Center News

  • UF helps residents save at least 65 million gallons in outdoor irrigation annually
  • Center's Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program major part of new landmark water study
  • Gail Hansen and Esen Momol lead design for new garden at Florida hospital
  • Adam Dale and Basil Iannone awarded seed funding
  • Hayk Khachatryan part of $7 million grant from USDA
  • Hayk Khachatryan paper wins at international conference
  • Michael Dukes receives John Deere Gold Medal award
  • Laura Warner leads study on targeting water conservation campaigns
  • Hayk Khachatryan using new technology to study consumer behavior
  • Emily Eubanks recognized with UF achievement award
  • Michael Dukes paper on irrigation conservation wins award
  • Bryan Unruh and Jason Cruse to present at career and training conference

UF helps residents save at least 65 million gallons in outdoor irrigation annually

Participants in a UF/IFAS program saved 65 million gallons in outdoor irrigation in 2016, enough to supply 15 subdivisions with water for a year, experts with the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology say. "UF/IFAS is making a difference with our limited water resources," said Laura Warner, assistant professor of agricultural education and communication. "Seemingly small drops in the bucket really add up when we look at the big picture across the state and over time." Using less water also saves money: $200,000 a year in tap water utility bills, said CLCE affiliate faculty member Tatiana Borisova, a co-investigator and associate professor of food and resource economics. Their figures come from a sample of Extension agents in 16 Florida counties, so the savings may be greater, the researchers said. Read the full article at UF/IFAS News.


Center's Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program major part of landmark water study

"Water 2070: Mapping Florida's Future - Alternative Patterns of Water Use in 2070" is a report from a joint effort among Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), University of Florida Geoplan Center, and 1000 Friends of Florida. The project's goal was to "explore the impact on water demand of projected population growth and agriculture demand" in the coming years. The report concludes that there are two fundamental options to address future water demand: increase supply or reduce demand. Focusing on the second option, the report recommends using two existing statewide programs, Florida Water Star and the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL), a program of the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology. Recommended actions included expanding funding and requiring FFL standards for all new development. The summary report (pdf) is available online at the 1000 Friends of Florida's Water 2070 website.


Gail Hansen and Esen Momol lead design for new garden at Florida hospital

CLCE faculty Dr. Gail Hansen and Dr. Esen Momol recently led a University of Florida design team to create Florida Hospital Fish Memorial's community garden. "We are so thankful for our partnerships with the University of Florida. They so willingly shared their knowledge and expertise, designing this entire space," said Maureen Mercho, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Foundation executive director. "This is huge for West Volusia and something to celebrate. On this single plot of land, members of our community can grow their own organic food and get exercise while doing it. What could be better?" Read the full article on the Florida Hospital website.


Adam Dale and Basil Iannone awarded seed funding

The IFAS Early Career Scientist Seed Funding program has recognized two CLCE affiliate faculty. Dr. Adam Dale, an assistant professor in turfgrass and ornamental entomology, was awarded $50,000 in research funding for his project, "The effects of turfgrass diversity on arthropod pests and biological control in urban landscapes." Dr. Basil Iannone, an assistant professor with the School of Forest Resources and Conservation was also awarded $50,000 for his proposal "Evaluating the contribution of biotic complexity to pest control in ornamental plant communities." The IFAS Dean for Research office, in partnership with the Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Vice President for Research, has once again implemented the funding program to facilitate development of new faculty research, jumpstart their research programs, and to provide a platform for their future success. Out of 25 proposals, 15 were awarded. The scientists will present their preliminary research results at the 2017 IFAS Research Awards Ceremony.


Hayk Khachatryan part of $7 million grant from USDA

CLCE faculty member Hayk Khachatryan, assistant professor and extension economist, is part of two projects recently announced as funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). On Tuesday August 2, 2016, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced this year's Specialty Crop Research and Extension Investments (SCRI) funded projects. The first award is a 5-year project with approximately $7 million in funding; Dr. Khachatryan is one of the Co-PIs. Funding for the project, titled "Protecting Pollinators with Economically Feasible and Environmentally Sound Ornamental Horticulture," will support 21 scientists and extension experts at 12 different institutions. The lead facilitator of the project is the IR-4 Ornamental Horticulture Program at Rutgers University. Dr. Khachatryan is also part of the grant awarded to IR-4 for $50,000 for "Identifying Knowledge Gaps and Novel Management Strategies for Downy Mildews Impacting Environmental Horticulture Crops". Read the full press release from Rutgers.


