These past few months have been filled with great news, for so many members of the Garden Ecology Lab team. In this post, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate their great work and accomplishments.
Aaron Anderson successfully defended his dissertation in February 2022, entitled Evaluating the Attractiveness of Pacific Northwest Native Plants to Insects and Gardeners, and graduated with his Ph.D. in horticulture. In September 2022, Aaron also published two chapters of his dissertation. This first is an Extension publication, geared towards gardeners: ‘Native Plant Picks for Bees‘. The second is the scientific paper that formed the basis of the Extension publication: ‘The Bee Fauna Associated with Pacific Northwest (USA) Native Plants for Gardens‘. Aaron is now working with the Xerces Society, as Pesticide Program Specialist.
Jen Hayes successfully advanced to Ph.D. candidacy in June 2022, by passing her comprehensive exam. The comprehensive exam (also known as ‘comps’) is perhaps the most difficult part of the Ph.D. journey. In Jen’s case, it involved a 3-hour long oral exam with her graduate committee (Drs. Lauren Gwin, Jim Rivers, Andony Melathopolous, Ryan Contreras, and Gail Langellotto), who took turns asking a series of questions on topics ranging from wild bee biology, native plant ecology, and ornamental plant breeding. Jen also prepared and defended a review paper focused on the process and impacts of breeding native plants to produce native cultivars. Jen also recently completed the prestigious ‘Bee Course’ offered by the American Museum of Natural History, at the Southwestern Research Station in Portal, AZ.
Signe Danler was promoted to Senior Instructor I, after thorough review of her accomplishments by the Department of Horticulture and the College of Agricultural Sciences. Signe manages the Certificate of Home Horticulture online course series, and also develops and provides online short courses to support Master Gardener training efforts across the state. Over the course of her career at OSU, she has created three new online classes (Sustainable Landscape Management, Sustainable Landscape Design, and Gardening with Native Plants), and has updated and revised an additional nine classes. Her efforts have grown revenue, so that her position is now fully funded, and also contributes to the operating expenses of the Garden Ecology Lab.
Mallory Mead received two prestigious scholarships! First, she received the Garden Club of America’s Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship, to support her work on the Clarkia Project. Mallory also won a Scholar’s Award from the American Society for Horticultural Science, in recognition of her scholastic achievement.
LeAnn Locher led teams of Extension professionals that received two awards from the Association for Communication Excellence. LeAnn and team earned a Silver in the category of ‘Social Media Campaign (Organic)’, for a series of social media posts (and supporting peer-reviewed web materials) focused on supporting gardeners through extreme heat events. One web post was focused on identifying and preventing heat stress in plants. Another was focused on helping bees during a heat wave. A third post focused on helping hydrangeas through the heat wave. LeAnn and team also earned a Bronze in the category of ‘Social Media (Single Item)’ for a social media post (and supporting peer-reviewed web article) focused on stopping the spread of jumping worms during plant sales and trades. LeAnn conceived of the campaign, and designed the visuals and outreach strategy. She worked closely with other team members to quickly develop peer-reviewed web articles that could support the social media posts. LeAnn’s excellence in communications and outreach was also recognized via her receipt of the 2021 Oscar Hagg Extension Communication Award.
Svea Bruslind received a 2022 Art-Sci Student Fellowship to support her ‘Bee’s Eye View’ project. This fellowship will allow Svea to display her work in her first-ever art exhibition! Gail is serving as Svea’s scientific mentor for this fellowship. We are beyond honored that Jasna Guy is serving as Svea’s artistic mentor!
Tyler Spofford graduated from our lab group in 2021, and was soon thereafter hired as the new SNAP-Ed Gardening Program Coordinator, working with our colleagues in the College of Public Health. In this role, Tyler will continue to build out the gardening resources in Food Hero, and will also help administer and manage the Seed to Supper program at OSU. You might remember that Tyler completed his undergraduate thesis research on containerized gardening in the Garden Ecology Lab.
Help me congratulate this amazing team of scientists, educators, communicators! I am lucky to work with such a great team.