Students from the East Coweta High School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) academy toured UGA Griffin yesterday. They learned about degree opportunities at UGA’s CAES and got to see various areas of research on campus, including a drone demonstration. The drone is used in our turfgrass research for aerial monitoring of the turf. Other areas of interest were Food Science and Food Safety.
A neat, long pile of soil anchored with red handled shovels standing at attention waited under blue skies and perfect fall temperatures as a crowd gathered to witness the long awaited groundbreaking for the UGA Griffin Food Technology Center on Friday, October 17th. The event was more a celebration of the culmination of local, university and state efforts to build this world class center a proper home from which to operate. Gov. Nathan Deal, UGA President Jere Morehead, Regent Tommy Hopkins, Rep. David Knight and Griffin Spalding Development Authority Chairman Chuck Copeland all spoke to the gathering, reminding everyone of the importance of the FoodPIC Center to the community, the university, the country and the world.
Let the dirt be turned! View the ceremony photos here.
On September 30, UGA administration, faculty, staff and students joined CAES Assistant Dean Jerry Arkin as he celebrated his retirement after 27 years of service. He was touted for all of his many accomplishments, including being an integral part of bringing academic programs to the Griffin campus. Dr. Kris Braman, (pictured left) will serve in the interim until a permanent replacement is chosen. Dr. Braman has been with UGA for more than 25 years, serving as faculty in entomology and as Director of the Center for Urban Agriculture. A second celebration was held in the evening, allowing community business leaders, elected officials and friends of the campus to express appreciation and well wishes to Dr. Arkin. View pictures from the ceremony here and more pictures from the ceremony here. We thank Dr. Jerry Arkin for his dedication to UGA Griffin and the Griffin-Spalding community and wish him the best in his retirement.
The “Sparkin’ Arkin” pulled our UGA team to victory once again at the 7th Annual United Way Cardboard Boat Race. This made six wins for the Griffin campus team. A UGA contingency cheered the race team on to victory, all wearing red jerseys with a number 1 on the front and “UGA Griffin” on the back. The worthy vessel was named for our own Assistant Dean Gerald Arkin.
Art in the Garden was a big success - over 50 artists showed their work in the beautiful Research and Education Garden. The weather was beautiful and the parking lots were full. Art in the Garden is sponsored by Friends of the Garden, who also fed the artists and volunteers with a delicious cook out.
University of Georgia Provost Dr. Pamela Whitten held a Town Hall Meeting at UGA Griffin on September 9. Following the meeting, in which Dr. Whitten answered questions from staff and faculty concerning academic programs, research budgets, and other areas of interest for the campus, she lunched with area community leaders. Dr. Whitten then toured the campus with Dr. Gerald Arkin (CAES) and Dr. Doris Christopher (Academic Affairs)and met with faculty to discuss their research in plant genetic resources conservation, entomology, food science and food safety.
Backyard squash growers may not agree on which variety is best, but they do agree on one thing – squash vine borers are the enemy.
The small larvae burrow through squash plant stems, wilting and eventually killing what appear to be lush, healthy plants. Since they are hidden inside the plant, most home gardeners have no idea the pests are there until the plants wither and die.
Squash vine borers overwinter in the soil, usually where squash or zucchini plants were planted the previous season. When the adults emerge from the soil, they lay eggs on the base of the stems of susceptible plants.
They love squash, too
The tiny destructive pests love to lay their eggs on summer squash, zucchini, winter squash and pumpkin plants but seldom attack cucumber and melons. After about a week, a pale larvae hatches and eats its way into the plant stems near soil-level. As water flow is cut off, the plant wilts and literally collapses.
There is no tried and true successful method to control the pest, but University of Georgia experts do offer tips for gardeners who choose to put up a fight.
To stay ahead of the pests, plant squash as early as possible so the plants are producing before the 6 to 8 summer weeks vine borers are active.
Bob Westerfield spends his days growing vegetables and watching for problems. As University of Georgia Extension’s consumer vegetable horticulturist, he answers questions from backyard gardeners and Extension agents across the state. In the summer months, most of the questions are about tomatoes.
“I’d say 90 out of 100 vegetable calls I get in the summer are about tomatoes,” said Westerfield. “I’m not a huge fan of eating fresh tomatoes, but those who do say the fresh-grown taste is incredible. I want to love to eat them, but I just don’t like them. But I will eat them cooked, and I love ketchup.”
Plant second crop, or first, now
With Georgia’s long summer growing season, Westerfield says it’s not too late to “grab some transplants and put them in the ground” and enjoy your own homegrown tomato harvest.
“Some folks planted tomatoes early and are pulling tomatoes now. On my farm, we stagger our plantings, so that we have some tomatoes that are almost red and some just in the blooming stage,” he said.
When planting tomatoes, Westerfield says you have to keep your personal preference in mind when selecting a variety. What do you plan to do with the tomatoes? Do you want something easy tomatoes to eat fresh or ones to use for canning?
The University of Georgia Griffin Campus, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, recently held their 3rd annual NASA Science Writing Challenge banquet where area high school students were recognized for outstanding achievement in science writing. Three finalists received an all-expense paid trip to a NASA space camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL where they will participate in a six-day Advanced Space Academy. While at camp, they will be immersed in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) focusing on college and career preparations.
The winning finalists heading to space camp in July are Joshua Barkley, Spalding High School, first place; Peace Olaniran, Jonesboro High School, second place; and Cierrah Guerrero, Pike County High School, third place. The students were mentored by Dr. Ian Flitcroft and Dr. Tim Williams.
Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson and Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black came to Griffin on June 19 for a tour of the campus. The tour included updates on existing projects between Georgia Tech researchers and UGA Center for Food Safety scientists and research on parasites, pathogens on cantaloupes and an antimicrobial food rinse developed by CFS Director Michael Doyle and research scientist Tong Zhao. The guests also sampled Georgia blueberries in the sensory lab and heard updates on blueberry and poultry projects conducted in the Food Innovation and Commercialization Center. University System of Georgia Regent and local orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tommy Hopkins organized and attended the tour. State Representative David Knight was also on hand participating in campus tour.