Posts Tagged With: science technician

Calling On Those With Horticulture Science Degrees! Are You a Member of ASHS?

(Note: this was posted on my profile updates on the ASHS website this morning. I thought it may, perhaps, be beneficial to someone to post it here as well. )

Today I have 3 webinars to attend! One is via the USDA Forest Service, another from the Raising Trees webinar series out of Auburn U, and another webinar from ASHS.

As a CPH who needs to earn CEUs, having an ASHS Member benefit of attending all the wonderful ASHS webinars developed for the Society is fantastic. As someone who pays all their dues, conference registrations, and all fees associated with attending the conferences out of their own pocket (I think all but two years since 1998), getting this Member benefit is wonderful and appreciated. Having only a Master’s degree, and being employed only part-time for many years now, means that saving money and budgeting my time and money are very important.

Attending virtual training and conferences saves me both money and time. It has allowed me to maintain professional certifications for both the CPH and ISA programs from home. I know I am a “rare bird” who is both an ASHS Member, ASHS-SR Member and attends conferences without having a PhD or a faculty/research position. I am fortunate to be able to split lodging and some travel costs with my spouse, who is also a Member. If it were not for that, I would probably not have been an ASHS Member all these years. Not everyone is that fortunate to be able to budget time and monies with a spouse in the same professional organization. Having moved to different states and changed jobs within the “realm of horticulture” several times, I can say that connections and experiences within ASHS have been extremely beneficial to me since graduate school.

I am sure there are hundreds of B.S. and M.S.-level horticulturists (particularly in Extension or working as Biological Science Technicians, non-tenured Horticulture faculty, Horticulture Technicians and those who branched off into the affiliated plant sciences) who would be interested in joining if they could attend our conferences and webinars virtually, as nearly everyone can use continuing education as part of their annual employment goals. Not to mention the benefits of staying up-to-date on the latest horticulture science, job announcements, and making connections for future horticulture employment and/or collaborations in horticulture research. From what I have seen in all my years with ASHS, this is NOT the target audience for Membership. Yet, ASHS looks to increase Membership. ASHS might “hook” some Members this way, virtually, and then maybe every so many years, or when the conferences are close by, these Members attend in person. With this increase in Membership and participation, the message of horticulture science is propelled farther and penetrates deeper into society where it is needed. Perhaps this helps to “seed” future horticulture generations.

The B.S. and M.S. non-faculty horticulturists are likely perfect candidates to participate virtually and to be looking at the ASHS Certified Professional Horticulturist program. When posed the question, “You work in horticulture science, but you aren’t a Member of ASHS?” These folks may very well reply, “It is expensive and I cannot afford to attend the conferences or take time away from my family; I can only afford the annual Extension conference; my employer will not pay for me or allow me the time off; my boss does not encourage me to participate.” What a great time to push the “virtual” ASHS conference and educational webinars as Member benefits and plug the CPH program! This, combined with the open access ASHS journals, means there is no reason for a CPH to not complete their CEU requirements.

In short, thank you ASHS for the virtual webinars and thank you for keeping the virtual option to attend the annual conference again this year. If you, too, appreciate all the virtual webinars or the ability to attend the conferences virtually, please send your own love notes along to ASHS. Spread the good “green” word! Have a fantastic weekend! (and now, for more coffee)

Yours in Horticulture Science (not Silence)!
The Garden Maiden

thegardenmaiden.com copyright 2021

Categories: horticulture conferences | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Collecting Botanical Data on Blueberry for Plant Patent and Releases

Each year there is a small window of opportunity to collect certain botanical data on blueberry. Data is collected for potential releases and plant patents. I work on both muscadines and blueberries, but right now, I’m knuckle deep in blueberry analysis for my boss.

Currently, time is of the essence to collect flowers and analyze their parts for numerous parameters including color, size, number, etc. In this photo, pollinated flowers are quickly becoming young blueberries.

How did I know what to collect? Well, I printed off plant patents and release documents for other blueberries. I refreshed myself with terminology I learned in Plant Taxonomy at the University of Arkansas. (I’m the nerd who carries around flash cards from graduate school so I can study and refresh when I have down time such as waiting at the doctor’s office).

I also had to Google search and find other USDA ARS, University Extension, and text book references to analyzing plant parts.

For the past few weeks here is what I have been working on:

Flower length; flower occurrence; flowering period; corolla color, length, diameter, and aperture; stigma length and color; style length, calyx diameter and color; stamen length, stamen color, anther length; the number of flowers per cluster; immature flower color; pollen abundance and color; flower pedicel color and length; flower peduncle color and length, and whether or not flowering occurs before, during or after leaf emergence. Using a RHS colour chart, means that you should be using north light, which I don’t really have. But I will use several attempts to verify each color and maintain consistency.

Image of blueberry pollen in a petri dish with the remaining flower part of style/stigma, calyx, pedicel and somewhere in that image, the stamen:

Image of late afternoon sun shining in on the half dissection view of stamen located inside the calyx :

Image of petri dish filled with male parts (stamen: filament and anther, and in the case of blueberry, each anther has  a pair of anther tubes):

 

Another blueberry image with description:

Another image where I am measuring a single stamen. The stamen measurement does not include the anther tubes. The light green yellow part is the filament. In the middle the darker orange brown is the anther:

Blueberry stamen image with petri dish sitting on one of my botanical description pages:

Blueberry stamen image where I placed the petri dish on my RHS colour chart for contrast:

 

Image of blueberry flowers in various stages:

Late afternoon sun shining on my laboratory blueberry cuttings:

 

Blueberry pollen image. This particular selection had a lot of pollen and the flowers were dry, making it easy to extract the pollen and collect it in the center of the dish with a paint brush:

Blueberry pollen color analysis:

Blueberry flower bracteoles:

Blueberry flower dissection:

Another image of me extracting pollen by gently rubbing and working the corolla (I’m milking it for all it is worth!):

For each I randomly take cuttings from various parts of the plant and of more than one plant when at all possible.  Usually, the cuttings are long enough for me to put in beakers of water so that I can continue to have a fresh supply of tissue to work with; however, I did put some small cuttings in the refrigerator last week, which worked well, except that moisture collected inside the corolla, making it nearly impossible to extract pollen from the anthers. (Tip!)

I hope this gives you an idea of just some of the “end” data collected on potential releases and plant patent applications. It is a bit of micro work. You do need to give your eyes a break. You will get a snoot full of pollen and probably be able to feel the itchy eyes and burning throat after a days work extracting pollen grains. But I do love it! And with some groovy tunes like my Disney, Classic Out West Westerns, Hawaiian, or Jimmy Buffett/Beach playlists, I can rock all day. Tomorrow? I’ll be playing my Mardi Gras playlist all day in the lab! Next week? Its St. Patrick’s Day music and I’ll do some jigs in between samples. You gotta take joy whenever you can get joy.

 

As a Certified Professional Horticulturist, an ISA Certified Arborist, with a B.S.A. in Landscape Design and Urban Horticulture and an M.S. in Horticulture, I really do enjoy this kind of plant science work.

 

The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2019 The Garden Maiden
@thegardenmaiden

 

 

Categories: Fruit Crops, Research, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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