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UConn Students Earn Pesticide License 

By Steve Rackliffe

A collaborative effort between the Connecticut DEP and the UConn Turfgrass Science program was established to provide students the opportunity to take the Connecticut Pesticide Operators exam on the Storrs campus. Students taking and passing the exam will be issued a Connecticut Operators license. Graduating students, and students preparing for field internships that have obtained their operators certification will be qualified to apply pesticides under the direction of a licensed supervisor. The Operators Certification focuses on pesticide safety, reading pesticide labels, and Connecticut pesticide law. UConn graduates holding a pesticide operators license will be much more competitive in the job market. Licensed interns would be able to apply pesticides on their internships. The collaborative effort between DEP and the University of Connecticut Turfgrass Science Program benefits both the student and the field supervisor. It is our goal to have UConn graduates and interns enter the workforce with the education and credentials that will allow them to be competitive and successful.
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UConn Turfgrass Research Featured on TurfNetTV 

The University of Connecticut's Turfgrass Science Program is featured this month on TurfNetTV. Filmed in February, TurfNetTV visited UConn's Turfgrass Research Facility and discussed current nozzle research with John Kaminski, Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Pathology.

Highlights of the interview include an overview of the Turfgrass and Soil Science Program initiated by Dr. Karl Guillard back in 1998 and its rapid growth in recent years. Dr. Kaminski discusses the growth of the University's Turf Program over the last few years incuding the hiring of three new faculty members, the construction of a new Turfgrass Resource Unit, and the expansion of field and research plots at the Plant Science Research and Education Facility.

Results of an ongoing study conducted in a collaborative research effort with Dr. Michael Fidanza, Associate Professor of Horticulture at Penn State Berks and Dr. Kaminski are also featured. Ongoing research has focused on the proper selection of nozzle types in an effort to improve fungicide efficacy for controlling dollar spot of golf courses. Dollar spot, a foliar disease caused by the pathogen Sclerotinia homoeocarpa, is one of the most common and chronic diseases found on golf courses in the United States. Results from this ongoing study found that disease suppression can be improved with proper nozzle selection. Although more research is needed, potential benefits include a reduction the overall quanitity of pesticides used to suppress dollar spot and a reduction in application interval.

It is clearly an exciting time of growth and expansion in Storrs. To find out more about the UConn Turfgrass and Soil Science Program, please visit our www.turf.uconn.edu.

Click here to view the video.
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Turf Bowl A Success For UConn 

The University of Connecticut's Turfgrass Science Program was well represented at the 13th Annual GCSAA Turf Bowl in Anaheim, CA. UConn's top team finished in 14th place out of the 81 total teams entered. The top team was made up of Turf Club members Chris Orlich, Marc Dubour, Brian Tencza, and Nate Miller. A second, two-man team of David McIntyre and David Golembeski also had a strong showing in the competition. In addition to the undergraduates, graduate student Alex Putman (advised by Assistant Professor John Kaminski) took the top spot among all graduate students.

Student travel to Anaheim was supported by the Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and UConn's Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center. This experience would not be possible without their generous contributions.
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Turf Club Heading to Anaheim 

By Nate Miller

The 2007 GCSAA Education Conference and Golf Industry Show in Anaheim, CA is rapidly approaching and Turf Club is gearing up to make the trip out to the west coast. This yearly conference provides an invaluable opportunity to learn more about the industry and network with the numerous companies and individuals that attend. Members going this year include Chris Orlich, Marc Dubour, Brian Tencza, Nate Miller, David McIntyre, Alex Putman, and David Golembeski, who will be recognized for receiving a GCSAA Scholarship. These members received financial support from the Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and UConn's Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center. This experience would not be possible without their generous contributions.

Members will be representing the Turf Club in the 13th Annual Collegiate Turf Bowl. Preparation for the competition began last semester, and the club is hoping for a strong showing this year. Representing the club in another facet is Brian Tencza, who will be sitting in on this years Student Advisory Board. Also, attendees will be working at the UConn Turfgrass Science Program booth during the trade show. The conference will be a very beneficial and rewarding experience for all, and hopefully for UConn's Turfgrass Science Program as a whole.
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Syngenta Endows Fund for Turfgrass Program 

by Jennifer Huber

The turfgrass program at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) has received welcome support from Syngenta Professional Products of Greensboro, North Carolina. The Syngenta UConn Turfgrass Pathology Fund was established with a $25,000 endowment in August. Syngenta Professional Products is a subsidiary of Syngenta, a leading global agribusiness headquartered in Switzerland that develops and markets sustainable agriculture products and technology.

The Syngenta UConn Turfgrass Pathology Fund supports education, extension and research activities at the Department of Plant Science and the UConn Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center. The diagnostic center provides service to commercial clients throughout the Northeast. It’s an essential resource for managers of athletic fields, high-maintenance commercial land and golf courses. Assistant Professor John Kaminski was recruited in 2005 to create the turfgrass pathology program and lead research into turfgrass diseases, fungicide resistance and disease management.

“[John Kaminski] is very energetic. He’s taken an active step to fill the need in the Northeast,” says Dave Ross, Technical Manager, Lawn and Garden at Syngenta Professional Products.

“When there are relatively new researchers in our field, we want to help them to be successful,” Ross adds. “We saw that he’s doing very good work, and we wanted to help his research program and the University.”

UConn is quickly becoming a leader in turfgrass education, research and development. Faculty and graduate students are applying discoveries made through research in the lab to develop innovative solutions and provide them to clients through the diagnostic center. Most significantly, cutting-edge research and development at UConn is leading to a reduction in the use of pesticides, says Kaminski.

“It really benefits everyone,” says Kaminski. “What we’re trying to do is marry the two programs, the research and the diagnostic services, to really benefit the end users.”

Kaminski notes that the Syngenta UConn Turfgrass Pathology Fund provides a needed foundation on which to build support in order to grow UConn’s program.

“The goal is to build up the endowment to a level that will continue to provide support to the turfgrass pathology program at UConn,” says Kaminski. “I’m looking at longevity. When I retire, the next person will hopefully have a nest egg to fund graduate and research assistantships.”

Kaminski also emphasizes that strong private support from individuals and industry leaders like Syngenta will enable UConn to raise the profile of the turfgrass program. “It’s really to set the stage to build the program to where we want it to be, and that’s a nationally recognized research and education program,” he says.


Standing atop a turfgrass plot at UConn, Assistant Professor John Kaminski (center) accepts a $25,000 check from Syngenta Professional Products for the Syngenta UConn Turfgrass Pathology Fund on October 18. From left: John K. Martin, president of the UConn Foundation, Kirklyn M. Kerr, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mary Musgrave, head of the Department of Plant Science, Kaminski, and Michael Agnew, Renee Keese, Dave Ross, and Robert Goglia of Syngenta Professional Products.

Copyright 2006 by The University of Connecticut Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.

www.foundation.uconn.edu
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