University of Kentucky study combines outdoor exercise with tree health observations

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky researchers are looking for Lexingtonians interested in improving their health while gaining a greater awareness of their natural environment for a six-week research pilot project.

The project, titled “Healthy Trees-Healthy People,” gets participants out into two Lexington parks to walk and assess the health of selected trees. During the study, they will complete a daily log of their physical activity and tree health observations on designated trails at either Kirklevington Park or Harrods Hill Park. Depending on the park, routes are just under a half-mile and a mile. Continue reading

EPA and Texas Partner on Pesticide Safety

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded $585,730 to the Texas Department of Agriculture to support a wide range of pesticide programs, including enforcement and outreach efforts.

“At EPA, we are protecting the environment by engaging our state partners,” said Administrator Scott Pruitt. “This grant represents what EPA is all about, empowering our states to protect their environment.” Continue reading

NIFA Announces $4.3 Million for Higher Education Support

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 20 grants totaling $4.3 million to help higher education institutions teach the next generation of food and agricultural science professionals. The grants are funded through NIFA’s Higher Education Challenge (HEC) Grants Program.

“NIFA invests in the development of future agricultural professionals,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA helps advance education of our nation’s agricultural workforce at our public and private colleges and universities.” Continue reading

Hot Cities Spell Bad News for Bees

by Matt Shipman, North Carolina State University

A new study from North Carolina State University finds that common wild bee species decline as urban temperatures increase.

“We looked at 15 of the most common bee species in southeastern cities and – through fieldwork and labwork – found that increasing temperatures in urban heat islands will have a negative effect on almost all of them,” says Steve Frank, an associate professor of entomology at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the work. Continue reading

Citrus greening confirmed in Alabama

In Southeast Farm Press

by Cary Blake

The feared citrus disease Huanglongbing (HLB) – a.k.a. citrus greening – has been confirmed in Alabama, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI).

HLB was found in leaf and insect samples from a residential property on Dauphin Island in Mobile County. Dauphin Island is a town located on a barrier island with the same name at the Gulf of Mexico. Continue reading

NCSU golf course and BASF partner to help monarch butterflies

NC State University professor emeritus Harold Coble saw an opportunity to help the threatened monarch butterfly at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course. As a consultant for BASF, Coble knew about the project Living Acres, a BASF effort designed to promote growing milkweeds in non-agricultural areas like golf courses.

Since the Lonnie Poole was established as a sustainable golf course, Coble figured that it would be an ideal place for BASF to establish a monarch butterfly habitat. He approached the golf course management with the idea. Continue reading

Experts estimate future sweetgum losses

Researchers at the University of Florida have estimated that sweetgum plantation owners could face $4.6 million in losses annually if a new pest of sweetgum from China arrives in the U.S. Read the story in Entomology Today.