Center News

  • Michael Dukes and Team Win ASBE Blue Ribbon Award
  • CLCE Faculty a Major Part of James App Award-winning Team
  • Michael Dukes Named to Irrigation Association Board of Directors
  • Andrew Koeser awarded seed funding
  • BMP Irrigation and Precision Agriculture ISTs
  • Jorge Barrera Wins OSBS Jumpstart Award
  • UCF holds plant science conference November 10, invites students
  • Andrew Koeser recognized with second international award from ISA
  • Rescheduled In-Service Training (IST) Courses of Interest
  • Dukes elected Fellow American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
  • Researchers Answer How "Green" Are Urban Trees?
  • Chris Marble awarded UF/IFAS equipment grant
  • Michael Dukes elected Fellow Environmental and Water Resources Institute
  • Dukes paper on residential irrigation demand wins award

Michael Dukes and Team Win ASBE Blue Ribbon Award

Michael Dukes and his team were recognized in July with a 2018 Educational Aids Blue Ribbon Award at the ASABE Annual International Meeting in Detroit, Michigan, for their project “Florida Friendly Landscape (FFL) Water Savings Impact." The award is an opportunity to recognize authors who do exceptional work and provide educational leadership beyond the classroom. The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) is an educational and scientific organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems.

CLCE Faculty a Major Part of James App Award-winning Team

Every year, UF/IFAS Extension program leaders select a group working in Extension for the James App Award for Outstanding Extension Team. This year, the “Florida Statewide Water Savings Success Team” was chosen as the honoree for 2018-19. The team was recognized for their collaborative efforts to estimate water savings from their educational programs at the statewide level. Comprised of agents who reported substantial 2017 impacts as well as state specialists who provide program evaluation strategies and education, it includes many CLCE faculty and affiliate faculty: Laura Warner, Michael Dukes, Esen Momol, Michelle Atkinson, Lynn Barber, and Tatiana Borisova. Other members of the team are Laura Vasquez, Laurie Albrect, and Jane Morse. They were recognized August 30th during the Dean’s Administrative Program at the Extension Professional Associations of Florida (EPAF) conference in Ponte Vedra Beach. This award has been given annually since 2001, with honoree team names engraved on a plaque that hangs in the Dean for Extension Office.

Lloyd Singleton Named Outstanding Volunteer by FNGLA

Lloyd Singleton, director of UF/IFAS Extension in Lake County and a CLCE affiliate faculty member, was recently recognized as the 2018 Outstanding Volunteer by the Florida Nursery, Greenhouse and Landscape Association (FNGLA). Singleton was recognized for his work to both develop and advocate for FCHP certification education training at Coleman Correctional, a federal penitentiary based in Sumter County. That program, which has experienced overwhelmingly positive results since its inception several years ago, trains inmates for success in earning FNGLA’s Certified Horticulture Professional designation. See the award video on the FNGLA website.

Michael Dukes Named to Irrigation Association Board of Directors

CLCE Director Michael Dukes has been elected to the Irrigation Association Board of Directors, which establishes the association’s strategic direction, policies and programs. The board monitors current and evolving industry trends, determines strategic priorities, defines public policy positions and acts as stewards of IA’s financial resources. Directors are elected each fall by regular members of the association and represent the diversity of member types and market segments. The Irrigation Association is a leading membership organization for irrigation companies and professionals. According to a news release from the Irrigation Association, Dr. Dukes’ first exposure to the irrigation industry was in his uncle’s irrigated cornfield. He has almost exclusively worked in irrigation research and education and has been active with the Irrigation Association since 2001. He served in the Smart Water Application Technologies group of the IA, where he developed the rain sensor test protocol used to test a variety of commercially available products. In addition, Dr. Dukes has been a member of the Irrigation Show Technical Program Committee since 2006 and has served as vice chair and chair of that committee. He has won many awards and honors for his work, including the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Fellow in 2017 and the Irrigation Foundation Excellence in Education Award in 2014.

Andrew Koeser awarded seed funding

The IFAS Early Career Scientist Seed Funding program has recognized Dr. Andrew Koeser, CLCE faculty and an assistant professor in environmental horticulture, was awarded $48,488 in research funding for his project, "Trees and Natural Disasters: Improving Estimates of Likelihood of Impact, Likelihood of Failure, and Consequences of Failure in Professional Risk Assessments." The IFAS Dean for Research office, in partnership with the Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Vice President for Research, has once again implemented the funding program to facilitate development of new faculty research, jumpstart their research programs, and to provide a platform for their future success. Out of 24 proposals, 15 were awarded.

BMP Irrigation and Precision Agriculture ISTs

The Agricultural BMP Program is sponsoring two In-Service Training opportunities. Travel will be sponsored for those attending the Gainesville training. The two ISTs are on precision agriculture (February 22, 2018) and irrigation scheduling (February 28, 2018). Registration is now open at the PDEC site (

Jorge Barrera Wins OSBS Jumpstart Award

The Ordway-Swisher Biological Station (OSBS) is a unique resource for ecosystem and ecological research, boasting more than 9,500 acres with 15 distinct vegetation communities. OSBS also has newly renovated or newly constructed infrastructure in the form of buildings, equipment, roads and lodging. One demonstration of the UF/IFAS commitment to research excellence in natural resources is the OSBS Jumpstart Award program, administered by the UF/IFAS Dean for Research. Among the awardees is CLCE faculty member Dr. Jorge Barrera, assistant professor of utility analytics in the UF Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Along with Young Gu Her of the Tropical REC and Jiangxiao Qiu of the Ft. Lauderdale REC, Dr. Barrera was award for their project, "Quantifying Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Service Dynamics in Hydrologically Connected Forest Wetland and Lake Systems." Read the full article to learn about the project.

