The Download: Cambodian Conservation, Obama Shoutout and More

Angelos Deltsidis of UC Davis and farmer Eang Chakriya near Ampil Peam, Cambodia.
UC Davis international postharvest specialist Angelos Deltsidis watches farmer Eang Chakriya harvest sponge gourds near Ampil Peam, Cambodia. Key to this step are sharp tools, which minimize damage to the stem. (Brenda Dawson/UC Davis)

Conservation is about more than making sure crops get the right amount of water. The Horticulture Innovation Lab traveled to Cambodia earlier this year to make sure farmers were doing the right thing after the harvest to ensure as many crops as possible made it to the market. International postharvest specialist Angelos Deltsidis was among those who observed farming techniques near the village of Ampil Peam. The lab has published a photo essay from the trip.

President gives shoutout to UC Davis

After their six-week stay at UC Davis, our 25 Mandela Fellows made a stop in Washington, D.C., where they joined up with other young African leaders who had had similar fellowships this summer at other universities. In greeting the fellows at a town hall on Aug. 4, President Obama acknowledged the Hawkeyes and the Buckeyes, and the Sun Devils and the Fighting Irish in the audience, referring to the mascots of some of the universities that had hosted the fellows. But what about the Aggies? The president singled us out for hosting the the first class of Energy Fellows — “young people at UC Davis studying new ways to promote clean energy and fight climate change.”  Thank you, Mr. President! Read about the Mandela Washington Fellowship’s Energy Institute at UC Davis.

Vote for your favorites in coloring contest

Erich Shultz and his two children color.
UC Davis firefighter Erich Shultz colors at the Campus Store with son Wil and daughter Simone.

To mark National Coloring Book Day, the newly renovated Campus Store threw a coloring party last week — but non-artists can still get in on the fun. Entries from that day and the subsequent week are now on the store's Facebook page, and the post with the most "likes" will earn a prize for its creator.

Staff member completes swim of English Channel

Ernie Hoftyzer drinking champagne after swimming the English Channel.
Ernie Hoftyzer celebrates: "When I walked up on shore, there was a gentleman there with a flute of champagne, which, of course, I drank." (Courtesy)

Ernie Hoftyzer, chief administrative officer at the Institute of Transportation Studies, is now one of about 130 people in the world who have completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming — swimming the 20-mile-wide Catalina Channel, the 28-mile circumnavigation of Manhattan Island and the 21-mile-wide English Channel.

Hoftyzer crossed the channel late last month, actually traveling 33 miles over the course of nearly 12 hours due to strong currents and winds. He said the swim went as expected — likely because he was prepared for the unexpected.

"It was very choppy in the first two, dark hours, then flattened out somewhat for the next five or so hours, before getting choppy again the final three hours," he said. "The water temperature was a very comfortable 63 degrees, which I know sounds weird, but I had been preparing for 60-degree water."

With the crossing behind him, Hoftyzer was planning to spend the remainder of his time in Europe seeing London and Germany.

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