Tag Archives: rufus isaacs

MSU celebrates National Pollinator Week

Michigan State University (MSU) hosted two events on June 19, Bee Palooza and Science on Tap: Beezzz & Brewzzz to celebrate National Pollinator Week.

Bee Palooza, a free, fun and educational event centered on understanding pollinators, is designed for people of all ages. MSU Horticulture Gardens hosted displays that focused on honeybee colonies, bumble bees, the wild bees of Michigan, plants to support pollinators and the importance of bees and other pollinators to the food supply. Hands-on workshops engaged visitors on how to create a native bee hotel and how to identify pollinators in their gardens.

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Beezzz & Brewzzz, an adults-only event, took place at the Beer Grotto in Lansing. Participants heard from MSU experts Dr. Jason Gibbs, Dr. Meghan Milbrath and Dr. Rufus Isaacs about native bees, the work Michigan is doing to protect our pollinators and the role of bees in your favorite drinks. Following the presentations, entomology graduate students answered questions from the audience on topics ranging from the types of flowers to plant for bees and general bee biology to beekeeping regulations in Lansing. There were also special bee-related drinks on tap for the night. Over 100 people attended throughout the night and many received raffle giveaways including photo prints of wild bees taken by Jason Gibbs, pocket guides, local honey, native bee hotels, T-shirts and a Beer Grotto gift certificate.

Are you interested in knowing more about pollinators in Michigan or have you gotten calls with questions about them? Dr. David Smitley worked with a team of entomologists to put together “Protecting and Enhancing Pollinators in Urban Landscapes for the U.S. North Central Region,” a free 30-page PDF resource they hope will answer nearly every question that gardeners, landscapers and tree care professionals may have about protecting pollinators.

Michigan is a leader in honey production and in many pollination-dependent fruit and vegetable crops. With worldwide concerns about pollinator declines, we’re seeking to raise awareness about their importance and spread the word about what individuals can do to help. MSU Extension provides the latest information on pollinators and pollination including fact sheets from the Smart Gardening Program, webinars, educational seminars, email newsletters and other online resources.

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Filed under Entomology, Events, Gardening, Horticulture

Extension educator is lead author in prestigious journal article

Dr. Wendy Powers, director of the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute, and I received an email from Douglas A. Landis, professor and interim chairperson in the Michigan State University Department of Entomology. The email called attention to MSU Extension educator Ben Werling as the lead author on a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The article, “Perennial Grasslands Enhance Biodiversity and Multiple Ecosystem Services in Bioenergy Landscapes,” related to postdoctorate work Ben led in Dr. Landis’ lab working on a Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) project. Ben and Dr. Landis led a large group of collaborators (the GLBRC Biodiversity Team) studying the impacts of bioenergy cropping systems on biodiversity and ecosystem services. This synthetic work combines information on plant, insect, microbe and bird biodiversity and the services that flow from their presence (biomass, pest suppression, pollination, GHG mitigation, and bird watching opportunities) in bioenergy crops. It’s hoped that this information further informs policy and the roll-out of the most sustainable systems.

Dr. Landis said, “Ben led a 1.5 yearlong effort to synthesize the data, conduct the analyses and write the paper. My guess is that he is too humble to have mentioned this, so I just wanted to let you know what a fine job he has done!”

Papers published in the PNAS are remarkable achievements, and require a recommendation by a National Academy of Sciences member to be accepted. That distinction is reserved for particularly significant findings. It is especially rare for a paper in PNAS to be authored by an Extension educator.

Others authors on the paper who receive support from MSU Extension include Rufus Isaacs and Julianna Wilson, both in the Department of Entomology, and Katherine Gross, director of the Kellogg Biological Station.

Congratulations to Ben and the rest of the team for this synthetic work and the recognition they have received!

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Filed under Accomplishments

USDA grant allows research of effects of grassland harvest on insect pollinators

Rufus Isaacs and Doug Landis, both Michigan State University entomology professors who have MSU Extension and AgBioResearch appointments, have received a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to study the effects of grassland harvest on pollinator populations.

The research team is seeking landowners and managers to assist with the project this fall. Appropriate sites include those in southern Michigan with at least 10 acres of grassland that will be mown, not mown or mown leaving a 10 percent refuge strip. Landowners can keep the forage. The team will sample the fields for two seasons for bees.

The project will investigate ways to manage grasslands with minimal damage to insect pollinators.

