Cuddle a cockroach? Snuggle with a stick insect?
When UC Davis Chancellor Gary May and Dean Helene Dillard of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences recently toured the Bohart Museum of Entomology, they praised the scientific research and displays, but neither expressed an interest in cuddling a cockroach or snuggling with a stick insect in the live "petting zoo."
They were more interested in the science.
The news coverage, however, won a gold award (first place) in a competition hosted by the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE).
Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, covered the event with pen and camera. Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis, chronicled the history of the museum, relating that Professor Richard M. Bohart founded the insect museum in 1946. Now located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, it houses nearly 8 million insect specimens, plus a gift shop and the petting zoo.
Garvey headlined her news story, "To Boldly Go," referencing the theme of Chancellor May's 10-year strategic planning process launched in 2017. May, a Star Trek enthusiast, chose the theme to bring together everyone's bold ideas "to propel us to accomplish things we've only dreamed of in the past."
"So does the chancellor 'boldy go' into a museum with nearly eight million insect specimens and a live 'petting zoo' of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking insects, scorpions, tarantulas and praying mantises?" Garvey asked in her news story.
"Does he 'boldly go' to see a rose-haired tarantula named Coco McFluffin, a scorpion named Hamilton, and an orchid praying mantis named Marsha? And dozens of Madagascar hissing cockroaches fondly nicknamed 'Hissers?'"
"He does. Of course, he does!"
Judges lauded the coverage. "This great range of photos captures the event well," they wrote in their critique. "The diversity of angles, shot size, people, and insects make an interesting guide through the article. Definitely fulfilled the service mission, making a nice shareable piece for the university and the other involved entities...It's a good glimpse into the museum for people who can't visit and generates interest for those who can. Though the article explained the chancellor and dean were not keen on interacting with the insects, it would have been nice to have a photo of them smiling. They don't look very comfortable, though they do look interested...Great work, nice coverage." (See entry at https://bit.ly/2LJE65i.)
The award was one of 10 that communicators affiliated with UC Davis will receive at the ACE conference set June 24-27 in San Antonio, Texas. Communications coordinator Steve Elliott of the Western Integrated Pest Management Center won four, including two golds:
- A gold award for writing for the web for his "Preparing for the Invasion: Emerald Ash Borer in Colorado" (See entry: https://bit.ly/2YBaRTT)
- A gold award for writing within a specialized publications for “Learning to Manage – and Live with – Coyotes in Southern California.” (See entry: https://bit.ly/2LLFjZY)
- A silver award (second place) for the center's electronic newsletter, highlighting integrated pest management research, issues, funding opportunities, jobs and meetings each month. Issues available at (See entry: https://bit.ly/2M5mL6s)
- A bronze award (third place), with Will Suckow, for the Western IPM Center website (www.westernipm.org)
Science writer Gregory Watry of the College of Biological Sciences won a silver award in the promotional writing category for his story, ‘Feeding the Future: Growing Stronger Crops.” (Entry: https://bit.ly/2vZYZyz)
Garvey also won several other awards:
- A silver award for a feature photo of a honey bee covered with mustard pollen. (Entry: https://bit.ly/2I82fi2)
- A bronze award (third place) for "The Bee Man" newspaper story on Norm Gary, emeritus professor of entomology, book author, and retired bee wrangler (Entry: https://bit.ly/2w3yW9m)
- A bronze award for writing within a specialized publication. This was a feature on "Bugs and Beats," published in Entomology Today, a publication of the Entomological Society of America, and featuring the Entomology Band of UC Davis graduate students (Entry: https://bit.ly/2JHIfEa)
- A bronze award for her Bug Squad blog, "When Queen Bees Get Permanents," showcasing the art of Karissa Merritt, UC Davis entomology student, in a Bohart Museum calendar (Entry: https://bit.ly/2BWV7Ch)
ACE, headquartered in Morton Grove, Ill., and founded in 1913., is a non-profit international association of communications, educators and information technologists.
They brought home five gold or first-place awards: three silver or second-place awards; and two bronze or third-place awards. “That was quite a haul!” commented an ACE member on Facebook.
