Recent CALS Spotlights

  • A half-acre farm has sprouted up on a vacant lot across from the light-rail station in the heart of the nation’s sixth largest city, Phoenix.

    The Phoenix Urban Research Farm is where urbanites – a generation or two removed from agrarian life – go to learn how to garden or even how to start a small farm business.

    The farm, which is helping to meet the increasing demand for locally grown food, is managed by faculty at the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension, part of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

    "You can't just plant on a vacant lot and expect it to grow," said Haley Paul, an urban agricultural assistant. "We're educating people on how to grow food in the low desert."

  • Master Gardener Steve McIntyre had an engineering puzzle to solve: Can you take a parking lot that’s bathed in shade for much of the day and turn it into a garden to feed those in need?

    Yes, you can.

    McIntyre and a small army of UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, turned a parking lot at the Prescott, Ariz. YMCA into a community garden that provided nearly three-quarters of a ton of produce to the needy in 2012.

  • The Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona is pleased to announce that transcripts and PowerPoint presentations from the 2013 Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming are now available online. Materials can be accessed through the program’s website.

    RTIP is a signature program within the UA School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences, part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

    Held annually since 1974, the Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming features noted experts in the racing and gaming industry as well as specialists from other fields. Participants represent American Quarter Horse, Greyhound, Racino, Standardbred and Thoroughbred interests, making this symposium the largest industry-wide conference in the world.

  • Invasive and noxious weeds in Arizona are more than just pesky plants – they are downright destructive.

    "We've got all the really nasty weeds in Arizona," said Larry Howery, noxious weeds/range management specialist with the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Cooperative Extension. "Everybody should be concerned. The economic and ecological impacts are tremendous."

    Howery said some non-native plants were introduced as ornamentals, like fountain grass and twisted barrel. Others – like buffelgrass – were introduced as food for livestock. Whether it is buffelgrass, camelthorn, toadflaxes, purple loosestrife, leafy spurge or another type of invader, these weeds threaten agriculture, wildlife and human health by ruining highways and making great fuel for wildfires.

  • As the oldest continually maintained public green space in Arizona, the University of Arizona has again earned the Tree Campus USA recognition for its work promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.

    Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota, honors higher education institutions and leaders across the nation for tree care initiatives.

    It is the fifth year the UA has earned the designation. This year, the University once again met the five standards to be honored. Institutions honored must have a committee devoted to tree care, an implemented campus tree care plan with dedicated expenditures, plans to observe Arbor Day and a service learning project involving students.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday awarded a $250,000 grant to the University of Arizona's integrated pest management program for schools so that it can create training materials for educators nationwide.

    Through multidisciplinary expertise, the UA Community IPM Leadership Team, part of Cooperative Extension in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, helps schools implement safe and effective IPM programs that reduce risks from pests, including insects, rodents and weeds, as well as pesticides use in schools, on playing fields and in surrounding areas.

    “IPM is the safest, most effective and most cost-effective way of managing pests while posing the lowest risks,” said Dawn Gouge, principal investigator for the EPA School IPM grant.

  • Tech Launch Arizona presented its first Catapult Awards on Monday, honoring those whose work is moving UA inventions into the marketplace.

    Honors were given to individuals and teams in six categories. Four awards were given to UA faculty and researchers who have demonstrated excellence as inventors and effective Tech Launch Arizona partners. Two additional awards recognized contributions from community members outside the UA.

    David Allen, vice president of Tech Launch Arizona, emceed the event and UA President Ann Weaver Hartoffered comments and presented the awards.

    "This is the creative manifestation of our land-grant mission at its best," Hart said, regarding the process of bringing inventions born of academic research to the public. "We are creating new knowledge right at the boundaries of the frontier and thinking about how that new knowledge will apply to our lives and to our futures."

  • With programs in all 15 Arizona counties, on five American Indian reservations and on four military bases, Arizona’s 4-H offers more than 100 projects for youth involvement focused around science, agriculture, education and other areas.

    More than 9,000 students ages 5 to 19 participate statewide in 4-H and an additional 190,000 are involved through 4-H-sponsored special educational opportunities. Those programs offer a multitude of educational programs in agriculture, animal science, civic engagement, arts, community service, environmental science, nutrition, leadership, and much more.

    April Ehrlich, a UA physiology senior, signed up for 4-H when she was 9 and stuck with it until she was 18. She showed lambs for the first six years and then steer for the rest of her time.

  • The southwestern United States is facing an increasingly stressful future with unabated population growth, oversubscribed water resources and a hotter and drier climate. This, in a nutshell, was the message delivered by a panel of three environmental experts discussing how climate change is already affecting and will impact the Southwest’s environment during a panel discussion on the University of Arizona campus during the Tucson Festival of Books.

    The presenters did leave the audience of almost 250 with some reason for optimism, pointing out that small but committed groups working with nongovernmental organizations and tribal communities plus efforts on behalf of the private sector have started and will continue to make a difference.

  • Sen. Steve Pierce (R-Prescott) stood up on the Senate floor last week and attempted to get $4.2 million for the University of Arizona to start a veterinary program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Shortly after he finished talking, the nay votes overwhelmed the yeas, and the amendment was voted down.

    In his office, Rep. Ethan Orr (R-Tucson) who has his two University of Arizona diplomas hanging behind his desk, remains on a mission. Early in the week Orr, a former associate professor at the university, thought he could get the funding from the House, despite the lack of success of veterinary appropriations in the Senate. But later this week, the House only agreed to give the university $3.5 million for Cooperative Extension support. Without the support of the House and Senate, Orr will have to come up with some other way to squeeze the money he wants to create the University of Arizona’s first veterinary school and surgical program — before the budget is finalized.