- (Focus Area) Natural Resources
When two talented entomologists/artists from the University of California, Davis, collaborate and teach classes, you'll want to see the work that their students create.
And you can do just that from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 29 when UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty members Emily Meineke and Diane Ullman host the Entomology (ENT) 001 Art Show, "Insects in the Anthropocene."
The show features the art that their students created this quarter in the Labudio (lab+studio) space in Room 128 of the Environmental Horticulture Building, 200 Arboretum Drive, UC Davis. (See map)
"Please bring a t-shirt if you'd like to screen print one of our designs on it, too," they said. "Kids can make shirts, too. The event will be indoor/outdoor, so please dress accordingly." No reservations are necessary.
Assistant Professor Emily Meineke
Meineke, an urban landscape entomologist and assistant professor, was recently named one of the 12 UC Davis recipients of the prestigious Hellman Fellowships, an annual program supporting the research of early-career faculty. Her project, “Assessing Preservation of Chemical Compounds in Pressed Plants," focuses on whether herbarium specimens collected over hundreds of years harbor chemical compounds that reveal mechanisms responsible for changing insect-plant interactions.
Meineke was among the scholars and artists who helped spearhead the newly created Harvard Museum of Natural History's “In Search of Thoreau's Flowers: An Exploration of Change and Loss," hailed as an examination of the natural world and climate change at the intersections of science, art and history. She helped launch the project in 2017 when she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard University Herbaria. The 648 plant specimens that Henry David Thoreau donated to the museum form the foundation of the exhibit. It opened to the public May 14.
A native of Greenville, N.C., Meineke joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology on March 1, 2020, from the Harvard University Herbaria. As a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow, she studied how urbanization and climate change have affected plant-insect relationships worldwide over the past 100-plus years.
She received her bachelor of science degree in environmental science, with a minor in biology, in 2008 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She obtained her doctorate in entomology in 2016 from North Carolina State University.
Professor Ullman, a celebrated teacher, artist and researcher, is the 2014 recipient of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) National Excellence in Teaching Award and the UC Davis Academic Senate's 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award for undergraduate teaching. She is a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2014) and the ESA (2011).
When she was singled out for the UC Davis Academic Senate Award, her nominators praised her as providing "superb teaching and mentoring for many years, not only in the Department of Entomology and Nematology but as a leader in the Science and Society program. She has brought art-science fusion alive in innovative ways. Her nominees and students rave about her deep dedication, care, and knowledge in all teaching interactions, as well as her overall commitment to student success. One student nominee summed it up: "My experience in her course last spring was one that lifted my spirits, enriched my education, and strengthened my love for art and science during a time when it was difficult to feel positive about anything.”
Ullman's research encompasses insect/virus/plant interactions and development of management strategies for insect-transmitted plant pathogens. She has worked with many insect vector species (thrips, aphids, whiteflies, leafhoppers, mealybugs) and the plant pathogens they transmit, including viruses, phytoplasma and bacteria.
One of her latest art projects--with colleagues, UC Davis students and community members--is the Sonoran Dreams Art Project in the Garden Apartments of the University Retirement Community, Davis. Handmade ceramic tiles depicting the flora, fauna and symbols of the Sonoran Desert surround the elevator.
Ullman received her bachelor of science degree in horticulture from the University of Arizona and her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1985. She joined the UC Davis faculty in 1991 after serving as an associate professor of entomology at the University of Hawaii. Her credentials include: chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, 2004-2005; associate dean for undergraduate academic programs for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, 2005 to 2014; and co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, launched in September 2006.
- Author: Anne Schellman
Currently, we are installing demonstration gardens to be used as outdoor classrooms that the public can visit anytime, and we need your help!
Our Pollinator Garden is in the installation stage, and we could not be more thrilled. Currently, the irrigation and native plants are going in. Our Master Gardener volunteers were hard at work leveling, raking, and planting just this week.
Your Funds Help Make this Garden Happen
Help make this demonstration garden come to life! Funds will be used to purchase additional plants, tools, and educational signage. Our big funding goal is a decomposed granite walkway. This is a pricey item, which can cost several thousand dollars. The benefits are a pathway accessible to everyone that avoids runoff and allows good drainage.
How to Give
If you prefer to donate by check, please make it out to: UC Regents and send to:
UCC Stanislaus County Master Gardener Program
3800 Cornucopia Way, Ste A
Modesto, CA 95358
We look forward to meeting you in the near future in our “outdoor classroom” aka Pollinator Garden for classes on pollinators, California native plants, and how you can support them in your backyard garden, patio, apartment, or classroom.
* Our gardens are located at the Ag Center complex on the corner of Crows Landing and Service Roads in Modesto at 3800 Cornucopia Way, 95358. The Pollinator Garden is on the east side of the Stanislaus building, while the Sensory Garden is on the west side./h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
It's Thanksgiving Day, and as we sit down with family and friends to count our blessings, let's thank the bees.
If your table includes pumpkin, cranberries, carrots, cucumbers, onions, apples, oranges, cherries, blueberries, grapefruit, persimmons, pomegranates, pears, sunflower seeds, and almonds, praise the bees for their pollination services.
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are generalists, while the squash bees (Peponapis pruinosa) are specialists that pollinate only the cucurbits or squash family, Cucurbitaceae.
And don't forget the spices. Honey bees visit the plants that eventually comprise our spices, including sage, basil, oregano and thyme.
Ready for dessert? Ice cream? Even milk and ice cream are closely linked to the honey bee. Cows feed on alfalfa, which is pollinated by honey bees (along with other bees).
She was all bees-ness, this yellow-faced queen bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii.
