College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

On Solid Ground – Plant Health, Teaching with Plants – Jan. 30, 2013

Cook Launches Plant Health International

cookJames 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
  • Root Diseases
  • Biological Control
  • Biotechnology
  • No-Till Farming
  • Communicating Science

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

Sonstelie explains the different parts of a bean that students planted from seed at WSU's Master Gardener Demonstration Garden in Yakima. Photo courtesy of Doris Sonstelie.
Sonstelie explains the different parts of a bean that students planted from seed at WSU’s Master Gardener Demonstration Garden in Yakima. Photo courtesy of Doris Sonstelie.

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.

Digging Deeper

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.”

–Linda Weiford

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.

FACTS

Opportunity

CAHNRS has 39 student clubs and organizations to enhance student experiences and opportunities.


Students

Fall undergradsUndergraduate Studies

Check out every department and program CAHNRS has to offer, from Interior Design to Agriculture to Wildlife Ecology. We have 13 departments and schools to prepare you for your chosen career.

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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.

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The CTLL is a student, faculty, alumni and industry partner collaboration for high quality learning and leadership beyond the classroom.










CAHNRS Office of Research

Agricultural Research Center

Mission Statement

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.

Featured Research

By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

A new study by researchers at Washington State University shows that mechanical harvesting of cider apples can provide labor and cost savings without affecting fruit, juice, or cider quality.
The study, published in the journal HortTechnology in October, is one of several studies focused on cider apple production in Washington State. It was conducted in response to growing demand for hard cider apples in the state and the nation…MORE

SubsurfaceIrrigationWSU wins national award for water-saving research

By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

Water scarcity – one of the toughest challenges predicted for the 21st century – is being addressed by Washington State University. As part of a multistate research program, WSU is among 19 land-grant universities honored recently for their efforts to help farmers irrigate their land more efficiently, especially during droughts and water shortages.
“A safe, reliable supply of water is inextricably linked to food security,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture…MORE

Apples-USDA-ARS-350An apple a day could keep obesity away

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

Cooper-500New “magnifying glass” helps spot delinquency risks

By Rebecca E. Phillips, University Communications

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

Beef-cattle-from-iStock-photos-500Food labels can reduce environmental impacts of 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





Extension

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.

MudflatImpact: Burrowing Shrimp and Invasive Eelgrass

Shellfish production in Washington is a $60 million a year industry. Several major pests plague this industry, resulting in major crop loss. One of the most important pests is subterranean burrowing shrimp. These shrimp bioturbate (stir up) the sediment, causing the oysters to sink and die. For the past 60 years the industry has been using the insecticide Sevin to control this pest, but due to lawsuits its use was phased out in 2012. Without alternative control for shrimp, tens of millions of dollars in annual crop revenue will be lost and the industry will quickly lose its economic viability in southwestern Washington.

PoultryFarmImpact: The National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center

The Environmental Protection Agency has identified agriculture as the leading contributor of pollutants to the nation’s rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs. These reports often do not separate animal agriculture from other agricultural enterprises, but they do note that pathogens, nutrients, and oxygen-depleting substances associated with manure are three of the top five pollutants. Some emerging issues related to manure management include: endocrine disruptors (hormones), pharmaceuticals (antimicrobials), and antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Adopting farm practices that minimize the environmental impact is important for food safety.

BiosolidsImpact: Biosolids and Compost

Biosolids are the solids produced during municipal wastewater treatment. Composts are made from a variety of organic materials, including both urban and agriculture sources such as yard trimmings, biosolids, storm debris, food waste or manure, and food processing residues. While these materials have traditionally been viewed as waste, they can play a valuable role as soil amendments in urban and agricultural settings. They provide nutrients and organic matter and they sequester carbon, thereby conserving resources, restoring soils, and combating climate change.

Alumni & Friends

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.

CAHNRS seeks $190 million through the Campaign for WSU. This unprecedented fundraising goal is managed through the CAHNRS Office of Alumni and Friends. If you would like to learn more about the CAHNRS’s fundraising priorities, please explore our website or meet the team.

Funding Priorities

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.

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Wine
renaissance
Organics
lentils
Pulse Crops
Mary Kay Patton
Learning & Leadership (CTLL)
WA38-RFP-1
Tree Fruit
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Grain
AMDT
AMDT

CAHNRS Alumni & Friends
PO Box 646228
Pullman, WA 99164-6228
PH: 509-335-2243
alumni.friends@wsu.edu

 



Faculty & Staff

Important Dates and Deadlines

Space Inventory Updates

-Due to the Dean’s Office December 1, 2014

Professional and Retraining Leave Guidelines

-Due to the Dean’s Office December 22, 2014

A-Z Index of Faculty and Staff Resources:

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Contact Dean’s Office:
Hulbert 421
PO Box 646242
Pullman WA 99164-6242
deans.cahnrs@wsu.edu
509-335-4561

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