight years. Messenger-Sikes specialized in outreach and education of school staff and child care providers, introducing new users to the concepts and practices of IPM.
Messenger-Sikes is located at the ANR building in Davis. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at (530) 750-1395.
joined UC IPM as the web production coordinator and UI/UX designer on April 3. Fontecha will ensure a consistent and tested online design and user experience for the UC IPM website and digital products. She will produce wireframes and mockups, as well as create final HTML and CSS prototypes. Fontecha will coordinate and ensure that IPM content is clearly laid out and quickly and efficiently published to the UC IPM website. Working with the IT/Production staff, her first goal is to transition the website to a more mobile friendly look and feel.
Fontecha is joining UC IPM from ANR Communication Services and Information Technology (CSIT), where she was the senior artist working on producing print and digital materials for UC ANR publications, California Agriculture magazine article layouts, newsletters, infographics, signage and presentations. In addition to print production, she provided web strategy and user experience design. In this role, Fontecha developed wireframes and prototypes that provided efficient user interaction and considerations for responsive web design.
Before CSIT, Fontecha worked for the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) at UC Davis as their senior graphic designer. She managed and produced CLTC's visual communications, including publications, photography and the design and content management of their website.
Fontecha is located at the ANR building in Davis. She can be reached at (530) 750-1386 and email@example.com.
LeChé McGill, academic human resources business consultant, has been named the junior delegate for UC ANR to the Council of UC Staff Assemblies. In this role, she also now has a position on the UC ANR Staff Assembly Council. The current chair of UC ANR Staff Assembly, Matt Baur, and co-chair Christina Adamson, have one more year on their two-year terms at the helm.
All ANR staff employees are members of the ANR Staff Assembly. The elected leaders of the group seek staff input on policies, processes and programs and serve in an advisory capacity to ANR leadership, giving staff a collective voice on issues of concern.
From Cows to Concrete” by Rachel Surls, UC Cooperative Extension sustainable food systems advisor in Los Angeles County, and Judith Gerber has earned the Gold Medal in the category of Regional (Adult Nonfiction) in the 19th annual Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards.
The announcement was made during the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Chicago on June 24. The awards recognize the best books published in 2016 from small, independent and university presses.
From the earliest pueblo cornfields to the struggles of farm workers to the rise of the environmental movement, "From Cows to Concrete" chronicles the epic tale of how agriculture forged Los Angeles into an urban metropolis, and how, ultimately, this farm empire spurred the very growth that paved it over, as sprawling suburbs swallowed up thousands of acres of prime farmland.
Surls and Gerber tell the continuing story of how, on the same land once squandered by corporate greed and “progress,” urban farmers are making inroads to a greener future. More than 150 vintage images expand the fascinating, detailed history.
Gerber, a second-generation Angeleno, is a farm and garden authority who has written about sustainable and urban farming, local foods and organic gardening for more than 20 years.
Over 2,000 entries were submitted in 66 categories, with Foreword's editors choosing the finalists, and a panel of over 150 librarians and booksellers acting as judges to pick the winners.
The book, published by Angel City Press, is available at http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=3549.
Elliott and Garvey win ACE awards
Two communicators affiliated with UC ANR won a total of five awards for their writing and photography in a competition sponsored by the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). The awards were presented at the ACE meeting, held June 13-16 in New Orleans.
Steve Elliott, communication coordinator for the Western Integrated Pest Management Center, received a gold award in promotional writing for his story, "Safflower Makes an Areawide IPM Program Work," published in the Western Front newsletter. Judges scored his work 100 out of a possible 100, saying, "You had me at Rodney Dangerfield. Very creative, the lead drew me right in wanting to read more. Excellent flow, packed with information in a narrative style. Congratulations on the terrific analytics for the newsletter."
He also received a bronze for his photo essay, "Loving the Land of Enchantment." Judges wrote: "Good variety of shot sizes which keeps it interesting. Diversity of stories along with photo content is engaging, and sticking to the IPM theme helps. There is so much text info that it was difficult to wade through. The words compliment the photos instead of the usual where the story supersedes the photos."
Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist for the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, received a silver award (second place) for a photo series entitled the "Predator and the Pest: What's for Dinner?" on her Bug Squad post on the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources website on Oct. 3, 2016. Her series showed a praying mantis eating a cabbage white butterfly. Judges commented, "Definitely tells a story, interesting angles and good macro technique. Caught in the moment, but has a still life feel to it, like it's a diorama in a museum and we get to look at the scene from all sides. A unique look and good capture. "
Garvey also won a bronze award for her feature photo "Save the Monarchs," posted Aug. 8, 2016, on her Bug Squad blog. It showed a monarch clinging to a finger. Judges said, "The detail in this photo is incredible. The lighting on the hand against the black background is definitely striking. And it makes the white spots on the monarch pop! Beautiful!"
"A WSU-Tagged Monarch: What a Traveler!" earned her a bronze award (third place) for blog writing on her Bug Squad blog. Judges wrote: "Short and sweet and to the point. Perfect for web reading. The photo is so helpful to the reader. The call to action at the end is a plus and not something I've seen on other entries. Fabulous use of social media to extend the reach of the article, too." – Kathy Keatley Garvey
William Walton, a professor of entomology at UC Riverside, has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Western Region Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences. He will be recognized at the Western Region Joint Summer Meeting in Portland, Ore., on July 12.
The award, given by National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recognizes exceptional and innovative teaching in college and university agricultural and food science programs. Recipients exhibit “sustained, meritorious and exceptional teaching” that is “fundamental to recruiting and retaining the scientific and professional expertise essential to the future growth and progress of our nation's food and agricultural system.”
Each nominee is judged on teaching quality, philosophy of teaching and teaching methodology, service to the teaching profession and professional growth in teaching, professional growth and scholarly activity, and service to students.
“I have formulated my teaching goals and outcomes with the following thought in mind: if I ran into a former student on the street five years from now, what concepts in insect ecology would I hope that this person has retained?” Walton said. “I want my courses to provide benefits that transcend the subject matter, but I also want to balance new developments in pedagogy and technology with a fundamental understanding of the subject matter. Students need to be informed and inquisitive citizens who appreciate that learning is fun and a life-long process.”
Walton's laboratory works on integrating studies of mosquito biology and ecology with the design of control methodologies for pestiferous and pathogen-transmitting mosquitoes in wetlands. He was a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences, has served as president of the Society for Vector Ecology, and is president-elect of the American Mosquito Control Association. – Iqbal Pitalwalla