Michael Dukes receives John Deere Gold Medal award

Michael Dukes, director of the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, has been honored with the 2016 John Deere Gold Medal award. The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers gives the award to recognize distinguished achievement in the application of science and art to the soil. "It is a great honor to be selected by my peers for this prestigious award," Dukes said. "I look forward to continuing my work in helping create sustainable landscape practices that will impact not only Florida, but the world." Read the full article at UF/IFAS News.


Laura Warner leads study on targeting water conservation campaigns

CLCE faculty member Laura Warner, assistant professor of agricultural education and communication, recently published the results of a study examining audience segmentation as an approach to encouraging water conservation change using current residential landscape practices. The researchers identified three meaningful subgroups among residential landscape irrigation users: the "water considerate" majority, "water savvy" conservationists, and "unconcerned" water users. Their findings suggest that "water considerate" users might be the most appropriate people to target for water conservation campaigns. The paper, titled "Classifying Residents who use Landscape Irrigation: Implications for Encouraging Water Conservation Behavior," was authored by Laura A. Warner, Alexa J. Lamm, Joy N. Rumble, Emmett T. Martin, and Randall Cantrell. It was published in Environmental Management, July 2016. You can read the full story on UF/IFAS News.


Hayk Khachatryan using new technology to study consumer behavior

CLCE faculty member Hayk Khachatryan, assistant professor and extension economist, was recently featured in the Orlando Sentinel for his work with new eye-tracking glasses in studying consumer behavior. The opinion piece was written by Dr. Jack Payne, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at UF/IFAS. "Tracking eye movements helps us get past what consumers say they want and closer to what they actually do," writes Dr Payne. "In his experimental economics lab at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, Khachatryan teases out what information on a label is most compelling to the beholder, for example." You can read the full piece online at orlandosentinel.com.


Emily Eubanks Recognized with UF Achievement Award

CLCE Information Office Coordinator Emily Eubanks received the Jeffrey A. Gabor Employee Recognition Award. Nearly 300 employees gathered at the J. Wayne Reitz Union's Grand Ballroom on April 14 for the 2016 Superior Accomplishment Awards ceremony. This annual program recognizes staff and faculty members who contribute outstanding and meritorious service, efficiency and/or economy, or to the quality of life for students and employees. Emily has been with the Center since 2006. She has her BS and MS in Agricultural Communications from UF.


Michael Dukes paper on irrigation conservation wins award

CLCE Director Dr. Michael Dukes' paper, "Irrigation Conservation of Florida-Friendly Landscaping Based on Water Billing Data" was recognized by the editor of the Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering. Dr. Dukes, along with coauthors Dr. Linda Young and Shu Wang, have been invited to attend an award luncheon at the World Environmental & Water Resources Congress 2016 in West Palm Beach Florida, during the Irrigation and Drainage Luncheon and Awards Ceremony. The paper has been chosen as the 2016 Honorable Mention Award winner.


Bryan Unruh and Jason Cruse to present at career and training conference

The 31st Annual National Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Career Fair and Training Conference will be held March 30 – April 2, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency in Jacksonville, FL. CLCE affiliate faculty Dr. Bryan Unruh and Dr. Jason Cruse have organized a tour for the attendees on Thursday morning entitled "Going Green: Mixing Business with Pleasure". Tour attendees will be introduced to the green industry and discover rewarding careers as golf course superintendents; athletic, parks, and recreation facility managers, landscape management contractors, sod producers, and related sales and support. The tour will include stops at a golf course, athletic facilities, and a sod production facility. Dr. Bryan Unruh is a professor and Associate Center Director of the UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center and Dr. Jason Cruse is an associate professor with the UF/IFAS Turfgrass, Environmental Horticulture Department.


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