University of Idaho - I Banner
A student works at a computer


U of I's web-based retention and advising tool provides an efficient way to guide and support students on their road to graduation. Login to VandalStar.


College of Agricultural & Life Sciences

Physical Address:
E. J. Iddings Agricultural Science Laboratory, Room 52
606 S Rayburn St

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2331
Moscow, ID 83844-2331

Phone: 208-885-6681

Fax: 208-885-6654



Catching Up with CALS — July 12, 2017

Dean's Message — Summer Events

Summer finally is here after a long, cool spring. CALS is fully engaged with our research and UI Extension mission and with the public and stakeholders across the state.

The annual Twilight Tour will draw hundreds to the Aberdeen Research and Extension Center July 19.

The Twilight Tour is one of CALS’ top events each year because of outstanding efforts by faculty and staff at the Aberdeen and Kimberly Research and Extension Centers. The Twilight Tour rotates between Aberdeen and Kimberly with faculty from both research and extension centers participating.

I was impressed and encouraged to see the turnout last year at Kimberly and the high-quality efforts to help community members understand what we do.

I look forward to seeing Aberdeen’s approach, and in particular the visibility for our strong ties to the USDA Agricultural Research Service there focused on potatoes and small grains.

Closer to campus, our Summer of Science effort provided another opportunity to share our research, teaching and extension expertise Saturday with community members at the Moscow Farmers Market.

Our booth at the market this past weekend focused on dairy. Children and adults could learn as much as they could absorb from CALS’ outstanding teachers, researchers, students and alumni.

Animal scientists Mark McGuire and Amin Ahmadzadeh were there. McGuire, Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station director, is known worldwide as an expert on lactation physiology. Ahmadzadeh won a top USDA teaching award a few years ago for his skill in the classroom.

McGuire also studies milk from the viewpoint of the human microbiome, the assembly of microbes that helps make us who we are. Mark and Michelle McGuire, his wife and a nutrition scientist at Washington State University, collaborated on a groundbreaking new textbook published last year on the subject.

The McGuires just learned that a publication about human milk they collaborated on with UI alumna Katherine Hunt Yahvah in the highly regarded public access journal PLoS One (the Public Library of Science One) now ranks among its top 1 percent most-cited articles.

After the market, Ahmadzadeh provided an entertaining episode of the more in-depth Saturday Academy of Science that featured UI dairy workers milking a live Holstein outside my office window.

Agricultural and extension education senior Liz Bumstead, who serves as our Summer of Science intern and organizer without equal, reports that 360 children have signed up and received science kits. That’s just through the program’s first six weeks.

If you would like to learn more about the effort, or let your wallet have its say about the importance of science, we invite you to visit our online crowdfunding site:

Happy summer.

Dean Michael Parrella

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

By the Numbers 

-42 degrees F now ranks as the lowest temperature recorded at the UI weather station at Parker Farm. Jim Crane, who recorded it on 12-30-1968, challenged the official record's -30 degree low recorded 1-20-1937. Upon further review, National Weather Service officials sided with Crane. Research showed the -42 had been questioned because the low reported that day in Pullman was a relatively balmy -33. Further reviews showed that the Moscow reading squared with lows in the -40s in Plummer and Clarkia.

Our Stories — Ag Science Foyer Gets a Facelift

Major construction is about halfway done to improve access to the Agricultural Sciences Auditorium 106 on the Moscow campus.This architectural rendering shows the renovated Ag Science 106 Foyer's eastern entry.

The state’s Americans with Disabilities Act budget is funding the majority of the $1.1 million project, which began shortly after spring semester ended in May.

The work will expand the foyer east outside the auditorium to add an indoor ramp to access the auditorium’s stage and front row and a universal accessible restroom.

The schedule calls for completion of masonry and major interior features before the start of fall semester with all work completed by mid-October, said Daryle Faircloth, UI facilities project manager.

The Ag 106 auditorium will be available for fall classes. Instructors and students will have to enter through the foyer’s west-facing doors for the first few weeks of the semester.

