- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
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.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
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.