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Lucky Horse Shoes

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Equine Studies major Karlee Burmaster ‘14

With less than a month into the season, it’s been a great spring for the equestrian teams at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Last weekend, Equine Studies major in UNH’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) Karlee Burmaster ’16 won the Zone 1 Championship in Advanced Walk, Trot, Canter equitation. As a member of UNH’s Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) hunt seat equitation team, coached by Christina Keim, Burmaster will now advance to the IHSA Nationals, held in Harrisburg, PA, on May 1st through 4th.

This weekend UNH students Jocelyn Kraenzle ‘14 and Julia Grella ’15, equestrians with the University’s Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) team coached by Michelle McGillicuddy, will travel to Averett University in Danville, VA, to compete in the IDA National Championships.

Good luck, athletes!

Designing a Future

The students in Professor of Horticultural Technology Rene Gingras’s Flower Show Design and Construction class plan and execute an exhibit at the Macfarlane Greenhouse Open House each year. The class takes place in the fall and spring semesters at the Thompson School of Applied Science during which students conceptualize their long-term strategies for the final display. “They come up with a concept, decide on the plants they’ll use, overwinter them, and force them to grow in the spring,” says Gingras. “A week before the show, it’s crazy.”

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Students Mike Boyden, Josh Jones, and Mitch Andrea all share an entrepreneurial spirit in common. Boyden, a dual major in Horticultural Technology and Applied Business Management at the Thompson School, plans to eventually carry on his family’s Pelham-based business, Boyden’s Landscaping. Through the two-semester Flower Show Design and Construction course, Boyden has learned to be creative and flexible in response to unexpected change. “Even if you have a plan, you have to be able to think on the spot,” says Boyden.

Like Boyden, Josh Jones is also a Horticultural Technology and Applied Business Management major. When not in class, he works as a landscaping foreman contractor in Massachusetts and has plans to start his own company after graduation. Boyden and Jones, along with fellow Horticultural Technology major Mitch Andrea, enjoyed the challenges and results of developing the display at the Macfarlane Greenhouse Open House. Andrea, who has lined up a job with the Northeastern University grounds crew and is considering starting his own landscaping business in the future, says the Open House is a great venue in which to showcase students’ hands-on education in horticulture.

The trio was part of a larger team that created the display, which included a footpath around a garden of annuals, a fountain, walls of flowers, stone work, and a set of child-sized table and chairs that were hand hewn by students in the Thompson School’s Forestry program.

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For more information about the Horticultural Technology, Applied Business Management, and Forestry programs at the Thompson School of Applied Science at UNH, please see http://thompsonschool.unh.edu.

Little Royal, Big Dreams

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With electric clippers in hand, Ashley Woods ’16 buzzes the winter coat from Tacoma—the eight-month old Holstein calf she’s been caring for at the Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center. An Animal Science major in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture at the University of New Hampshire, Woods is preparing Tacoma for the Little Royal Livestock Show this weekend.

Woods runs her hand over Tacoma’s clipped hair, which feels like velvet, to check for uniformity. No stranger to handling cows, Woods grew up in West Berkshire, VT, helping her grandparents with the family farm. When she was only eight-years-old, Woods purchased her own calf, and raised it to breed. She kept on breeding until she had a herd of six milking cows.

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Even though tomorrow will be Woods’ first time showing a calf in the Little Royal Livestock Show, she feels prepared through her childhood experience showing cows with the 4-H program. Tacoma’s newly cropped coat gleams in the sunshine as Woods pats her down admiringly. “I’d like to own my own dairy farm,” she says, “and produce cheese and ice cream.”

Wood’s friend, Jacqueline Keef ‘17, also showed cows through the 4-H program. The Massachusetts-native is training her ten-month-old Holstein calf, Topper, to be lead by a halter. This is the first time Topper’s worn the leather strapping and she tries to throw it off, sidestepping around Keef. But Keef is unruffled and calms the calf, effectively reassuring her with a firm grasp on the leather and a hand on her withers. A Dairy Management major at the Thompson School within the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, Keef has been enjoying the hands-on experiences in the Dairy Selection course. “Drew Conroy has been a great teacher and mentor through this process,” she says of the Professor of Applied Animal Science at the Thompson School.

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Each spring, students in the two- and four-year Animal Science programs at the University of New Hampshire compete in the Little Royal Livestock Show. Every competitor is assigned to a division based on his or her previous experience, and works with his or her own calf for several months before the event to grow a healthy and beautiful animal ready for show. The Little Royal Livestock Show, held at the University’s equine facility, is free and open to the public. The dairy event takes place in the afternoon, following the equine segment.

