News from the School of Plant Environmental & Soil Sciences--EXPIRED

Click here to view the entire Summer 2008 SPESS Newsletter (pdf).

From the Director
Dr. Freddie Martin

The School of Plant, Environmental, and Soil Sciences (SPESS) was created in the spring of 2007 through the merger of the departments of ‘Agronomy and Environmental Management’ and ‘Horticulture’. As with most mergers there were challenges; however, thanks to the efforts and patience of the faculty, staff, and students, the transition has been smoother than most expected. Day-to-day faculty activities associated with teaching, research, and extension by-in-large have not been affected by the merger. For instance we continue to have the Agronomy (AGRO), Environmental Management Systems (EMS), and Horticulture (HORT) rubric for classes in the respective areas. We continue to operate under the Environmental Management System and Plant and Soil Systems undergraduate curricula. While we continue to have the separate Agronomy and Horticulture graduate programs, our graduate programs committee is exploring the possibility of forming a Plant, Environmental, and Soils graduate program. Research and Extension projects and programs continued without interruption.

With the improved 2007-2008 budget and our faculty’s success at generating grant funds, we have been able to address critical personnel and equipment needs. I am very proud of the student, faculty, and staff accomplishments that are reported in this newsletter. We have excellent extension, research, and teaching programs in the School of Plant, Environmental, and Soil Sciences, and I am extremely optimistic about our future.

Romanian Agricultural Scientists Visit SPESS
In early August, the SPESS was pleased to host a delegation of seven visiting agricultural scientists from the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (USAMV) in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Members of the visiting delegation included Professor dr. Rotar Ioan – Dean of Agriculture, Conf. dr. Rusu Teodor - Vice-Dean of Agriculture, Professor dr. Drocas Ioan – Agricultural Mechanization Department, Professor dr. Vidican Roxana – Mountain Sciences Department, Professor dr. Muste Sevastita – Food Quality Control Department, Professor dr. Pacurar Ioan - Soil Science Department, and Professor dr. Gavrila Morar - Plant Technology Department.

Building on an earlier agreement between the LSU AgCenter and USAMV which resulted in a joint research project on soil temperatures in Romania, the delegation met with Dr. Freddie Martin (Director, SPESS), Dr. Kenneth Koonce (Dean, College of Agriculture) and Dr. Lakshman Velupillai (Director, LSU AgCenter International Programs Office) to discuss strengthening research ties, student and faculty exchange opportunities. The Romanian visitors toured university labs, research facilities, AgCenter field research stations, LaHouse, and went on a four-day field tour of agriculture and environmental issues in Louisiana and eastern Texas. Dr. David Weindorf (Assistant Professor of Soil Classification/Land Use), presented research at USAMV in Cluj this past July while collecting data with two LSU graduate students for the soil temperature study.

SPESS Launches New Concentration in Landscape Management
To better prepare students who are entering positions in the landscape industry, SPESS has added a new concentration in Landscape Management to our curriculum. The new concentration includes a number of new course offerings including arboriculture, installation and maintenance and landscape construction. In addition, three new plant material courses will be offered to better cover the wide variety of woody and herbaceous plant materials. Although courses have been offered in the past in these areas, the new courses will allow the faculty to go into greater depth and provide the student a higher level of understanding and hands-on experience.

The department is also working with Baton Rouge Community College to create an associate of science degree with a concentration in Landscape Management. Besides attracting new students, the department encourages industry professionals to recommend employees to take these new courses. For more information on the new curriculum and opportunities in Landscape Management, contact Dr. Don Labonte at 225-578-2158 or e-mail.

Click here to view the entire Summer 2008 SPESS Newsletter (pdf).
10/16/2008 9:16:38 PM
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