What sparked your interest in a career working with plants? Many people can trace their interest in plants back to one or two people. Now you have a chance to get the next generation interested in horticulture. CFANS has started an exciting opportunity called the Alumni Ambassador Program, which invites alumni to share their professional and collegiate experiences with students who are looking to explore careers in the food, agricultural, and natural resource sciences.
The structures of today morph into history alongside the innovations of tomorrow. This idea lays the groundwork behind the exhibition “Still . . . Life,” a collaboration between three professors, including Neil Anderson from the Department of Horticultural Science currently viewable at the Weisman Art Museum. During the 2010–2011 school year, when two of the artists were on Fulbright sabbaticals in the Czech Republic, the three collaborators traveled to Jewish cemeteries around Bohemia and Moravia as an alternate way to explore the history of the Holocaust than the better-known concentration camps.
Vervet monkeys have specific alarm calls for leopards, snakes, and eagles. Blackbirds give off a high seee call when birds of prey are nearby. And plants get…gassy? Over the last 30 years research has shown that plants, much like animals, ‘scream’ at each other when being attacked by pests through the specific gasses they give off. Recent findings in John Erwin’s lab, however, indicate that these gasses do more than just warn nearby plants to be on high alert: they also call in beneficial insects.
In the spring of 2015, media outlets were buzzing with the news: there was a new Minnesota apple in need of a name. Thanks to Honeycrisp fame, new apple releases from the Department of Horticultural Science tend to get a lot of people excited. The new apple, MN-55, is still a ways from having a name and showing up on market shelves. However, other breeding programs within the department have been hard at work.
This summer the front of Alderman Hall was re-landscaped thanks to the Living Laboratory initiative and generous donations from our alumni and friends. The new garden combines plantings that are both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally beneficial to help create a more sustainable campus environment. Read more about this and other exciting changes in the department in the News from the Department Head.
In early August, alumnus Arnold ‘Arne’ Blomquist passed away. Arne earned his master’s degree (1961) and Ph.D. (1963) from the University of Minnesota in horticulture, genetics, and biology. Known for his strength of character and physical constitution, Arne used his extraordinary intelligence and bold leadership to spearhead many projects. He had led military, professional, religious, and education programs that benefit humanity and are a credit to the University.
On West Bank, between the Carlson School of Management and the Rarig Center, a small garden lays brimming with tomato trellises, native perennials, kale, and scattered pollinator beds. It’s there thanks to a small cohort of students looking for a place where faculty, staff, students, and community members can gather on the more metropolitan side of campus to have meaningful interactions with a core theme of healthy food and the environment. With the help of the Living Laboratory initiative, an IonE grant, and Professor Tom Michaels advising, these students created the West Bank Community Garden (WBCG).
Sitting on either side of the main entrance to Alderman Hall this summer were two small wooden boxes brimming with salad greens. These little boxes are the current iteration of a project initially developed by Professor Tom Michaels in 2011, and worked on by many undergraduates since then, called hydroponic salad tables. The tables offer a way for people with little to no land to grow their own salad greens.
For years, the number of active golf players has been declining, and golf courses around the country have been shutting down. People aren’t as interested in golf as they once were. Golf courses are “Golf is in the midst of significant change,” says Professor Brian Horgan. “We have an industry that is in need of change, a golf course that is in need of renovation, and a university that’s ready to make a difference. This all gives us a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a major impact on golf.” The Science of (the) Green® initiative aims to renovate the Les Bolstad Golf Course, just across the street from the St. Paul Campus, to make it a working model for the industry that will pave the way for a new kind of interaction with golf personally, communally, and generationally.
As Moriah Maternoski (B.S. Food Systems ‘16) started to talk about all the work that she had to do as a Markhart Scholar last spring — scheduling, emailing, grant writing, evaluating and more — her eyes lit up. It’s a feeling shared with the other eight students involved in the inaugural year of the Markhart Scholars Program, a competitive scholarship opportunity that enables students to build a network around community engagement, food security, and sustainable agriculture.