Honey bee buzzing over zinnia
Honey bee buzzing over zinnia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis Entomology and Nematology Department Share Spotlight at ACE Conference

Ian Grettenberger
Extension entomologist Ian Grettenberger, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is part of Doralicia Garay's award-winning project on "Improving Lives in California."

The Department of Entomology and Nematology (ENT) shared some of the spotlight at the recent conference of the international Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), a professional organization that supports and showcases science communication in agriculture, natural resources, and life and human sciences.

Kathy Keatley Garvey, ENT communications specialist who also writes a daily Bug Squad blog on the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) site,  won the gold award for "best feature photo" for her image of a honey bee buzzing over a zinnia. 

Extension entomologist Ian Grettenberger, assistant professor of Cooperative Extension, and a member of the ENT faculty, was among those featured in the award-winning project of  social media strategist Doralicia Garay the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), who won a bronze award (third place)  for her entry, "Improving Lives in California' campaign," in the category, social media organic campaign. Her project showcased UC ANR research and those who deliver it by (1) providing compelling content, and (2) featuring UC Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists. The campaign targets Californians interested in agriculture, pests, environment, wildfire, water, youth development, and nutrition--with paid campaigns and organic posts on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn.

"The campaign's strategic emphasis on showcasing employees within the narrative of research efforts enhances the UC ANR brand identity and positions the organization as a collaborative pioneer in innovation," Garay  wrote. "This comprehensive approach leverages the power of social media to extend reach, foster engagement, and effectively cater to our online community."

Ian Grettenberger. Ian Grettenberger's areas of expertise include field and vegetable crops; insects, mites and other arthropods affecting plants; biological control of pests affecting plants, and beneficial insects. "My work focuses on pests of field and vegetable crops in California and the dynamic interactions that occur as we seek to manage them," he writes on his website. "This work includes research on plant-pest interactions, integrated pest management (IPM), pesticide applications, insect ecology, biological control and invasive species."

Ricardo Vela, manager of UC ANR News and Information Outreach in Spanish (NOS), won the ACE 2024 Rising Star Award, an annual award that "honors communicators, instructors and researchers who demonstrate exceptional leadership and technical skills in their communication field, to their institution, and service to ACE."

Other UC ANR communicators honored were:

  • A trio from UC ANR Strategic Communications--Michael Hsu, senior public information representative; Ethan Ireland, senior videographer; and Evett Kilmartin, photographer--teamed to win a silver award for their video, “Farm-to-Corrections Project." 
Ricardo Vela
Ricardo Vela

Rising Star Award. Ricardo Vela is a 35-year, two-time Emmy-winning broadcast journalism professional, as noted on the ACE site. As program manager of NOS, he supervises a Spanish-language expert team that disseminates news and research about agriculture, nutrition, and natural resources to Spanish-speaking communities across California.  Vela is “an advocate for Latino and other ethnic groups, promoting their contributions to society and creating for the first time, events for the UC ANR community to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and Cesar Chavez Day.”

Nutrition Project. The Hsu-Ireland-Kilmartin team produced a video featuring UC ANR's Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) and its unique partnership with Impact JusticeChangeLab Solutions, Spork, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDRC). Last July they launched the "Farm-to-Corrections Harvest of the Month" project, which brings fresh, specialty produce into California prisons “to improve the diets of the residents, as well as improve their overall health and well-being.”   Impact Justice is a prison reform organization, ChangeLab Solutions is a health equity nonprofit, and Spork is a regional food hub

The video, Hsu said, aims to raise awareness and build support for the project. He cited its many wins:

  • Opens major untapped market for California growers and producers (especially small farmers)
  • Demonstrates a way for CDCR to meet requirements for in-state sourcing of food
  • Provides healthier food for residents of the correctional facilities, while introducing new produce and nutrition education opportunities that can help them live better lives while they are in prison and after they return to their communities.

Hsu conducted the interviews and wrote the script; Ireland shot and edited the video; and Kilmartin contributed photos. Some images were taken in the California Department of Corrections, California State Prison, Solano (Vacaville). (See the news story, "Farm-to-Corrections' Project Provides Fresh Produce to People in Prison, Boosts California Growers.") 

Celebrating the Honey Bee. Kathy Keatley Garvey titled her submission, "Celebrating the Honey Bee," entered in the photo feature category ("one image that effectively tells a story").

"The purpose of this photo was to celebrate the honey bee by capturing an image of a pollen-packing worker bee in flight," wrote Garvey. Her gear: a Nikon D500 with a 105mm lens. Settings: 1/4000 of a second (to freeze the action), ISO 1000, and f-stop 6.3. 

This marked her 17th ACE gold award since 2008 (she finally tallied them when someone asked "How many golds have you won?") Her gold awards encompass news writing, feature stories, photography and blogs. She also won the 2011 Overall Outstanding Professional Skill Award for Writing, and the Outstanding Professional Skill Award for Photography in both 2012 and 2013. 

A communication specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology since 2007 and a longtime  newspaper editor, Garvey began writing the nightly (Monday through Friday) Bug Squad blog on August 6, 2008. As of July 1, 2024, her posts total 4150. Feedspot ranks it the No. 4 "bug blog" in the world.

Primary Category

Secondary Categories