Diane Nelson, communication specialist with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, won two golds. One was for promotional writing, “Weighing Pig Personality” (https://bit.ly/2KDdYmQ), featuring animal science professor Kristina Horback's pioneering research examining the role personality plays in the welfare and sustainable production of pigs. The second gold was for web writing, “The Last Stop: When There's Nowhere Colder to Go” (https://bit.ly/2M6iOOR), spotlighting research by animal science professor Anne Todgham who studies how climate change affects polar species. Both of Nelson's submissions drew perfect scores from the judges.
Jim Downing, executive editor of California Agriculture, the peer-reviewed journal of UC ANR, won gold in the magazine division (http://calag.ucanr.edu/). California Agriculture is a quarterly peer-reviewed journal reporting research, reviews and news on California's agricultural, natural and human resources. First published in December 1946, it is one of the country's oldest, continuously published, land-grant university research publications.
Steve Ellliot, communication coordinator for the Western Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center, won two silvers and a bronze: a silver for his photo essay, “America's Arctic Agriculture: Growing Crops, Managing Pests and Monitoring Invasives in Alaska” (https://bit.ly/2OS2Vtc); silver for the diversity awards video category, “Gold Spotted Oak Borer: A Threat to California's Oaks” (https://youtu.be/In2e5atd3ZY); and a bronze for the Western IPM Center's monthly newsletter, “The Western Front” (https://bit.ly/2M5mL6s). The Center, a USDA-funded program, aims to promote smart, safe and sustainable pest management to protect the people, environment and economy of the American West, encompassing 17 Western states and territories.
Gregory Watry, science writer for the College of Biological Sciences, won a bronze award in the “Writing for Diverse Audiences” (https://bit.ly/2M4Nq3o) in a diversity awards category. It dealt with undergraduate research opportunities in the Rebecca Calisi Rodriguez lab.
ACE, a worldwide association of communicators, educators and information technologists, offers professional development and networking for individuals who extend knowledge about agriculture, natural resources, and life and human sciences. At the Scottsdale conference, the ACE members joined forces with U.S. crop and livestock media professionals at the 2018 Ag Media Summit.
Kathy Keatley Garvey, Diane Nelson and Alison Van Eenennaam are being recognized for their stories, photos and a video highlighting UC Davis’ work in agriculture and the life sciences.
The recognition is from the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences, or ACE, specifically its annual Critique and Awards Program.
The awards presentation is scheduled to take place at the annual ACE conference, scheduled this year from June 11 to 14 in Indianapolis.
Garvey is classified as a senior writer in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, but she is known as much for her writing as her insect photography — for which she is receiving the ACE Outstanding Professional Skill Award for the second year in a row (she won it last year with a bee sting photo).
Her 2013 skill award goes along with two gold awards (first place) in photography, one for a feature photo and the other for a picture story. The feature winner shows a praying mantis lunging at a honeybee (taken in UC Davis’ Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven), in a photo titled Missed! (the caption begins with the word “Danger!” in this post on Garvey’s Bug Squad blog). The picture story shows a gulf fritillary butterfly laying an egg (in Garvey’s back yard); see the picture story on Garvey’s blog.
Garvey received a silver award (second place) in writing for newspapers and an honorable mention in writing for magazines.
The silver recognizes her work in reporting on a doctoral candidate who answers questions on the online site Quora and who received an award for one of his answers, to the question: “If you injure a bug, should you kill it or let it live?”
Matan Shelomi’s answer went viral, according to Garvey’s story, and netted him recognition in the 2012 Shorty Awards, honoring the best in social media — in this case first place for the best answer on Quora.
Nelson, senior writer, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is the recipient of a gold award for promotional writing, for “Hope Dawns for UC Davis Feed Mill,” exploring UC Davis’ effort to replace its aging mill, and why that matters to the people of California, the nation and the world. Nelson won the 2010 ACE outstanding skill award for writing.
Van Eenennaam, a Cooperative Extension specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology, Department of Animal Science, is the recipient of an ACE honorable mention for a video that she wrote and directed: Were Those the Days, My Friend? It previously received the most votes in a contest sponsored by the American Society of Animal Science. Read about the video and see it here.
The competition for the 2012 calendar year also recognizes three editors with UC’s Agricultural and Natural Resources: Janet White, Hazel White and Janet Byron, for their work on “Analysis reveals potential rangeland impacts if Williamson Act eliminated,” which appeared in the October-December 2012 issue of California Agriculture.