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November 2011
Meet Our New Dean
The Latest on Bioenergy
"Geezer Gleaners" Get Food to the Needy
Meet an Alum: Olaf Larson
Meet a Student: Michael Crossley
Turkey Sale, Cheese Fest, Cranberry Talk and More

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Meet Our New Dean
Kathryn VandenBosch
Kathryn VandenBosch begins serving as CALS
dean on March 1
Kathryn VandenBosch, a professor of plant biology at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, has been selected as the new dean of CALS.

"She brings a wealth of experience, accomplishments, and leadership acquired at public land grant institutions not dissimilar from Wisconsin," says UW-Madison Provost Paul M. DeLuca Jr. "Her very articulate and insightful approach will be most effective in the diverse components of CALS and Wisconsin's agricultural community."

VandenBosch has headed the plant biology department at the University of Minnesota since 2001, with a brief hiatus in 2006 to serve as interim dean of the newly formed College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. She also is a member and former chair of the executive committees of both the Faculty Senate and the University Senate.

VandenBosch assumes her new role on March 1. Read more about her here.
Grow Magazine Offers the Latest on Bioenergy
Grow bioenergy cover

Bioenergy research, says Interim Dean Bill Tracy, is "likely to benefit farmers, businesses and the overall economy in the entire state and region." What have we learned at CALS and where are we going? The fall issue of Grow magazine focuses on bioenergy, including:

* Sustainable by Design, a look at how to get biomass from the land while preserving living communities;

* Where Are We Now?, a guided tour of the "research pipeline" at the CALS-led Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC);

* Beyond the Gas Tank, a look at new uses of biomass; and

* From Field to Fuel, an illustrated summary of GLBRC research highlights.
"Geezer Gleaners" Get Food to the Needy
Geezer Gleaners
Harvesting at the West Madison research station: Recent grad Mike Muehlbauer BS'11 (left) and "geezer" Tom Parslow
Although the organic carrots and squash are fat and flavorful, they're just byproducts on Erin Silva's plots at CALS' West Madison Agricultural Research Station. She plants them so that she can harvest data. But it doesn't all go to waste.

A group of retirees from CALS and UW-Extension collect the fresh produce and deliver it to area food relief agencies. "We call ourselves

the Geezer Gleaners," says Dan Johnson, who until several years ago was research manager for the CALS sweet corn breeding and genetics program. Fellow gleaners include Emmett Schulte, professor emeritus of soil science, and Tom Parslow, who helped lead UW-Extension's agriculture and natural resources program.  


The vegetables and fruit get distributed through Community Action Coalition, Second Harvest, the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry and similar programs. Read more here


Meet an Alum: Olaf Larson
Olaf Larson
Author Olaf Larson PhD'41, age 101, attributes his longevity to organic
food, good genes--and good luck
Photo courtesy Orlando Sentinel
Olaf Larson PhD'41, age 101, wrote his latest book for his children and grandchildren, not thinking it would necessarily appeal to a larger audience. Larson already had six scholarly works to his name published throughout his career as a rural sociology professor at Cornell University.

But the University of Wisconsin Press begged to differ and earlier this year published When Horses Pulled the Plow: Life of a Wisconsin Farm Boy, 1910 to 1929 with a foreword by Jerry Apps MS'57. Larson was born and raised on a tobacco farm in Edgerton, and his memoir is full of wry stories and historical details about growing up in that time and place.

Although Larson spent the bulk of his career in New York and now lives in Florida, he has never forgotten his Wisconsin roots. All royalties from the book go to the Olaf L. Larson Wisconsin Rural Youth Scholarship Fund at CALS in support of higher education for rural youth.

Click here to read a profile of Larson that appeared in the Orlando Sentinel and here to download a podcast of Larson's recent appearance on Wisconsin Public Radio's Larry Meiller show.

Meet a Student: Michael Crossley  

Michael Crossley

Michael Crossley remembers the experience that sealed the deal for his career choice. A local farmer's spinach crops were under attack from a centipede that feeds on plant roots. Crossley--although then "only" a sophomore--was tapped to help via an independent research project under the mentorship of CALS entomology professor Eileen Cullen.


"I spent a semester visiting the farm's hoop houses and doing lab experiments," says Crossley, who in his spare time plays flute in an Irish folk band. "I came up with a simple and novel approach--heating the infested beds with solar radiation. The essentially zero-cost strategy was implemented with great success and, two years later, the farmer told me there's still no infestation."


His story is a great example of how undergraduate research at CALS--which offers more such opportunities than any other college on campus--helps students identify career paths. Read more in the latest issue of Grow.


  Turkey Sale, Cheese Fest, Cranberry Talk and More

turkey  CALS-related events this month include:

* The annual Thanksgiving Turkey and Duck Sale benefiting the Poultry Science Club. Place your order by November 8; orders filled on a first come, first served basis.

* The Wisconsin Cheese Originals' Annual Festival November 4-5 at Monona Terrace features Dean Sommer of CALS' Center for Dairy Research teaching "Cheese Making 101," noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

* Join emeritus professor of horticulture Brent McCown for a talk about cranberries at Wednesday Nite @ the Lab, November 16, 7 p.m. at the Genetics/Biotech Center, 425 Henry Mall. The presentation is free, with free parking in Lot 20. The talk also is available through live online streaming video.

* A free screening and panel discussion of The Greenhorns, a documentary about the lives of young farmers. The screening takes place Saturday, November 12, 1:30 p.m. at the Marquee Theater in Union South. RSVP here.

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