Monday, November 17, 2014

West Coast-bound: Irrigation Show and Education Conference 2014

This week hundreds of irrigation workers and academics will gather in Phoenix, AZ, for the 2014 Irrigation Show and Education Conference.

Déjà vu?
However, before we look forward, let's take a look back. Last month, a group of us irriGators traveled to the WaterSmart Innovations Conference to learn about the latest research in eight different tracks of water-use topics! 

WaterSmart social media workshop with two of the best: Alan Harris & Richard Restuccia
Some of the highlights for me included the weather-based irrigation controller research, several talks on water budget rate structuring, and the prevalence of smart, cloud-based irrigation controllers for residential use at the product expo. 

On the mic: soil moisture sensor expert Bernard Cardenas
Our own Bernard Cardenas presented on using soil moisture sensors successfully with reclaimed water irrigation, and we did our best to commandeer the tweet screens documenting all the interesting goings-on during the conference.

#WSI2014: tweet, or it didn't happen
Oh you read that right...a robotic sprinkler
Every drop counts: Flo from EPA WaterSense & Athens-Clarke County's Lily Anne Phibian 
In addition to technical sessions presenting research, this week’s Irrigation Show features a massive product expo. 

Did I say it was massive?
For the second consecutive year, ARCSA will have its own pavilion on the show floor, reminding everyone that lots of perfectly useful water falls from the sky. Cloud-based smart irrigation technology will also be well represented (including a promising, new remotely accessible, wireless soil moisture sensor). And the new product contest area always helps ensure no effective water management innovation goes overlooked.

Teacher mode: Dr. Stacia Davis instructs Extension personnel
I’m excited about reconnecting with former irriGator, and current LSU faculty, Dr. Stacia Davis. Dr. Davis will present previous research work from the on-going Orange County Smart Irrigation Study. Further, following last year’s successful "Value of Certification" video project, I’ll be wearing my Miami-Dade Urban Conservation Unit hat in Phoenix and rolling cameras on a new work. 

Meeting of the minds: IA's Brent Mecham and Dr. Michael Dukes at WaterSmart
I would be remiss if I did not mention that the Irrigation Show is where our own Dr. Michael Dukes will formally accept this year’s Irrigation Foundation Excellence in Education Award.

Stay tuned for live tweets and additional blog coverage of all the exciting Irrigation Show events.

About the author: 
Michael Gutierrez is a water resources 
technician with UF/IFAS in the Ag & Bio 
Engineering Dept. He tweets, blogs and 
also shoots still and video media in South 
Florida, Gainesville and anywhere else a 
camera is handy. (image: Gainesville Sun)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Preparing for tomorrow, today: Dr. Michael Dukes and the 2014 Excellence in Education Award

Water is a major issue in Florida, a growing state concerned with both supplying development and maintaining a valuable tourism industry. In this context, it's no surprise that Florida attracts some of the brightest minds in water management. One of these experts is the University of Florida's Dr. Michael Dukes.

Excellence in Education
The Irrigation Foundation recently honored Dr. Dukes with their 2014 Excellence in Education Award. This award recognizes someone working in academia and helping to develop professionals well-equipped for a sustainable irrigation industry.

Like this, but more shelf-friendly: Dr. Dukes instructs at an Extension event in South FL this spring
Dr. Dukes will formally accept the award later this month at the 2014 Irrigation Show and Education Conference in Phoenix, AZ.

Why do we irrigate? Dr. Dukes has answers.

In the meantime, Dr. Dukes took a minute to offer some insight about the role of educators in the water management industry today and what motivates him as an educator, specifically.

Stay tuned for additional coverage of the Irrigation Show and this great honor for the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department and the University of Florida family.