The team will connect with Extension educators and specialists as the results of the research become available.

Read more here.

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Filed under grants

Two communications projects receive ACE awards

I’m happy to announce that College of Agriculture and Natural Resources communicators and their partners received two awards from the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) for their work with Michigan State University Extension in 2011. The ACE Critique and Awards program recognizes excellence in communication skills.

 Joy Landis, Beth Stuever, Mallory Fournier and Mindy Pratt were awarded a gold award for MSU Extension News for Ag. This pilot project was the launching pad for MSUE News, which now serves as the backbone of the new MSU Extension website. This award is in the Best Innovative Use of Communication Technology category.

 The four recipients focused on developing a system where all of our Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute field and campus staff could effectively deliver timely educational news through the new website. Joy and Beth note that this effort was truly a collaboration of many administrators and staff along with the communicators so in a sense we’ve all won this gold award. The communicators will be sharing their experience from developing MSUE News in a 90-minute session at ACE’s annual meeting in June.

 The second award is a bronze award for a Four-Color Popular Publication. Native Plants and Ecosystem Services (E3167) was a Project GREEEN effort by recent doctoral graduate Anna Fiedler, entomology professors Rufus Isaacs and Doug Landis, and communicator Joy Landis. Sold through the MSUE Bookstore, the colorful publication explains the value of using native plants to enhance the many landscapes that make up our environment. See nativeplants.msu.edu for more about the publication (find the pub under Resources, Teaching Tools) and the Project GREEEN research and extension behind it.

 Both awards will be presented at ACE’s annual meeting in Annapolis, Md., in June.

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Filed under Awards

Response team discovers fruit pest, takes action

Sometimes the discovery of something very small has a very big impact. That’s what happened when a tiny vinegar fly called the Spotted Wing Drosophila or SWD was first detected this September in traps put out this year by Michigan State University entomologists. Originally from Asia, the insect established a base in the western United States and Canada. The MSU discovery marks the first time that the insect has been found in the Midwest. This miniature pest loves tasty, soft treats damaging most berry crops, grapes, cherries and other tree fruits.

 A Michigan SWD response team chaired by Rufus Isaacs, MSU entomologist, developed a pre-emptive Early Detection-Rapid Response (ED-RR) Plan, part of an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy for SWD. Entomologists and horticulturists from the MSU departments of Entomology and Horticulture, MSU Extension field staff members, Michigan Department of Agriculture staff members and fruit commodity representatives make up the team. I’d like to congratulate this group. Team members were on top of the issue, first discovering the pesky critter, then taking action. The team is doing further monitoring and is getting the word out to fruit growers to encourage them to plan for early detection through trapping, monitoring and taking crop-specific control measures.

 Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications staff members helped in spreading the word with a news release and fact sheet. Rufus Isaacs and Noel Hahn, from the Department of Entomology, and Bob Tritten and Carlos Garcia, MSU Extension, wrote the fact sheet, MSU Extension Bulletin E-3140. Even though he is on assignment in Chile, Dr. Isaacs is still on the job keeping track of SWD and the media coverage of it.

 Our staff members are actively researching and monitoring the bug to minimize its impact on fruit growers. The Spotted Wind Drosophila website gives up-to-date information, and our MSU Extension educators are in contact with fruit growers, giving out information and advice.

Project GREEEN and the Michigan Department of Agriculture provide funding for the SWD response team.

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Filed under Entomology

MSUE faculty awarded promotions

Eight faculty members in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources who have Extension appointments were awarded reappointment or promotions in action taken by the Michigan State University Board of Trustees in June. The following assistant professors were granted reappointment for a second three-year term as assistant professors:

 Daniel Brainard, Assistant Professor, Horticulture

A. Stuart Grandy, Assistant Professor, Crop and Soil Sciences

Matthew Grieshop, Assistant Professor, Entomology

Paolo Sabbatini, Assistant Professor, Horticulture

 Four other faculty members who had previously been granted tenure were promoted from associate professor to professor rank:

 Leslie Bourquin, Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition

Rufus Isaacs, Professor, Entomology

Zenia Kotval, Professor; Planning, Design and Construction

Dale Rozeboom, Professor, Animal Science

 The Trustees’ action affected other faculty in CANR and other colleges who do not have Extension appointments, but whose expertise is important for our ability to deliver programs. Congratulations to all on their reappointment or promotion. We appreciate having them actively engaged in conducting research and developing programs that help us serve the people of Michigan.

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