- Victoria Forester Courtland

Spread the Sunshine

Winter blues got you down? Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences Chuck Walker knows all about it. Every fall, he starts wearing Hawaiian shirts to discourage snow, he says.

Does it work? Well, maybe not for the forecast, but his students sure love it. “They always mention it in the course evaluations,” says Walker. “It definitely cheers them up.”

Walker began donning the Aloha state garb around 15 years ago. “Now I have 50 Hawaiian shirts,” he says about his signature style, which he adds, “Just seemed like a good thing to do.”

Teaching is a lot of fun for Walker, and he likes his students to feel comfortable in class. “I want to immerse them in a new way of looking at the world,” he says. And whether they are in the classroom or in the lab this winter, their outlook is guaranteed to be sunny.

At Home with Science

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At just 14-years-old, Arusha Anupindi was one of the youngest students to take part in the University of New Hampshire’s Project SMART program this past July. An acronym for Science and Mathematics Achievement through Research Training, Project SMART is a four-week summer intensive designed to challenge high school students with both an aptitude and passion for the STEM fields.

Anupindi, a sophomore at the Academy for Science and Design in Nashua, NH, had never been away from home before and experienced her first taste of college life at the Hubbard dormitory on the University’s campus. “It was amazing. I met a lot of people from different cultures all over the world,” said Anupindi. “We went stargazing, played games, even took a trip to the New England Bio Labs.”

At the beginning of the program, Anupindi’s mother, Rama, said, “I’m hoping Arusha will learn as much as she can so her dreams can be fulfilled.” And now, after a month of intensive study, lectures, field trips, research, and networking with like-minded students from around the globe, Anupindi is even more determined to meet her goals of developing a career in medical research. “I am focused on current cancer treatments and how they can be improved,” said Anupindi.

Anupindi’s father, Sharma, knew that she’d enjoy the immersion experience in bio- and nanotechnology research, but wasn’t sure how she’d feel about being away from home for so long. “She’s gained a lot of confidence through this experience,” he said after watching his daughter explain her research on gene therapy, radiation, and chemotherapy to the participants that gathered at the Project SMART poster session held in Morse Hall on the last day of the program. 

- Victoria Forester Courtland

"Pray. Tom Pray."

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This mission-oriented COLSA alumnus is the James Bond of pest control. As the owner of Ecotech Pest Control, Pray’s nemeses are destructive bugs. He has a truck full of bait, traps, and foggers, and he wields a pressure hose nozzle just like a .38 colt Detective Special.

In spite of his life’s work knocking off the bad guys, Pray ‘91 – who majored in entomology at UNH – genuinely likes insects of all kinds. “I use ecologically friendly products as often as possible,” says Pray who employs the techniques of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) he learned as a student with Professor Emeritus Garrett Crow. “At that time, IPM was used mostly in crops,” says Pray, “not with structural pest control for home owners.”

Whether he’s uncovering a colony of carpenter ants hollowing out a structural beam or flushing a nest of yellow jacket wasps from under the eaves in an attic, Pray enjoys the daily surprises and challenges in a career that helps people protect their homes and themselves. “Pest control is a cornerstone of our society,” says Pray. “From the moment a seed is planted to when a meal is placed on the table, pest control is needed all along the way to protect that food source.”

- Victoria Forester Courtland

The Roots of Good Health

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Growing up in Islip, NY, Julia Credendino ‘14 had never been in a high tunnel before. “It’s so warm in here, you can wear your tee shirt in the middle of winter,” she says, looking out over rows of beet tops and lettuces. Even though the ground outside is covered by snow, inside the twin greenhouse-like structures it’s an ideal environment for plant growth.

As a nutrition major, Credendino benefits from being able to take classes in the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS) program where she’s learning to cultivate vegetables through all the phases of crop planning, growing, harvesting, and marketing. “I’ll be counseling people in nutrition,” says Credendino who also wants to have a large garden some day. “I plan to be involved in farmer’s markets, and to teach cooking classes and workshops on canning.”

