Citrus Youth Day Is Fun for Faculty, Too

Ernie NeffCitrus

Plant physiologist Christopher Vincent taught attendees about how citrus responds to light.

Sixty-eight people attended the third annual Citrus Youth Day at Lake Alfred’s Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) on June 27. Jamie Burrow, Extension program manager with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, says the CREC faculty and staff “get, I think, just as excited as the kids. So we really have a good time, even in the preparations for this event.”

The goal of the day is “to get them (youth) excited now so they can get an interest and maybe hopefully focus one day on citrus or some aspect of citrus,” Burrow says. She adds that the event “shows a different side of citrus. It shows the research side. It looks different than when you see it in the field.” 

The youngsters, age 8 to 18, were divided into groups by age and spent time at four different stations.

At the entomology station, students learned about citrus pests and beneficial insects. Some were brave enough to hold a live lubber grasshopper.

At the citrus physiology station, attendees learned how citrus sees light, Burrow says. At the entomology station, “they learned about the good and the bad pests that we have out there. A few of them even got to catch a grasshopper; that was quite entertaining and fun. In soil science, they got to learn about soil and what makes up soil, and how it’s important to tree growth,” Burrow says. She adds that the students also got to tour two horticultural laboratories.

In the horticulture lab, students took turns crushing plant parts dipped in liquid nitrogen.

CREC faculty leading the sessions were Christopher Vincent (physiology), Lauren Diepenbrock (entomology), Davie Kadyampakeni (soil science), and Tripti Vashisth and Manjul Dutt (horticultural lab tours). 

Attendees included students from 4-H and FFA. The CREC plans to host the event again in June 2020.

Hear more from Burrow in her interview with Citrus Industry editor Tacy Callies:

Share this Post

About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large