Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Turn down for what? A 2013 recap!

This past year has been quite a ride for me. It marked my 11th year employed with the University of Florida, my 6th year collaborating with Miami-Dade’s Urban Conservation Unit (U.C.U.), and my first year of working in the verdant environs of Gainesville, FL.

Getting that drip line B-roll in South Beach tho!
More importantly, however, and the motivation behind this blog entry, is that 2013 saw several efforts and projects come to fruition, and as we move forward, this work can only continue to grow in scope and ambition.

Conferences and symposiums
2013 was definitely a year for meeting and sharing with colleagues. Locally, when she wasn't developing awesome mobile smart irrigation apps, our own Dr. Kati Migliaccio helped spearhead the creation of the South Florida Landscape Irrigation Symposium.

Dr. Kati Migliaccio and Dr. Michael Dukes in conference in Fort Lauderdale
The symposium is a collaborative enterprise among UF/IFAS Extension experts in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, and a private CEU-issuing agency. This year the event convened in the spring and fall in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach respectively. For spring 2014, Miami-Dade will serve as host on May 1st - mark those calendars!
U.C.U. technician Jesus Lomeli holds court in West Palm Beach
When I wasn’t doing visual media work at these symposiums, I was doing visual media work at national conferences! This year I had the unexpected opportunity to attend both the WaterSmart Innovations Conference and the Irrigation Show and Education Conference.
Shooting in November for January: Brent Mecham and I in Austin, TX.
Will I make it out to these inspiring events again next year? I have no idea, but have camera will travel!

U.C.U., baby!
If the info-tainment genre exists in educational videos, this year the U.C.U. helped push it forward for irrigation. We produced no less than 13 short videos in 2013 – some micro, some straight-laced and some deliciously absurd, all of them, however, focused on informing, engaging and communicating about our interest and excitement in what we do out here on the daily: water conservation.

Often we generate our own content, but sometimes we work with others: what up Telemundo!
If you enjoy our work, strap in tight because we’ve only just begun. See the team's unanimous favorite selection from 2013 here or below.

My work in Gainesville saw the birth of IrriGators Productions this year. Enjoyed by students, faculty and deans alike, thus far I’ve shot shorts about all our on-going projects and the massive Florida-friendly demonstration plot study inaugurated in the fall. For 2014, we'll focus on irrigation training videos for Extension Agents, and as I am involved, the primary objective with these pieces will be to educate while not contributing to the “dry-as-dust” canon. Will we succeed? Stay tuned!

Shooting for the IrriGators with Dr. Migliaccio at TREC
Get social!
I cannot recap 2013 without addressing social media. Social media was the topic of the blog entry I enjoyed writing the most this year, and it was at the root of some of my favorite work in 2013. Why? Well, it's invaluable as a platform for distributing content (like our videos and field images) and it's a proven means for networking and relationship building.

A social hero candid: Martha Golea and Richard Restuccia in Austin, TX.
When I arrived in Las Vegas and Austin this year, most of the groundwork for our video projects there had already been laid thanks to twitter. That said, I cannot mention twitter without shouting out #landscapechat.

The U.C.U.: Laura Vasquez and Jesus Lomeli moments before the national spotlight in August
In August, the U.C.U. had the unexpected pleasure of being guests on this national twitter chat to discuss water-use efficiency, water conservation and healthy landscapes, and yes, we crushed it! Follow us now because 2014 promises even more fun in the twitterverse.

This is how you win

Courtesy Gainesville Sun: circa Sept. 2013
At the time of this writing I’ve been in South Florida for 8 days and the work has been non-stop. If you follow us on twitter you already know!
Four years later this underground cistern is slated for tapping as an irrigation source in 2014!
The projects we’re developing now will release in the months ahead as we build on this year’s efforts and continue with our work in the world of water management, conservation and efficiency. 2014 let's go!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Preparing for rain

As we enter dry season we are dusting off our rainfall simulator to test out some lysimeters and nutrient leaching. Dr. Peng Sui, visiting scientist, is preparing his plots for experiment start.
Look for results coming in the future!