UCF holds plant science conference November 10, invites students

The University of Central Florida will be hosting a local plant science conference, Plants Beyond Limits, November 10, 2017. This will be a one day event hosted at UCF's main campus focusing on the relationship between humans and plants. Talks will include topics such as urban agriculture, Florida native plant species, conservation, and ecosystem health with keynote presentations by Dr. Ray Wheeler from NASA on Plants in Space, and Dr. Stella Salvo of Monsanto on Food Security and the Future of Agriculture. On-campus tours and workshops will also be offered. They would like to invite graduate and undergraduate students, in particular, to participate in the conference by showcasing their work in a poster session. Note that registration costs will be waived for all poster-presenting students. For details on attending the Plants Beyond Limits, visit the conference website. For information about poster sessions, please contact Jordan Dowell.

Rescheduled Upcoming In-Service Training (IST) Courses of Interest

Due to Hurricane Irma, both of these trainings were rescheduled.  The below information reflects the new dates for each training. 

Two ISTs of possible interest have been announced. The first is "When and How to Utilize the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Research and Extension" (PDEC IST# 31394), being held on November 1, 9am-4:30pm, in Gainesville. Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) review all research involving human subjects to ensure that their welfare and rights are protected as mandated by federal regulations. Faculty, staff, and students at UF may not conduct any human research without prior IRB approval. Effective sustainable agriculture program evaluation and outreach relies on human subject feedback, namely farmers and service providers. The objective of this IST is to provide participants with an understanding of how the IRB submission process works, when it is necessary, and how to submit an IRB successfully.

The second is "Changing Communities Using a Theory of Change," (PDEC IST# 31263), being held on November 2, 9am–4:30pm, in Gainesville. Faculty are under increasing demand in Extension to demonstrate their programs create community-level change. Donors and government agencies want to see that Extension programs go beyond creating change at the individual level—they want to see significant movement in critical indicators for entire communities, for the county, and ultimately for the state. Examples of community-level indicators might be things like reduced average water use in municipalities, increased tax revenues from agriculturally based businesses at the county level, or decreased incidence of obesity among youth in specific communities. They also want Extension to address complex issues that involve both individual attitudes and behaviors and structural barriers. It is true that individuals have to change their behaviors to get community level change, but that is just one component of community-level change. Programs that will achieve these kinds of broad-based, systemic changes require concerted efforts to increase resources and opportunities and reduce barriers at a broader, community scale. As a result, those in Extension have to be strategic in their programming, which requires a theory of change—a path of related events that must occur at multiple scales and with multiple actors for change to occur. It also typically requires developing strong, mutually beneficial partnerships with other agencies and organizations. This training gives participants an opportunity to develop their own strategic theory of change to access a complex problem that is critical to their work in Extension.

Those with questions should contact Kaylene Sattanno for more information. Visit the PDEC site to register for any of the trainings.

Michael Dukes elected Fellow American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

CLCE Director Dr. Michael Dukes was elected to the grade of Fellow by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) in 2017. An ASABE Fellow is defined as a member with at least 20 years membership and that has unusual professional qualities with outstanding and extraordinary qualifications and experience in, or related to the field of agricultural, food, or biological systems engineering. It is ASABE's highest honor. Dukes will be officially named during ASABE’s annual meeting on July 17 in Spokane, Washington. Read the full IFAS news story, "Renowned UF professor named a Fellow by national organization."

Researchers Answer How "Green" Are Urban Trees?

A group of researchers from the University of Illinois, University of Florida, and University of Kentucky, take a look at urban tree carbon sequestration and tree maintenance practices. Researchers led by Dr. Dewayne Ingram, University of Kentucky, set out to determine at what point urban trees sequester as much carbon as is emitted during maintenance practices over their lifespan. Another way to phrase this is: at what point do urban trees become carbon neutral?

"Our research shows the importance of selecting good quality trees that are suited for the planting site and doing what we can to enhance their longevity,” Dr. Andrew Koeser, University of Florida, says. “Failed plantings and premature tree death can end up causing environmental disservice."

Read the full article online at Alliance for Community Trees, an Arbor Day Foundation program.

Chris Marble awarded UF/IFAS equipment grant

CLCE faculty member Dr. S. Chris Marble was awarded a grant through the UF/IFAS Equipment and Infrastructure Awards Program. The funds will go to the purchase a LI-COR 6800, which measures photosynthesis. This is Li-COR's newest model. Many of the faculty at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center will be using the equipment. They will use it to closely monitor how plants are responding to stress (water, heat, drought, disease, etc.), herbicide applications, nutrition, growing conditions, and other impacts. The Florida Agricultural Experiment Station and Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources, in partnership with the University of Florida's Office of the Vice President for Research, offer the Equipment and Infrastructure Awards Program with the goal of enhancing infrastructural capacity for research within UF/IFAS, to increase the impacts of our research efforts, and to increase our competitiveness for extramural funding. There were 62 proposals submitted, more than double from the previous year.

Michael Dukes elected Fellow Environmental and Water Resources Institute

CLCE Director Dr. Michael Dukes was elected to the grade of Fellow by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) in 2017. An EWRI Fellow is defined as a member with at least 10 years of membership and has demonstrated accomplishments that have contributed significantly to the advancement or application of water resources or environmental engineering, science, and technology.

Michael Dukes paper on residential irrigation demand wins award

CLCE Director Dr. Michael Dukes' paper, "Mining for Water: Using Billing Data to Characterize Residential Irrigation Demand" was recognized by the American Water Works Association Water Conservation Division as Best Paper. His graduate student, Mackenzie Boyer was primary author and coauthors include Dr. Linda Young and Shu Wang. The award will be given at the June 2017 AWWA annual conference in Philadelphia.

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