- employee of the month
- Employee Recognition
- Inside the ARECs
- master gardeners
- New Hires
- social media
- Strategic Planning
Tag Archives: horticulture
Alexander X. Niemiera, professor for the Department of Horticulture and assistant dean of student programs in the college, has received the university’s 2016 William E. Wine Award.
The William E. Wine Award was established in 1957 by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association in memory of William E. Wine, Class of 1904, who was a former rector of the Board of Visitors and Alumni Association president. Following a college-level selection process of candidates nominated by students, faculty, and alumni, each college may put forth one nominee. From this group, three faculty members are selected annually. Each Wine Award winner receives $2,000 and automatic induction into the Academy of Teaching Excellence.
In addition to teaching five routine courses per year, Niemiera has taught seven other courses for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He consistently receives above average SPOT evaluation scores from students who often describe his dedication to his students and the material.
See the full story on Virginia Tech News.
David Close, consumer horticulture specialist and Virginia Cooperative Extension state master gardener coordinator, has received the 2016 Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension.
Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension is presented annually to two Virginia Cooperative Extension faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to the land-grant mission of the university. One award goes to an Extension specialist and the other is given to an Extension agent. Each award winner receives $2,000.
Since assuming the position in 2004, Close has developed several resources to improve the work the Extension master gardener can accomplish.
He worked directly with the Virginia Master Gardener Association and the College of Agriculture and LIfe Sciences development office to establish the State Master Gardener Coordinator’s Endowment as a means to solve the persistent lack of stable funding for the state master gardener coordinator position. The endowment has a goal of $1 million and is currently at more than $500,000.
See the full story on Virginia Tech News.
Congratulations to Anton Baudoin, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Susan Day who were recently recognized for their ongoing and exemplary commitment to teaching students in the college with the Certificate of Teaching Excellence. They will be formally recognized in May, and a news release at that time will further detail their accomplishments.
Anton Baudoin, an associate professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, focuses on biology and control of fungal diseases of grapes, with an emphasis on powdery and downy mildew, and Botrytis bunch rot.
Elizabeth Gilbert, an assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, is focused on the molecular and cellular signaling mechanisms associated with energy metabolism in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue across different species.
Susan Day, an associate professor in the Department of Horticulture, is dedicated to uncovering practical information that will improve tree health and canopy cover in urbanizing environments and conducts research in a variety of urban forestry issues.
His nominator noted that the “recent blooming of the corpse plant, Phil, was a huge success in terms of visitors, social media, and exposure for the college and a large part of the reason for this was Jeff Burr. Though his job title is greenhouse manager, during Phil’s blooming cycle, he served as social media manager, botany interpreter, crowd-controller, and all around great ambassador for the college.”
Burr opened a Twitter account to promote the greenhouse and Phil. The #stinkyphil campaign earned more than 1.7 million impressions and he was a big part of this success.
When he learned that Phil was going to bloom outside of his typical work schedule, Burr kept the greenhouse open late on Friday, then opened the doors on Saturday and Sunday when more than 1,000 people visited Phil.
H answered hundreds of questions about Phil and always did so with a deep well of knowledge, but just as importantly, with a great attitude and a sense of humor. Though people waited more than an hour in line to see Phil, Burr made the entire environment light and lively. His nominator also noted that he “was a tremendous ambassador for the college and Virginia Tech and was an integral part of a very successful campaign that helped spread the words ‘College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ around the globe.”
As the December employee of the month, he will receive a plaque, gifts from the college, have his photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, and will be eligible to be considered for the 2015-16 Employee of the Year award.
On Friday, Feb. 5 from 3-6 p.m., the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences and the Department of Horticulture will be holding the Graduate Student Research Symposium at the Inn at Virginia Tech.
Mark Alley, professor emeritus in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences and AAAS Fellow, will be our keynote speaker. Following his speech, there will be a poster session to showcase the outstanding research our graduate students are doing in the departments. We are also inviting potential graduate students to attend the event to learn more about the graduate programs and have the opportunity to talk with faculty and current graduate students.
All eyes and noses were on the exotic corpse flower — a prehistoric-looking plant that bloomed this past weekend, releasing a primordial stench akin to rotting flesh.
Lucky visitors to the complex on Virginia Tech’s campus had the chance to get a whiff and an eyeful of the rare plant when it bloomed last Friday for the first time in five years.
Thousands of visitors stood in line at the greenhouse over the weekend and also engaged with us on social media using the hashtag #stinkyphil, uploading photos of the plant on Twitter, and posting them to the college Facebook page. We also caught a time lapse video of Phil in bloom!
This flower is no shrinking violet. A mature bloom can reach up to 7-12 feet in height, and a diameter of 3-4 feet. The blooming period only lasts about 48 hours and the overwhelming stench is said to occur only in the first eight hours of blooming when the flower expends a lot of energy to attract pollinators.
The plant is native to Sumatra, Indonesia and was first discovered there in 1878 by Odoardo Beccari. The first organization to cultivate the corpse flower, whose scientific name is Amorphophallus titanium, was the Royal Botanic Gardens, in Kew, England in 1887. The plant first bloomed in the United States in 1937 at the New York Botanical Garden.
Virginia Tech’s Department of Horticulture owes its odorous legacy to James Symon, a medical doctor who collected the seeds of the plants in Sumatra and shared them with John Ford, a frequent visitor to Virginia Tech and a member of the Aroid Society, an organization dedicated to the study of plants that belong to the Philodendron or Arum family.
“Phil” is an offshoot, or corm, of the original bulb that was donated by Ford.
The University of Georgia Press recently published “Remaking Home Economics: Resourcefulness and Innovations in Changing Times.”
Horticulture Associate Professor Susan Clark co-authored one of the book’s chapters, “Our Own Food: From Canning to Community Gardens.” It describes the history and importance of wartime gardening and canning for our nation’s food security and how civic agriculture education, practice, and professional leadership is a contemporary local food concept that addresses some of the issues facing agriculture today.
The chapter raises the question whether civic agriculture is the new 21st century home economics since civic agriculture addresses comparable issues about local and regional food production, economic security, and social capital to the home economics of the past. Continue reading
Alex Niemiera, professor in the Department of Horticulture and assistant dean of Student Programs in CALS at Virginia Tech, has received Career Services’ Award for Excellence in Career Advising for 2014.
Niemiera, who joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1989, said in order to best guide students, he has to “feel out the student’s needs, desires and background” and to keep himself up-to-date on what is available in the field.
“He really appreciates his contact with undergraduate students,” said Richard Veilleux, interim head of the Department of Horticulture.
“It is important for us to recognize the work that Departmental Career Advisors are doing to assist students,” said Amy McPherson, associate director at Career Services, “specifically with career related concerns and topics.”