A Disease, a Researcher, and a Grant
Great Concept, Guys
Garkovich’s Winning Season
With a Burger, an Idea is Born
New Digs for the Stalk-Eyed Fly
Taking Technology to the Woods
Two Decades Ahead of the Rest of Us
See Blue. Go Green.
A Disease, a Researcher, and a Grant
To most Kentuckians, mosquitoes aren’t much more than a summertime nuisance. But the World Health Organization estimates that one mosquito-borne disease, Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), also known as Elephantiasis, has put more than a billion people at risk worldwide.
UK entomologist Stephen Dobson is participating in an effort to eliminate LF in the South Pacific.
His research on the disease has been noteworthy enough to make him Kentucky’s first recipient of a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with an award of $5.3 million.
Dobson said that fighting mosquito-borne diseases in other countries isn’t much different than doing it in Kentucky.
“New approaches for stopping mosquito-borne disease overseas will have a global impact on health and can also affect Kentuckians,” he said. “It hasn’t been that long ago that West Nile Virus came on the scene in Kentucky along with two types of exotic mosquitoes. A few additional tools for combating mosquitoes would have been nice, and the approaches that we are developing could be useful here as well.”
Dobson is part of a team of international researchers focused on biological and insecticidal approaches to eliminate LF transmission by mosquitoes and to integrate the new approach with the current strategy of mass drug administration.
“Dobson’s team could really make a global impact on human health,” said Nancy Cox, UK College of Agriculture associate dean for research and the director of Kentucky’s Agricultural Experiment Station.
Great Concept, Guys
Three ag econ seniors win national award
Three ag econ students (from the left, Dustin Mattingly, Steven Osborne, and Greg Noe) won the 2008 Student Food Marketing Challenge sponsored by the National Food Distribution Research Society. They applied their knowledge of food distribution, economics, management, marketing, and merchandising to a real-world situation. Student teams role-played as consultants competing for the account of Great Harvest Bread Co. (Lexington’s Palomar Centre location shown here) and made their bid presentation to company executives in the final round of a two-day competition in Dublin, Ohio.
When Lori Garkovich was 15, she didn‘t head to the pool during summer vacation. Instead, she put in 40 hours a week as a hospital Candy Striper, and she’s been working at that clip ever since.
“It’s my life,” said Garkovich, a faculty member in community and leadership development, shrugging off the balancing act of teaching, outreach, and research that recently brought her three distinguished awards.
Garkovich has been named a recipient of the Provost’s Distinguished Service Professorship Award for 2008, one of six UK faculty members so honored. This award recognizes faculty who have shown excellence in all areas of their assignment. (Paul Vincelli, extension professor in plant pathology, received this award in 2007.)
The Southern Rural Development Center has awarded Garkovich the Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime Achievement Award for 2008. And, most recently, when the UK National Alumni Association named its great teachers for 2009, Garkovich and Bill Silvia, who is in animal and food sciences, were on the list—which means that this year, two out of six UK Great Teachers are from the College of Agriculture.
“I feel lucky, blessed. I get to work with great colleagues in the department and in the state,” said Garkovich, talking about her career, which includes a full teaching load, working in communities across the state to help them envision their future, and research that has generated two books and numerous journal articles.
Among the colleagues she admires are county extension agents. “These people do incredible stuff. I’m in awe of their workload,” said Garkovich, whose own award-winning workload is also awesome.
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Hamburgers can leave a huge carbon footprint, but a program created with the guidance of College of Agriculture personnel could help consumers gain access to locally produced ground beef with a much smaller environmental impact.
The idea behind the Kentucky Hamburger Alliance Project is to give local producers the opportunity to pool their premium ground beef for sale to restaurants and retail outlets. It’s one solution to a problem many farmers encounter when dealing in direct sales—finding a market for every part of the animal.
Bob Perry, UK project manager for sustainable agriculture, said the alliance can be an option in the direct sales arena for farmers who finish their cattle with an all-natural protocol of neither hormones nor antibiotics.
“It is close to a break-even proposition for the producers, but it will allow them to increase the number of cattle they’re finishing, which means they can increase their business by selling more choice and specialty cuts and steaks,” he said.
