Grasshopper management team earns UW Extension Creative Excellence Award

Five men with suits and smiles; two of them hold plaques
UW Extension associate director Kelly Crane, UW Extension specialist Scott Schell, professor Alexandre Latchininsky, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources dean Frank Galey and associate dean and director of UW Extension Glen Whipple

Team members who develop innovative grasshopper control methods for public use have received the University of Wyoming Extension Creative Excellence Award.

Members of the UW Extension Entomology Grasshopper Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Team, Alexandre Latchininsky, Scott Schell, John Connett, Douglas Smith, Cindy Legg and Lee Noel, have applied entomological research to forecasting and control.

UW entomologists began to explore efficient, economical and less hazardous methods for grasshopper control in the 1990s under the leadership of professor Jeff Lockwood. Now their integrated pest management methods have been adopted in 17 Western states and in countries from Mexico and Argentina to Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Russia and Australia, said UW Extension associate director Kelly Crane, who presented the award in Laramie in December.

The team issued an early warning in 2010 for a significant grasshopper outbreak in Wyoming. They established a communication strategy and delivered training and information to more than 900 landowners and various public agencies through workshops and public meetings.

State-level grasshopper response in Wyoming was the largest in the U.S., and according to USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Plant Protection and Quarantine program, methods developed by the team resulted in protection of nearly six million acres. Savings to the state were estimated to be $11.6 million.

In a letter of recommendation professor Furkat Gapparov of the Uzbek Institute of Plant Protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources stated, “In order to protect rangeland and crops from severe losses to locusts and grasshoppers, most countries are using tons of toxic pesticides applied to millions of hectares. This is costly, often inefficient and has enormous negative impact on human health and the environment.

“For two decades, Dr. Latchininsky’s team has provided worldwide leadership developing creative, efficient, economically viable and environmentally acceptable strategies for locust and grasshopper management,” he said.

For more information, contact Latchininsky at 307-766-2298 or latchini@uwyo.edu.

UW team studies how ranch economics affected by sage-grouse conservation efforts

John Tanaka, associate director of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station

How greater sage-grouse conservation practices have affected ranch economics across six states is being studied by a University of Wyoming research team.

The group in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management will draw input from local ranchers across Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, said John Tanaka, professor and associate director of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station.

The team will develop cow-calf ranch enterprise budgets for use in models to estimate the economic impacts of different conservation practices on ranches, said Holly Kirkpatrick, one of the research assistants.

Partnerships between federal and state agencies and private landowners have reduced threats to greater sage-grouse in 90 percent of the species’ breeding habitat, said Tanaka. He said the practices have changed the way livestock are grazed on millions of acres of land across the western United States, especially on public lands.

“Ranchers manage extensive areas of those lands and are critical to help keep the bird from being listed as threatened or endangered in the future,” said Tanaka. “The project will assess how ranchers and the communities in which they operate have been affected.”

Continue reading UW team studies how ranch economics affected by sage-grouse conservation efforts

WAES friends, staff honored with awards, recognition

Award winners holding oversized "Hess buck dollars" and plaques stand on either side of Kathleen Bertoncelj, for whom the award is named. On the end is Bret Hess. All stand against a black background.
Rochelle Koltiska (left) and Joanne Newcomb (right) received the Kathleen Bertoncelj AES Staff Award. Bertoncelj (center), whom the award honors, presented the award with Bret Hess, Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station director.

Shiny belt buckles specially designed for friends of Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station (WAES) and a first-time award lit up the ballroom at the University of Wyoming Conference Center in Laramie February 15.

UW President Laurie Nichols and Pepper Jo Six, UW Foundation major gift officer, helped Bret Hess, associate dean of research in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and WAES director, honor two people he said “went well beyond the call of duty to help us celebrate our 125th anniversary.”

Friends of AES Recognized

Leesa Zalesky and David Kruger were each presented a “Friend of AES” belt buckle.

Zalesky helped care for Pistol and Pete, the WAES Haflinger draft horses that made appearances throughout the state in 2016, often pulling the college’s sheep wagon refurbished for the 125th celebration. She launched the pair into celebrity by creating their Facebook page, a factsheet, and traveling banner. Hess credits her for helping Pistol and Pete become “icons and exceptional ambassadors for WAES.”

Kruger documented WAES history in the book 125 Years of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station. He viewed the project as part of his responsibilities as UW library liaison with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and attended WAES field days and other events to sign the book and share WAES history. Hess acknowledged Kruger as one of WAES’s “best ambassadors.”

Kathleen Bertoncelj AES Staff Awards Presented

Friends and supporters of a former WAES staff associate, led by former WAES director Steve Miller, made gifts to establish the Kathleen Bertoncelj WAES Staff Award. The inaugural award was presented to Rochelle Koltiska, Sheridan Research and Extension Center (ShREC) office associate, and Joanne Newcomb, administrative associate for WAES. Bertoncelj is a former senior office associate in the WAES. She worked at UW for 38 years, the last 16 in the WAES.

Koltiska embodies the spirit of the award by providing outstanding service and commitment to the improvement of WAES and its endeavors, said Hess. He noted when she arrived she was tasked with building an efficiently running office in the midst of great transitions, which included multiple station directors and a change in structure of the ShREC.

She has adapted procedures to meet the center’s expansion and has met the challenges of her own expanding roles, said Hess.

“Our team has complete confidence in her ability to ensure every detail is attended to for any of our public events, as this is an area where she really shines,” he said. He also acknowledged her contributions are helping grow the ShREC internship program.

Newcomb was praised for her professionalism and skill for anticipating needs. Newcomb ensures major programs and initiatives run smoothly and are efficient, effective, and highly professional, said Hess. He called her “the ultimate planner and organizer” and noted her ability to manage details.

“Anybody who has had the pleasure of working with Joanne can rest assured every possible scenario has been thoroughly explored and adjustments made before any possible situation is encountered,” said Hess.

He concluded, “When someone always knows your name and makes you feel as though you are friends, even when she works with hundreds of people, you know she is good at what she does.”

Staff Years of Service, Careers Recognized  

5 years with WAES: Rochelle Koltiska, Joanne Newcomb.

10 years with WAES: Kelly Greenwald, administrative associate at the James C. Hageman Sustainable Research and Extension Center (SAREC); Larry Miller, assistant farm manager at SAREC; Keith Schaefer, assistant farm manager at the Powell Research and Extension Center; and Travis Smith, assistant farm manager at the Laramie Research and Extension Center (LREC).

20 years with WAES: Mike Moore, manager, Wyoming Seed Certification Service.

WAES employees who retired in 2017 are Denny Hall, manager, Wyoming Seed Laboratory; Dale Hill, assistant farm manager, LREC; and David Perry, grants coordinator, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.