“We haven’t had any big surprises,” Faircloth said. More excavation was required for the interior ramp because topsoil was used as fill when the original building was constructed in the early 1950s.

Workers had to dig out an extra 10 feet of soil to add structural fill that could better support the weight of the new wing, he said.

The work to renovate the Ag Sciences Room 62 and the Iddings Agricultural Sciences Building’s main corridor from the lobby is also on schedule, Faircloth said.

The corridor project now underway and other work is funded with donations from the Idaho Farm Bureau and other sources. The work is also expected to be complete by fall semester’s start, Faircloth added.

Summer of Science at Moscow Farmers Market Draws Crowd

A total of 621 children turned out for the first six weeks of the CALS Summer of Science project at the Moscow Farmers Market.A video exlpores the summer of science program.

Geared to children in elementary school, the Summer of Science offers weekly snapshots of agricultural sciences ranging from entomology to plant and soil sciences to agricultural economics and dairy science.

CALS Dean Michael Parrella advocated closer ties with the Moscow Farmers Market after visiting it several times while considering a move to UI and after as dean and fan of the market.

Market officials, including City of Moscow Arts Commission Director Kathleen Burns endorsed the project and provided a space at Friendship Square for the CALS tent.

College staff and faculty members began staffing the tent with the market’s opening May 3 and are scheduled to continue to connect with market goers until the final session this year on Oct. 27.

The Summer of Science activities began June 3 with a program about insects led by Parrella and fellow CALS entomologist Ed Bechinski, who has visited elementary classrooms in Moscow for more than two decades.

Other sessions held so far focused on native pollinators and plants, plant propagation, agricultural economics, earthworms and dairy cows.

Children who attend the CALS market exhibit receive a free basic science kit to help them understand the scientific method. The kit includes a backpack to hold their gear, a notebook and pen to record observations, a magnifier to study nature closely and a ruler to measure items.

CALS also launched a Saturday Academy of Science series on campus that has offered children chances to learn about insects in the William F. Barr Entomological Museum in the Iddings Agricultural Sciences Building, about native plants and native pollinators in the UI Arboretum and Botanical Garden, and about milk and how to milk a cow. Future sessions will focus on water quality July 22 and mustard plants on Aug. 12.

The Summer of Science schedule will conclude Aug. 26 as children prepare to return to school.

For those who want to learn more about or to help underwrite the Summer of Science kits can visit the UI crowdfunding website to contribute.

By midday July 12, the online crowdfunding drive raised $1,200 since its launch July 6. The drive will continue until July 26. A related effort to raise matching funds from CALS faculty and staff topped $1,500 and continues to draw donations.

Faces and Places

Jen Werlin, UI Extension-Teton County educator in Driggs won a sustainability award for her poster about the Teton County Kitchen Incubator at the Community Development Society/National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Conference in Big Sky, Montana, in June.

Animal science graduate student Jennifer Spencer won first place in the American Dairy Science Association graduate student division three-minute thesis competition at the group's annual meeting. The event tested the competitors' ability to quickly and concisely convey their research. The competition was limited to 11 students nationwide selected by a panel of judges based on a 100 word-abstract describing their presentation.


  • July 13 — Aberdeen Cereals Field Day, 1693 S 2700 W, Aberdeen. Contact Juliet Marshall at 208-529-8376 or; or Jianli Chen at 208-397-4162 or 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • July 19 — Twilight Tour, Aberdeen Research and Extension Center, 5-8 p.m.
  • July 19 — Cover Crop Field Tour with low elevation spray application and management intensive grazing. Meet at Picabo Anglers, 18918 U.S. Highway 20, Picabo. RSVP to UI Extension Blaine County, 208-788-5585, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Feedback or suggestions? Please pass them along through

Previous Newsletters


College of Agricultural & Life Sciences

Physical Address:
E. J. Iddings Agricultural Science Laboratory, Room 52
606 S Rayburn St

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2331
Moscow, ID 83844-2331

Phone: 208-885-6681

Fax: 208-885-6654