Not only is Credendino honing the skills she needs to grow food for herself and others, she’s gaining a clear understanding of why it’s best to undertake certain practices. On this winter’s day, she’s learning about the use of drip lines with solanaceous crops, such as tomatoes and peppers, which lowers disease pressure by keeping the plants’ leaves dry during wet, humid summers. Credendino listens closely to SAFS Lecturer Andrew Ogden and Horticultural Production Coordinator Jake Uretsky as they team up in the high tunnels to provide students with a hands-on, dirt-beneath-the-nails experience in how to grow food. “They’re giving me the tools I need to do this on my own,” says Credendino.

- Victoria Forester Courtland

Harnessing Academia

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Jackie Marinoff always liked horses but never had much experience beyond watching them ferry tourists in carriages throughout Central Park in her native New York City. Plus, her mother was always afraid of them. Then when she was twelve, Marinoff’s parents moved the family to New Hampshire and opened a world of new possibilities for her.

Marinoff transferred into the University of New Hampshire after beginning her education in biology at another institution and found her true home with horses as an Equine Science major. And, with no previous experience, Marinoff competes as a member of the highly accomplished Intercollegiate Hunter Seat Association team at UNH, one of the top sixteen in the nation. “Even my mom has become comfortable with horses,” says Marinoff. “She’ll come to my shows and give my horse a pat.”

With a 4.0 GPA, Marinoff is also one of the top students in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture at UNH. Along with the rest of the seniors in her Capstone class, Marinoff recently gave a demonstration to visiting high school students interested in an equine education. “Participating in the Equine Educational Day has been a way for me to give back all the knowledge I’ve gained,” says Marinoff who spoke to the students about her senior thesis research - conducted with equine heart rate monitors - on how the level of a horse’s stress may fluctuate while it’s ridden by equestrians with different levels of proficiency.

- Victoria Forester Courtland

Growing Up

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Sophie Trusty ’15 wants kids to learn about healthy eating from the ground up. As a teaching assistant in the extensive vegetable garden at the Child Study and Development Center at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), Trusty helps little hands sow the seeds that grow into some of their snack and lunch foods at harvest time.

“I’m really interested in sustainable agriculture education with children,” says Trusty, a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS) major in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) at UNH. The skills Trusty has been developing, by growing food in high tunnels throughout the seasons during her Field Experience Food Production classes, are directly translatable to her work with the pre-school children.

Originally from Connecticut, Trusty’s love of agriculture developed early and, by the time she enrolled in a regional agroscience high school program, her path was clear. Today, Trusty is immersed in all the different components of the recently accredited SAFS degree from planning the crops to the retail marketing of fresh produce. “I really enjoy being part of a new project,” says Trusty who thrives with the hands-on experience in the high tunnels as well as the opportunity to bring food awareness to new generations.

- Victoria Forester Courtland

Shine On

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Maggie Lynch ‘13 milks a cow at the Fairchild Dairy.

The Dairy Farmers of America’s recent Gold Quality award for the two research and teaching dairies at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) reflects the students’ dedication to best practices for farm safety and sanitation. “Hitting top quality criteria for milk means we have low somatic cell count, bacteria count, and preincubation count,” says Jon Whitehouse, manager of the Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center. “It indicates the cleanliness of our milking operation as well as the health of the cows.”

Both the Fairchild and Organic Dairies are New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station (NHAES) facilities within the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) at UNH. Students from across the University become involved with the dairies, the majority of whom are majoring in programs at COLSA and the Thompson School. “We have up to twenty different student milkers in a given year,” says Whitehouse. “Receiving the gold quality milk award shows that our students take their training and instruction seriously. They care about the excellent sanitation necessary to produce our clean, award-winning milk that commands a high premium on the market.”

The same is true of the Organic Dairy Research Farm, where students see the results of their work in the logbook that displays cell and bacteria counts each week. “It gives them an investment in the farm and an investment in the milk we’re producing,” says Emily Pavlidis, former Interim Manager of the dairy, who began including Organic Valley’s weekly analysis of the UNH Organic Dairy’s milk in the logbook to show students just how much their attention to detail matters when washing the cows, cleaning equipment with water at the proper temperature, and checking udder health. “When a student starts to strip out a cow, if they see little flakes that means the cow might be coming down with mastitis and that the milk can’t go in the tank or our counts will go up,” says Pavlidis. “We need to keep on top of a lot of things all the time.”

Newly hired manager of the Organic Dairy, Nicole Guindon ‘11 ‘13G, will continue with Pavlidis’ method to keep students motivated and invested. “It’s a great idea,” says Guindon. “The students do a lot of the milking here, and are helping the University to set the bar for some of the highest quality milk in the region.”

- Victoria Forester Courtland