University of Florida Students Tour: July 2, 2019
Two students of Dr. Kimberly Moore who is the professor of Sustainable Plant Management, in the Environmental Horticulture Department, were curious of our research in our quarantine facility. Dr. Moore suggested a tour from Dr. Allen Dray, who is the Quarantine Officer. Dr. Dray not only gave them a tour of the quarantine, he also explained in detail of the importance of biological control of invasive plants, and the quarantine process it requires.
Brazilian Peppertree Biocontrol Release: July 16, 2019
Several local and federal agencies took another step in protecting America's Everglades by releasing an insect reared to combat the invasive Brazilian peppertree. These agencies include the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the National Park Service, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).
After the release event, the public was able to tour IPRL (Invasive Plant Research Lab) to learn other biological control insects reared in our facility.
Nature Trail Building with Native Florida Plants: July 20, 2019
Dr. Aaron David, Eileen Pokorny, Kristin Pokorny with Master Gardeners Gerritt Stryker, and Kereina Chang helped Ranger John Frosbutter with building a Native Nature Trail at Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park.
Broward County Extension 4-H Summer Bug Camp: July 24, 2019
Broward County Extension hosted a summer course for students in the elementary school level for a week. On July 24, 2019 they visited our lab for an afternoon. Dr. Dale Halbritter gave them an introduction to many of the biological control agents and invasive plants we research.
Dr. Aaron David led an activity with the kids which involved searching and counting Neomusotima conspurcatalis larvae, which is a biological control for the invasive Lygodium microphyllum.
Dr. Ashley Goode led a "Megajump" activity with the insect Megamelus scutellaris, one of the biological control agents for Water Hyacinth. For this activity the students measured the length of jumping ability of this insect.
After the inside session biological technician Eileen Pokorny led a tour outside in our K.I.N.D. (Keep It Native Demonstration) Garden. The tour gave a demonstration of how important our native plants are in keeping a healthy and natural balance in our environment, comparing the difference the invasive plant environment presents.
Several other technicians including Brittany Knowles took pictures and set up the display.
On the first day of the Bug Camp the students created a “Pit Stop Experiment” within the garden. After a few days they collected insects which were in the “pit” to do a count of insect diversity.
The 4-H representative and teacher Karen Rice-David was very pleased with our outreach program.