There she was, foraging in a bed of steely blue-purple flowers, Eryngium amethystinum, a genus that belongs to the carrot family, Apiaceae.
A native bee on a non-native plant.
It was Saturday, Nov. 19 and the temperature hovered at a unseasonable 64 degrees in the Sunset Gardens, Sonoma Cornerstone, Sonoma, Calif.
Unseasonable weather and an unseasonable bumble bee.
B. vosnesenskii are spring bees, and this time of year, the queen is usually hibernating, according to the late Robbin Thorp (1933-2019), UC Davis distinguished emeritus professor of entomology and a global authority on bees. In his retirement, he co-authored Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton University, 2014) and California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists (Heyday, 2014).
“Bumble bees provide an important ecological service--pollination," he told us several years before his passing. "This service is critical to reproduction of a huge diversity of plants that in turn provide shelter, food (seeds, fruits) to diverse wildlife. The potential cascade of effects from the removal of even one localized pollinator may affect us directly and indirectly.”
Professor Thorp would have loved to see this bumble bee in Sonoma. He also would have loved to know that the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis launched the annual Robbin Thorp Memorial First-Bumble-Bee-of-the-Year Contest in 2021.
Contest coordinator Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, seeks the first bumble bee of the year in the two-county area of Yolo or Solano. The rules are simple: photograph it, record the time and date, and email the image to the Bohart Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coincidentally, this year UC Davis doctoral candidate Maureen Page of the Neal Williams lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and horticulturist Ellen Zagory, retired director of public horticulture for the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden each took their images at exactly 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 1 in the Arboretum to share the award.
Page captured her image of B. melanopygus, considered the earliest Bombus species to emerge in this area, and Zagory, of B. vosnesenskii. (See Jan. 3, 2022 Bug Squad blog)
And fittingly, they both knew and worked with Professor Thorp.
Their prize? Each receive a coffee cup designed with the endangered Franklin's bumble bee, a bee that Thorp closely monitored in its small range at the California-Oregon border. The cup features an image of a bee specimen, photographed by Bohart scientist Brennen Dyer, and designed by UC Davis doctoral alumnus Fran Keller, professor at Folsom Lake College.
- Author: Kim Ingram
“We all have a strong emotional attachment to the land and so that's the thing that drives us to work hard to maintain it and keep it healthy.”
For those of us within UC ANR who are actively involved with the Forest Stewardship Education Initiative, this participant's comment comes as no surprise. Participant's in the workshops are highly motivated, driven by various goals and objectives, to manage their forests or oak woodlands. UC ANR's goals are to educate forest landowners to better understand, manage and protect their forests by developing a forest management plan, implementing vegetation management projects, engaging with natural resource professionals, and taking advantage of cost-share opportunities that can help them meet their management goals. After three years hosting seventeen workshop series with over 350 participants, five special sessions, and two additional field days, we wanted to know how successful participants have been and how we can continue to support them.
In 2021, project PI Susie Kocher, Forestry and Natural Resources Advisor; co-PI Kim Ingram, Forest Stewardship Academic Coordinator; and Forestry and Natural Resources Advisors and project collaborators Mike Jones and Ryan Tompkins, conducted interviews of Forest Stewardship participants to help better understand their concerns and management goals.
Feelings about their forestland: Landowners told us how much they enjoy the plants and animals they encounter and that they don't mind putting in the hours of work required to meet their management goals. They want to keep forestland in the family and often talk about the need for succession planning.
“We want to be able to pass on to the next generation. They will keep it in the family and keep it open to family members for recreation and just to be there. It's family history.”
Landowner goals and concerns: Many landowners have ecological conservation, restoration, and resilience goals which are driven by concern about wildfire, climate change, drought, and tree mortality. High fuel loads and concerns around pests and diseases were often mentioned in the interviews, which directly reflect their goals around forest health and wildfire resilience.
“We would like to help the forest become more climate resilient, drought resilient, and also fire resilient. We clearly want to manage the forest to prevent that sort of devastating damage from a firestorm-like event or any sort of fire.”
How important are the following reasons for why you currently own your wooded land in California? N=286
What landowners are doing: Interviewees described conducting activities that directly reflect their attitudes about forest management and their desire to improve forest health. This includes activities such as hand thinning, pile-burning and activities focused on water quality or quantity, chipping, commercial or non-commercial thinning, defensible space, road building or maintenance and invasive or non-invasive species removal. Additionally, landowners are overwhelmingly paying for these activities out of their own pockets.
“We have a fair amount of water on the property, so there are a couple of bogs and couple of mud pits that were part of the road system. We kind of rerouted some things around and made sure that we weren't tearing things up anymore.”
Ongoing needs: The most frequently mentioned barrier was the cost of treatments and financial limitations. The lack of an available qualified workforce, having to decide on management activities to undertake with multiple ownership partners, and time were also identified as barriers.
“I'm up there for a weekend and what can I get done in a weekend? Then while I'm also up there, I'm trying to help with chopping wood or clearing blackberry bushes and things out for my parents. So, time became part of that obstacle for me.”
Landowner recommendations: Lastly, we asked participants what they would recommend California natural resources agencies do to help landowners like them manage their forests. They strongly recommended increasing awareness, education and outreach as a way for natural resource agencies to focus their efforts and financial resources around forest management. Landowners also expressed the need for an overall increase in forest and forest management awareness in communities and across the state.
“Ag extension and the forester community, you have such great services and such great knowledge. The stewardship workshop was a huge way of getting that knowledge out into the community. But you know, it just needs to be so much more of a push out into the community.”
Workshop participants learning how to use the California Tree Stick at the Butte Co-hort field day. Photo by Kim Ingram