Photo by Edwin Remsberg.

More than three-hundred Willcox High School students interviewed, got a “job” and then moved from table to table spending their newly earned money, after deducting taxes, on housing, transportation, groceries and, if there was anything left, optional expenses such as clothing and entertainment.

Just the first step post-job was a rude awakening for many of the students, who did not realize just how much money is taken out of their paychecks for taxes.

“Their mouths hung open. I think I ruined a lot of dreams,” said Darcy Tessman, Extension and 4-H Youth Development agent for the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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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."

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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.

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CALS Dean Shane Burgess at the 2013 Global Symposium (Photo Courtesy: Race Track Industry Program)

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.

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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.

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The UA Campus Arboretum is dedicated to promoting sustainable landscape practices through science-based tree care and education on campus and throughout the state. In addition to partnerships with Arizona State Forestry, the National Phenology Network and UA Cooperative Extension, the Campus Arboretum hosts guided tree tours for the public scheduled throughout the academic year and offers self-guided tour booklets for loan from Herring Hall.

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.

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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.

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(Photo courtesy: Paul Tumarkin/Tech Launch Arizona)

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."

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Photo Credit: Norma Jean Gargasz/UANews

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.

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Over the last five decades, water from the Colorado River rarely has reached the delta, which used to feed the Sea of Cortez just south of the border between the U.S. and Mexico. (Photo: Adrille/Wikimedia Commons)

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.

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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.

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One of four planned lunar greenhouse modules that are being studied at the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. (Photo by Cody Sheehy)

When Apollo astronauts stood on the Moon and looked back at the Earth, they were the first humans to see our planet as a completely isolated system, bounded on all sides by black. Now, 45 years later, "Earthlight," a new documentary produced by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona, explores the challenges facing the human race and how the technology we are designing to return to the Moon might be extremely useful here on Earth as well.

The film's tagline, "Is learning to live on the moon, the key to living sustainably on Earth," leads the audience into a exploration of the current food challenges our civilization faces through the lens of UA scientists who are building a greenhouse that may someday be used on the Moon.

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Standing in front of the Accordion photobioreactor developed at CALS and patented by the Arizona Board of Regents are (from left): Gene Giacomelli, director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center and professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering; Shane Burgess, vice provost and dean of CALS; Joel Cuello, biosystems engineering professor and UA liaison to the GFIA; and Kevin Fitzsimmons, professor of soil, water and environmental sciences. (Photo by Cody Lee Brown)

The University of Arizona played a significant role in the first-ever Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture, in which participants from 62 countries gathered in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to present the world’s largest collection of sustainable agricultural innovations.

The event focused on the 40 percent of the world that, like Arizona, produces food and other bio-based products in arid environments. Sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, the forum highlighted the Middle East and Africa.

The UA was the official Knowledge Partner for the event –  the only university selected to play this major role. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, via its Global Initiative for Strategic Agriculture in Dry Lands, worked in cooperation with the UA Office of Global Initiatives to coordinate the UA's participation. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation served as Global Development Partner.

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How would picking the brains of CEOs and company leaders while you were a college student change your perspective? Twenty-six of the nation’s top agriculture students are about to find out how it will impact them.

Including Zane Gouker, a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences undergraduate majoring in animal sciences. Gouker, a resident of Lakeside, Ariz., has been selected to serve as Agriculture Future of America’s Campus Ambassador for the University of Arizona. He is president of the UA Collegiate Livestock Growers Association.

AFA has named nine Student Advisory Team members and 17 Campus Ambassadors for the 2014-15 year. These students represent 24 schools from 22 states across the country. Throughout their time of service, they will interact with agribusiness leaders, campus faculty and fellow students as they represent AFA.

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Peniocereus greggii - night blooming cereus. (Photo courtesy of UA Campus Arboretum)

The main University of Arizona campus has nearly 9,000 woody plans and cactus on record, representing about 550 species from six continents.

There are many trees throughout campus with significant history, including some who have been in campus since its origins.

"In the early years of the university, during territorial period, one of the major needs in the state was economic growth," said Tanya Quist, Ph.D., director of the UA Campus Arboretum. "Many of our faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences travelled worldwide to bring back plants that could perhaps be introduced here as an agricultural commodity."

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Photo by Charles Sanchez

Most Arizonans know that our water supply is low. We face this challenge, along with climate extremes, political and policy relationships with other states and the federal government over water, as well as the need to balance our state’s natural wonders with effective resource use.

A critical part of the University of Arizona’s unique land-grant mission is to work on these issues and provide sustainable solutions for today and in the future.

Employing and training the next generation of scientists is not enough. We know that we have to share the knowledge and discoveries we’re making, in real time, with everyone who plays a role in Arizona’s water future – from state leaders and water professionals to land managers and even children learning about water in school.

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Big fires are as certain as taxes in the Southwest, fueled lately by drought, overgrown forests and climate change.

Wildfires are burning hundreds of thousands of acres, changing landscapes, destroying homes and costing more than a billion dollars a year. Preparing teams to fight them and repairing burned land to reduce flooding after a wildfire costs millions more.

Last year, one wildfire also cost the lives of 19 Arizona firefighters.

The mounting challenges brought more than 150 scientists and land managers together in Tucson, Ariz., this week to brainstorm the best strategies to help Southwestern ecosystems and communities adapt to wildfire.

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