Perspectives Online

A variety of endeavors

In February, Dean Johnny Wynne and Dr. Roger McCraw (center), head of the CALS Department of Animal Science, led ceremonies to honor Jim Butler (right), retired 4-H livestock specialist, with the establishment of the Jim Butler 4-H Livestock Judging Endowment. (See full Story)
Photo by Becky Kirkland

In January, along with N.C. State Chancellor Jim Oblinger and Cooperative Extension Director Jon Ort, I had the opportunity to accompany new UNC system President Erskine Bowles as he toured eastern North Carolina to learn about research, extension and economic development programs and facilities and how they serve the state's citizens. The Center for Marine Sciences and Technology (CMAST) in Morehead City, the Cunningham Agricultural Research Station in Kinston, and the Duplin County Agricultural Center were among the stops where Bowles saw first-hand the impact of College research and extension. We tell you about those stops and Bowles' reactions in this issue of Perspectives.

Staying close to the coast, this issue also follows a Department of Zoology doctoral student, Tim Langer, to the area near Lake Mattamuskeet, where, using DNA-sampling techniques, he is testing critical research assumptions about the rapidly expanding black bear population in this region. At the same time, Langer is assessing the population and making estimates crucial to wildlife management in the area.

From the western counties comes news of a number of watershed education and rebuilding projects undertaken by our Cooperative Extension staff members in assisting citizens, public officials and farmers on water quality best management practices. Details about and vivid photos of some of the many sites and activities under way convey the long reach of Extension water quality programs.

Bringing timely training and information to North Carolinians was also the work of statewide Extension staff and volunteers who, working with the state Department of Insurance, assisted senior citizens in enrolling in the new Medicare Part D program, registering hundreds for the new federal Medicare prescription drug benefit-and helping to save clients thousands of dollars in drug costs.

News from our Academic Programs includes the announcement of a new multidisciplinary undergraduate minor degree program in agroecology, offered through the Department of Crop Science. The 17-credit minor offers sustainable agriculture students hands-on experience for a fundamental understanding of agricultural systems from ecological, economic and sociological perspectives.

Achievements of our students are reported, including the Excellence in Leadership Award won by our CALS Ambassadors at the National Agriculture Ambassador Conference; senior agricultural business management major Melanie Smith's representation of the College at the national Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference; and the December commencement speech by valedictorian and zoology major Austin Duncan. Read also about a number of awards and honors received by our faculty members.

These are a sampling of the diverse articles in this issue, illustrating what President Bowles saw on his tour of our research and extension facilities - that we have the programs and the people in place to make a difference.

Johnny Wynne, Dean
College of Agriculture
and Life Sciences