Green River Cattle Company, comprised of Central Kentucky farmers, and UK Dining Services are the first to take advantage of the project. Dining Services contracted for 3,000 pounds of hamburger patties per month. If supply can match demand, it could conceivably use five times that amount.
UK Agricultural Economist Lee Meyer believes that enhancing markets through this project lays the foundation for more forage livestock systems in the state, attracting people who may only dabble in direct sales.
“This is going to allow them to increase their production,” he said. “Then, as other farmers watch this unfold, we’ll probably see more who realize they can do it, too.”
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With recent renovations to UK’s Dimock Animal Pathology Building, the stalk-eyed fly pictured above is not the only insect in the UK Entomology Department to obtain more spacious quarters. The collection is home to more than 1 million insect specimens and exists mainly as a research instrument, but it is also an educational tool for entomology students. The expansion will allow the department to properly house many specimens now in temporary storage while leaving room for the collection to grow.
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to the Woods
On a mountaintop hillside in Powell County, five UK forestry students had technology on their side, even in a remote area, as they worked together collecting information that eventually will be part of a land use management plan.
The technology is thanks to an HP Technology for Teaching Grant awarded to UK’s Department of Forestry.
The grant enabled the students to use a wireless tablet personal computer in the field for data gathering. The students’ Powell County project was their capstone course as seniors, bringing together everything they had learned in forestry.
What they used is a far cry from the tools that were available when Jim Ringe, one of the course instructors, was a forestry student 30 years ago.
“Just getting information down on paper, processing it with calculators, and just getting some basic numbers was so time intensive,” said Ringe, a UK forestry professor who co-taught the capstone course with assistant professor John Lhotka. “Now we can spend more time on the actual decision-making process and less on number crunching.”
Three forestry courses used the new equipment during spring semester. It includes not only the tablet computers, but a large format printer, digital camera, projector, and a desktop computer and monitor for the instructor. The HP products and a faculty cash award are valued at more than $77,000.
Students using the technology in the field said it eliminates a step.
“I like it better, I like accessing our software faster, entering my data faster,” said senior forestry major Erin Thompson from Louisville.
Go to www.ca.uky.edu/forestry for information on majoring in forestry.
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Ohio River-bordered Meade County was ahead of the curve 22 years ago when a far-sighted solid waste coordinator and group of concerned citizens created a pilot recycling project in Doe Valley.
Karen Hofmann, then-president of the Doe Valley Extension Homemakers, led the effort to solicit support. As she remembers it, the logistics of the program took some work, but getting people interested did not.
“As far as getting them to say, ‘yes, we’ll be involved,’ that part was easy,” Hofmann said.
From that pilot project sprang one of Kentucky’s best recycling programs, which has successfully combated the problem of illegal dumping in the county’s sinkhole-rich landscape. The program includes a permanent recycling center and seven satellite locations. In approximately 18 months, the satellite sites have generated over 350,000 pounds of recyclable material. The county as a whole recycled more than 725 tons of materials in 2008.
The current solid waste coordinator, Mark Gossett, praises the founding group’s wisdom in planning for future growth. The 7-acre central facility gives him room to store processed materials to sell by the truckload for the best price.
Education plays a key role in motivating people to recycle. Gossett and Jennifer Bridge, Meade County family and consumer sciences extension agent, encourage the practice during classroom visits, civic meetings, and workshops.
Today, the pristine beauty of Meade County is a tribute to its citizens, who realized that a simple recycling program could have a dramatic impact on their environment.
“I think what we marvel at in extension, is that we’ll be part of a small program, and then it takes off,” Bridge said. “It started with a few people taking their recyclables out to the curb, and now we have this outstanding facility contributing to save our environment for future generations.”
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Want a one-stop shop for a green life?
Look no further. UK Cooperative Extension has a new Web site to help you.
It‘s called see blue. go green, and you can find it at
The site brings together a wealth of College information on how to reduce environmental impact at home, in the garden, on the farm, in the forest, when you travel, and where you work. So, go green. You‘re only a click away.
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