Kids get hooked on science at UF/IFAS Gulf Coast REC

To the naked eye, a spider mite isn’t much to look at, but when a group of second graders huddles around one of Hugh Smith’s microscopes, they see more than just a bug. “They see a tiny monster all blown up,” said Smith, assistant professor of entomology at the University of Florida Institute of Agricultural Sciences. “They’re fascinated — some think it’s icky or scary, others think it’s cool and beautiful. I’m really  More»

Videos: Mosquito control in home landscapes

Want to know more about how you can control mosquitoes in your own back yard? Check out these recordings of a recent educational program, "Mosquitos and Zika Virus Class for Gardeners and Private Residences." This event was a collaboration of  UF/IFAS Extension St. Johns County, UF/IFAS Florida Medical Entomology Lab, the Florida Department of Health and the Anastasia Mosquito Control District. The presentations took place in St. Johns  More»

Five tips for keeping your beach clean this summer

Maia McGuire was leading middle-schoolers on a local beach clean-up when she noticed a cluster of deflated balloons on the sand. It’s not unusual to find balloons on the beach, McGuire said, but these were different: Each balloon was printed with the name of a nursing home in Texas. “Those balloons were probably the weirdest thing I’ve found on one of our beaches,” McGuire said. However, this discovery made it clear that, while beach  More»

Zika Challenge

Jim Davis is studying hard for his public health pest control license exam. In the past, getting this license wouldn’t be a usual part of his job. But with the recent public concern about the mosquito-borne Zika virus, expertise in mosquito control could soon be the norm for many University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension faculty like Davis. Davis and several others have already signed up for the UF/IFAS  More»

In UF/IFAS Extension Florida 4-H, leadership starts at a young age

Nine-year-old Rose Ducanis did not want to go to her first 4-H club meeting. “My mom pretty much had to drag me there,” Ducanis said. “I didn’t want to go because I just had no idea what to expect.” However, during that first meeting, she realized that UF/IFAS Extension Florida 4-H wasn’t just a bunch of kids listening to adults and eating snacks — it was a chance for her to find her voice as a leader. “As I got more involved  More»

Science teachers to explore what makes plants sick, healthy

The work of a plant pathologist, or plant doctor, is much like that of a regular doctor—you have sick patients who need treatment, said Monica Elliott, professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, who has organized a free plant pathology workshop for middle and high school teachers. However, there is one crucial difference between curing plants and curing people that should put the  More»