The event is described in the following article published in Citrograph magazine.
Sweetening the Future of Citrus at Lindcove
On Oct. 4, Director Beth Grafton-Cardwell held a gala at the Lindcove Research and Extension Center and officially named its conference center the “Ray Copeland Citrus Center” after the late Ray Copeland. It is very fitting that the Center be named after Ray, because as superintendent of the field station from 1965-1987, he was instrumental in developing the orchards, facilities and the relationships with the first group of scientists who conducted research here. Susan Fritz and Karen Bray, daughters of Ray Copeland, spoke about their father's achievements and their memories of growing up living at Lindcove. Jim Gorden, chair of the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee and local grower, also spoke about his many years of partnership with Ray and Ray's contributions to the citrus industry.
The gala was also an opportunity to honor Georgios Vidalakis, the Director of the UC Citrus Clonal Protection Program (CCPP) and specialist and professor of plant pathology at UC Riverside. The CCPP program is a world-renowned program that brings in new citrus germplasm from around the world, cleans it free of disease and provides the California nursery industry and homeowners with ‘clean' budwood. Lindcove REC is the location from which the budwood is distributed. In 2019, The Citrus Research Board and the UC Office of the President co-funded a $1 million endowment. Vidalakis was awarded this “Citrus Research Board Presidential Researcher for Sustainable Citrus Clonal Protection Endowment.” Vidalakis spoke about the endowment funds and their importance for supporting the CCPP program at Lindcove.
The gala was also the kick-off for a fundraising program to improve the conference center area and outreach programs at Lindcove REC. During the past 25 years, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) and the Citrus Research Board have partnered again and again to develop high quality facilities and equipment for research. These facilities include the packline and fruit grading system, screenhouses and greenhouses to protect citrus from pests and disease, and a modern laboratory with high-tech equipment. The Citrus Research Board also provides funding to the scientists for the majority of the 30 research projects conducted at Lindcove REC each year. These facilities and projects have given Lindcove REC a world-renowned reputation as a Center of Excellence for citrus breeding, horticulture and pest management.
While research at Lindcove REC is cutting edge, outreach programming has been limited because of Lindcove's small staff, small conference center and undeveloped roads and parking around the conference center. The current outreach program focuses primarily on tours and field days for growers, pest control advisers and nurserymen. For the general public, outreach has been limited to a yearly master gardener workshop, bringing in local Ag Academy high school students for one-day experiences with ag mechanics and ag science and the December fruit display and tasting. UC ANR recently committed to provide funds to redevelop the outreach facilities at this location to better serve the needs of the citrus industry and the local community. The redevelopment plans include constructing a larger conference center to create a hub for citrus industry and University interactions. This building could be used for 300-person industry meetings or subdivided for committee meetings. Plans also include building a youth experiential laboratory where students are taught agricultural science and then taken into a nearby demonstration orchard for hands-on learning.
Beyond facilities improvements funded by UC ANR, additional funds are needed to support staff who specialize in education to develop the outreach programs and to provide equipment for these new outreach facilities and that is why a fundraising campaign has been initiated. The Ray Copeland and Jim Gorden families together have very generously contributed $150,000 as a match for funds donated by others to the fundraising campaign “Sweetening the Future of Citrus at Lindcove.” The goal is to raise at least $2 million in donations that, combined with the UC ANR funding, will provide the facilities improvements and program support to take Lindcove REC educational outreach into the future. With these changes, Lindcove REC will continue to attract top research programs, provide a hub of interaction between the research community and the citrus industry, train local youth and educate the general public about citrus.
For more information about the campaign or to make a donation, please visit the campaign website at lindcovecitrus.com.