College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences
On Solid Ground – Plant Health, Teaching with Plants – Jan. 30, 2013
Cook Launches Plant Health International
James Cook, former dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences and emeritus professor of plant pathology and crop and soil sciences has launched an informative website called “Plant Health International.” The initial focus of the site is on plant root health and health management in the context of global food security. Cook said his goal is to communicate critical information to farmers, students, policy makers, and the general public–audiences that scientific literature doesn’t typically address.
“Sustainable agriculture is not enough,” Cook said, who won the 2011 Wolf Prize in Agriculture. “The world needs sustainable growth in agriculture to keep up with the growing human population in the face of climate change and declining natural resources. Effective and economical management of unseen and often misdiagnosed root diseases is one of the major scientific and technical pillars to meeting these challenges.”
The Plant Health International website is organized around six broad topics reflecting Cook’s particular interests and experience. Cook’s career was devoted primarily to research on root diseases in cereal-intensive, no-till (direct-seed) cropping systems in the Pacific Northwest.
Plant Health Management
Initial posts are based on Cook’s classic studies conducted over 50 years of agricultural science research and leadership. New material and resources will be added over time. Cook also hopes to include guest contributions.
“The role of plant health is foundational to achieving global food security,” Cook said. “This website is a way to reach and respond to those who most need to know more about the fundamentals, theory, practice, and benefits of plant health and plant health management.”
MLK Winner Uses Nature and Nurture to Teach
Doris Sonstelie has found a place in the sun for thousands of children to plant seeds, pluck weeds, dispense water and reap rewards. A volunteer member of WSU Extension’s Master Gardener Program in Yakima County, she’s been cultivating green thumbs since 2006.
As lead instructor of the youth gardening program, Sonstelie travels throughout Yakima County to teach children from all income backgrounds and nationalities how food is connected to nature and the seasons by growing vegetables with them. But she does more than teach. Place her on a patch of dirt with a group of kids and watch joy emerge as large as pumpkins.
“She reaches out; she cares. She’s an amazingly compassionate mentor,” said Yakima 4-H program coordinator Jennifer Loyd. “I think the impact she has on kids is long-term, not only with regard to education, but also making them feel good about who they are.”
Loyd’s evidence-based assessment is why WSU selected Sonstelie for the 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Community Service Award.
Watching a speck in the soil grow into an eight-foot-tall sunflower or a thick orange carrot exudes a certain magic that makes children excited to learn, said Sonstelie. “I love getting in the dirt with them and seeing their faces light up,” she said.
Sonstelie works with children enrolled in 23 different programs, including 4-H youth development, Daisy Girl Scouts, and Ready by Five. Horticulture is a “remarkable teaching tool” for subjects ranging from science and math to art and music, according to Sonstelie. She and her students sing about insects and birds, make vegetable puppets, and measure spaces between seeds. They also talk about the natural scientific process of composting and analyze soil under microscopes.
“The kids are always surprised when they see all the fungus, insects, bits of leaves, and twigs,” Sonstelie said.
Sonstelie’s motivation for nurturing young gardeners comes from genuinely caring about them and the plants they grow. “I can see how it builds their self-esteem.” But there’s another, broader benefit in showing children you care: “To grow something in the ground, you have to take care of it along the way. My hope is these kids will learn to love nature enough to take care of it, now and always.”
CAHNRS is more than agriculture. With 24 majors, 19 minors, and 27 graduate level programs, we are one of the largest, most diverse colleges at WSU. CAHNRS Cougs are making a difference in the wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities, improving ecological and economic systems, and advancing agricultural sciences.
Washington State University has been awarded a five-year $2 million National Research Support Project grant to build and maintain a national system for sharing digital plant genetic resources. Known as NRSP10, the project is the tenth National Research Support Project in the nation.
How do we define nature, wilderness and conservation? Are our ideas about nature outdated? What lessons can evolution offer for modern agriculture? Are we “fueling a biotechnological bubble” by ignoring ecologically inspired ways to improve agriculture?
PULLMAN, Wash. - Scientists at Washington State University have been awarded $2.53 million to improve fruit quality and disease resistance of crops in the rosaceae family (apple, blackberry, peach, pear, rose, strawberry, sweet cherry and ...
