DPI Diary: A Summary of the Week’s Activities at FDACS-DPI

February 7, 2013

GALS digital billboardOur Helpline operators reported an uptick in calls regarding the giant African land snail in Miami-Dade County as we began another flight in our mass-media outreach campaign. We’re using billboards, radio spots and ads on Comcast cable channels , as well as social media and personal contact, to encourage the public to watch for and report the giant snails to the Helpline, 1-888-397-1517.

headertytixOn Thursday, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and his fellow cabinet members “flipped the switch” to illuminate the midway at the 109th annual Florida State Fair. This year’s  fair theme, “Florida: 500 Years In the Making,” recognizes the statewide, Viva Florida 500 commemoration of Florida’s rich heritage and diverse cultural history since Ponce de Leon landed here in April 1513.. through Feb. 18, the fair showcases new and unique agricultural and cultural exhibits such as the new “Discovery Center,” and a traveling history exhibit hosted by FDACS. DPI’s entomologists are hosting an exhibit including spiders, bees and other critters in the Ag Hall of Fame building. ­

PrintSpeaking of the Viva Florida 500 Celebration, our blog series, “Five Hundred Years of Florida Flora Firsts: How Plants have Shaped Florida’s History” featured video of a panel discussion hosted by UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, moderated by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. This was the first of a series of events aimed at educating people about the important role agriculture played in Florida’s history and will play in its future. You can check out our blog series to date here.

We posted some other interesting scoops while trolling social media this week, among them:

  • the naming of a new moth species for the CAPS (Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey) program, Sinoe capsana.  The species name (“capsana”) was created by Sangmi Lee and Julieta Brambila to honor the early detection efforts of the Florida CAPS team, led by Dr. Leroy Whilby.
  • an ongoing “travelblogue” by DPI Entomologist Dr. Gary Steck, as he and co-workers Bruce Sutton and Erick Rodriguez hunt exotic fruit flies in the Amazon Basin of Peru, the first part of a series of blogs we’ve dubbed “DPI Around the World.”
  • the Florida Strawberry Festival. It opened Feb. 8 and runs through March 10.
  • this year’s Superbowl fans consumed enough to fill a football field, end zone to end zone, 30 feet high, equal to about 5 percent of all avocadoes that were consumed in all of 2012. (Source: shape.com). Which reminds us, one of our big challenge in 2013 is fighting laurel wilt disease to Save the Guac and make sure there are plenty of Florida avocadoes to fuel Superbowl parties next year.
  • our office tarantula, Twiggy, is with the DPI entomology team at the Florida State Fair. If you visit, look for the little gal. The office just isn’t the same without her.

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