Published on 10/08/09

2009 D.W. Brooks Awards announced

By Sharon Dowdy
University of Georgia

A University of Georgia horticulturist, weed specialist, atmospheric scientist and county Extension coordinator were honored for their work Oct. 6 in Athens, Ga., during the annual D.W. Brooks Lecture and Faculty Awards for Excellence ceremony.

Presented by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the program is named in honor of Gold Kist Inc. founder D.W. Brooks. A CAES alumnus, Brooks advised seven U.S. presidents on agriculture and trade issues. Although he died in 1999, his promotion of agriculture lives on through the awards.

The 2009 award winners were David Berle, Stanley Culpepper, Monique Leclerc and Paul Wigley.

A CAES horticulturist, Berle brings to the classroom his experience as a county Extension agent, nursery grower, landscape contractor and horticulturist for both the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and the UGA Grounds Department.

He teaches introductory horticulture, landscape design, GIS applications for landscape managers and Project FOCUS. To keep large classes of students interested, Berle asks his students to carve pumpkins, cook potluck suppers, raise houseplants and be a "professor for the day." Through Project FOCUS, he places students in K-5 classrooms to teach science lessons.

A native of North Carolina, Culpepper grew up on a bicentennial family farm where cotton, peanut and soybeans were grown. As a UGA Cooperative Extension weed scientist, he focuses on weed control in cotton, vegetables and small grains. He is actively involved in applied weed management research. To deliver research-based information to farmers, he has published more than 200 publications and spoke at 269 Georgia grower meetings.

Leclerc came to UGA 12 years ago to form the Laboratory for Environmental Physics. Today, the UGA Griffin Campus laboratory is considered a world-class experimental and modeling facility worth more than $1 million. She leads an innovative program in climate change and biogeosciences that consistently attracts the best graduate students from universities in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Germany, Finland, Spain, Mexico, Korea, Thailand, India and China.

She’s brought in more than $21 million in competitive federal grants to the CAES. She has shared her work on the interactions between vegetation and the overlying atmosphere at some of the finest institutions in the world and in the nation, including the University of Oxford, Harvard University, Yale University, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Oakridge and Argonne national laboratories.

Wigley is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and experienced agriculture and natural resource agents in the U.S. on the subjects of peanut production and disease control. For the past decade, he has focused on the study of Rhizoctonia limb, pod and peg rot in peanuts and its control.

He conducted 26 replicated trials evaluating almost 40 fungicides in more than 80 different combinations and systems to study their control of this disease. His work has become the cornerstone for control recommendations for peanut growers in every U.S. peanut-producing state. More than 800 visitors from across the U.S. and nine foreign countries have viewed his research plots and trials.

For more information on this year’s winners or the D.W. Brooks Award, go to the Web site

Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.