Students have a variety of options to pursue masters and doctoral degrees. Many of these have very specific background requirements, so we suggest exploring the individual programs for academic guidelines.
Being a CAHNRS Coug is about having a life-changing experience and having fun along the way. With an endless array of subjects to study, students can explore a variety of topics until they focus on that area that truly excites them. We include ample opportunities to learn outside the classroom, because we not only believe it’s a better way to learn, it makes for a more meaningful and enjoyable college experience.
CAHNRS knows how to throw a party, and there is not greater time to celebrate than when our students return to campus. Free food (including Ferdinand’s Ice Cream), swag from each of our student clubs, activities, and a drawing for $1,000 scholarships—its all part of our annual Fall Festival. And we just don’t limit the event to our CAHNRS majors, we welcome everyone across campus to learn more about what our college offers.
The Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership makes it possible for students to secure that job-landing internship, experience another culture in the southern hemisphere, unlock their leadership potential through seminars and workshops, and find a mentor to coach them through their academic experience.
CAHNRS Office of Research
Agricultural Research Center
The goal of the Washington State University CAHNRS Office of Research is to promote research beneficial to the citizens of Washington. The Office of Research recognizes its unique land-grant research mission to the people of Washington and their increasing global connections. The CAHNRS Office of Research provides leadership in discovering and applying knowledge through high-quality research that contributes to a safe and abundant food, fiber, and energy supply while enhancing the sustainability of agricultural and natural resource systems.
By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences
PULLMAN, Wash. – Scientists at Washington State University have concluded that nondigestible compounds in apples – specifically, Granny Smith apples – may help prevent disorders associated with obesity. The study, thought to be the first to assess these compounds in apple cultivars grown in the Pacific Northwest, appears in October’s print edition of the journal Food Chemistry. “We know that, in general, apples are a good source of these nondigestible compounds but there are differences in varieties,” said food scientist Giuliana Noratto, the study’s lead researcher. “Results from this study will help consumers to discriminate between apple varieties that can aid in the fight against obesity.” MORE
PULLMAN, Wash. – Drug abuse, acts of rampage – what’s really the matter with kids today? While there are many places to lay blame – family, attitude, peers, school, community – a new study shows that those risks vary in intensity from kid to kid and can be identified.
Scientists at Washington State University and Pennsylvania State University have found a way to spot the adolescents most susceptible to specific risk factors for delinquency MORE
By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences
PULLMAN, Wash. – With global food demand expected to outpace the availability of water by the year 2050, consumers can make a big difference in reducing the water used in livestock production.
“It’s important to know that small changes on the consumer side can help, and in fact may be necessary, to achieve big results in a production system,” said Robin White, lead researcher of a Washington State University study appearing in the journal Food Policy. MORE
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With 39 locations throughout the state, WSU Extension is the front door to the University. Extension builds the capacity of individual, organization, businesses and communities, empowering them to find solutions for local issues and to improve their quality of life. Extension collaborates with communities to create a culture of life-long learning and is recognized for its accessible, learner-centered, relevant, high-quality, unbiased educational programs.
Washington State University Extension 4-H Youth Development is collaborating with Seattle Parks and Recreation to provide the residents of Seattle, King County, and beyond, the benefits of an educational partnership for school districts, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, businesses, and the public, resulting in the strengthening of community life.
The WSU Extension Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth Aged 10-14, is a parent, youth, and family skills-building curriculum that focuses on strengthening parenting skills, building family strengths, and preventing teen substance abuse and other behavioral problems.
Women, Farms & Food is an innovative project that addresses the risk management needs of women producers using technology and follow-up skills-based workshops. The Women in Agriculture program began in Washington State in 2005, with annual state conferences offering speakers, practical advice, collaborative discussion, and networking opportunities.
The WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) Office of Alumni & Friends is a service unit dedicated to promoting philanthropic support for the college’s research, teaching, and extension programs.
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Through the Campaign for Washington State University, CAHNRS and WSU Extension will play a major role in defining answers to complex issues through truly big ideas—feeding the world, powering the planet, and ensuring the health and well-being of children, families, and communities. See below to learn more about how we are addressing these issues in our strategic and on-going initiatives and development of world-class students.