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Curiosity and Responsiveness Strong Attributes of New Vegetable IPM Educator

Contact: Abby Seaman | 315 787 2422 |

by Mary Woodsen

Curiosity and Responsiveness Strong Attributes of New Vegetable IPM Educator

GENEVA, NY: The New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM) at Cornell University is pleased to announce that Marion Zuefle, M.S., has joined its staff as a vegetable IPM educator. Zuefle, who previously served as a NYS IPM vegetable implementation specialist and fruit survey technician, will work closely with growers and researchers around New York and the Northeast.

Marion ZuefleMore recently, Marion has taken responsibility for the sweet corn pheromone trap network, an important resource for farmers, extension educators, and consultants throughout the state. She’s improved the network’s web interface for reporting results and created resources to help cooperators deploy traps and identify catches for accurate results and recommendations. And she’s obtained funding for research to help determine whether spotted wing drosophila, a known pest of small fruit, also poses a threat to tomatoes.

Among Zuefle’s first farmer outreach contacts is Keith Slocum of Our Green Acres in Owego, New York. Slocum was worried that spotted wing drosophila (SWD for short) — a new and worrisome invasive pest hardly bigger than a comma — could have become established at Our Green Acres. SWD can spell ruin for blueberries and fall raspberries, important crops at this u-pick farm.

Zuefle’s immediate response was what Slocum needed and wanted. “Marion sent me just what I needed to tell if we had SWD,” Slocum says; the traps he made indicated that the farm was still safe from SWD. “She has a good head on her shoulders,” Slocum says.

Zuefle’s interests and expertise includes research that helps understand and cope with newly arrived invasive species. Right now she has her antennae out for two exotic diseases and one exotic insect pest of tomatoes. She’s also helping research new ways of using soil temperature readings that suggest when different weeds are likely to germinate.

“Given Marion’s rich and varied background in entomology, vertebrate biology, botany, and microbiology, her ability to create collaborative projects with other researchers will be limited only by funding,” says Julie Carroll, NYS IPM’s fruit coordinator. “Among her talents, and there are many, Marion’s presentations are both easy to understand and highly accurate.”

“Marion has the depth of curiosity and the responsiveness that can make for a topnotch educator,” says Abby Seaman, IPM’s vegetable coordinator. “Everything she does, she does well. I’m delighted that Marion has joined our team.” Zuefle holds a Masters of Science in entomology and applied ecology from the University of Delaware.