- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Well, if your name is Allan Jones of Davis, Calif., and you capture images of insects throughout the year--especially at the 100-acre UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden and the half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road--and you like to carve pumpkins as an art form, you know that insects and pumpkins go together. They go together very well.
Almost every year Jones carves fanciful pumpkins showcased in the Common Grounds coffee house at 2171 Cowell Blvd., Suite F. "So amazing!" said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis, who recently stopped by the coffee house and admired Jones' creations.
"They generally are based on some coffee-related theme," Jones related. "This year I drew on a photo that lingered in my mind of a praying mantis leaning around a sunflower to go shopping for bees. It's a trick or treat, or maybe a bad-things-brewing situation."
"So I've gone back and found the source photo and it is nothing like the pumpkin image I've conjured from memory. But the story is still pretty much on point with artistic liberties taken with insect and flower anatomy."
How he does it: "I 'surface carve' each pumpkin like a wood carving with a v-gouge, then color them. This way they last a month or more as coffee house decorations. Most are coffee-joke pumpkins but I also like to carve natural subjects for fun, too."
An alumnus of UC Davis, Allan became an Aggie in 1961, receiving degrees in English and German in 1966, and his master's in English in 1972. He joined the doctoral program in 1973 "but I quit in 1974, making my summer job of inspecting tomatoes my career for 43 seasons (with California Department of Food and Agriculture for half of my career and then working with CDFA on an independent advisory board). I did some workmanlike macro photography of tomato defects and wider shots of the inspection process for training.“
Allan spent the ‘70s in Dixon, and the ‘80s and ‘90s in Sacramento “before moving back to Davis after 2000.”
The UC Davis alumnus also created art with the UC Davis Art and Science Fusion Program, launched and directed by the duo of entomology professor Diane Ullman of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis. Their campus and community projects are permanent displayed over much of the UC Davis campus, including the Arboretum and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's bee garden, the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Then think of watermelons and pumpkins.
All those crops will be discussed in a series of free webinars on Ensuring Crop Pollination in U.S. Specialty Crops, set Jan. 24 through March 28.
The webinars will feature five researchers with the Integrated Crop Pollination Project (ICP), including ICP co-principal investigator and pollination ecologist Neal Williams of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. They are free and open to the public. Each will be 45 minutes to 60 minutes long.
Coordinating the series are Katharina Ullmann, national crop pollination specialist with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and Extension apiculturist and professor John Skinner of the University of Tennessee. Closely linked to UC Davis, Ullmann received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, studying with Williams.
"The majority of U.S. specialty crop growers depend on bees for pollination of their crops," Ullmann said. "Growers know that without adequate pollination, they would not be profitable. But what are the best pollination strategies for fruit, vegetable, and nut crops? What farm management practices can growers use to support bees and the crop pollination they provide?"
First to present will be Theresa Pitts-Singer, who collaborates with Williams. She will discuss Ensuring Almond Pollination on Jan. 24 and also deliver the ending seminar on March 28 on How to Manage Solitary Orchard Bees for Crop Pollination.
Williams will speak Feb. 28 on On-Farm Pollinator Benefits for Watermelon Pollination. An associate professor of pollination and biology and a Chancellor's Fellow, Williams serves as the faculty co-director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and is a member of UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute. His applied research addresses the integration of wild and managed bees for pollination of diverse agricultural crops including seed production, row crops and orchards.
His research addresses a series of questions:
- Under what contexts, in terms of local management and landscape context, can native pollinators provide sufficient pollination for different crops?
- How can we enhance habitat and diversify agricultural systems to promote managed and wild bees?
- Do pollinators like honey bees and wild bees interact in ways to increase the overall effectiveness of crop pollination?
The answers to these questions will help alleviate the stress placed on honey bees, Williams says, and also "inform ways to more sustainability manage agricultural systems to promote biodiversity and production."
Williams has worked extensively in agro-ecosystems in California's Central Valley and in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. His work in the East and West has helped form the basis for pollinator conservation planting guidelines. A continuing goal, he says, is to provide practical information that can be used to improve the long-term stability of pollination for agriculture in California, as well as promote pollinator conservation and management.
All speakers will discuss their research, and engage with the audience in discussing pollination of wild bees, honey bees and other managed bees in almond, blueberry, tree fruit, pumpkin, and watermelon. Each registered attendee will later receive a link to the slides.
To register, attendees can click on each link (note that all times here are 11 a.m., Pacific Time (consult your time zone):
- Jan. 24: Ensuring Almond Pollination (Theresa Pitts-Singer, USDA-ARS and Utah State University)
- Jan. 31: Pollinating Highbush Blueberries: Bees Bring Bigger Berries (Rufus Isaacs, Michigan State University)
- Feb. 14: Pollinating Apples and Cherries East of the Rockies (Julianna Wilson, Michigan State University)
- Feb. 28: On-Farm Pollinator Benefits for Watermelon Pollination (Neal Williams, University of California, Davis)
- March 21: Ensuring Pumpkin Pollination (Shelby Fleischer, Pennsylvania State University)
- March 28: How to Manage Solitary Orchard Bees for Crop Pollination (Theresa Pitts-Singer, USDA-ARS and Utah State University)
The webinar series will be hosted by eXtension.org, an online Cooperative Extension network. Funding will be provided by the Integrated Crop Pollination Project, a USDA-NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative Grant (#2012-51181-20105). Plans are to offer continuing education credits for certified crop advisors.