WSU Plant Pathologist Honored by Peers, Recognized for Extension Excellence

Gary Grove, Washington State University professor of plant pathology, will receive the American Phytopathological Society Excellence in Extension Award. Grove will be recognized at a special ceremony during the annual meeting of the APS in Nashville, Tenn. in August.

“It’s humbling to be recognized by my peers and colleagues like this. Some great plant pathologists and Extension specialists nationwide have been recipients of this award. It’s exciting and professionally satisfying to be recognized and to join that group,” said Grove.

The award recognizes an APS member who has made outstanding contributions by creating, developing or implementing Extension-related programs or materials or who have provided significant leadership in an area of Extension plant pathology.

Grove, who has statewide Extension responsibilities for grapes, hops and stone fruits, is an internationally recognized leader in the development of cutting-edge information delivery strategies to get stakeholders information when and where they need it.

Grove was one of the first to employ electronic bulletin boards to facilitate communication among stakeholders and their extension and research collaborators and created the first fruit pathology Web site. As communications technology developed, he pioneered the production of videos that could be downloaded to hand-held devices. He developed Web-deliverable databases that enabled growers to view information on pesticide recommendations, labels and resistance management while in the field.

In his three years as director of AgWeatherNet, Washington’s agricultural weather network, he led a massive hardware upgrade and expanded the network to 133 weather stations. AgWeatherNet provides near real-time weather data and various pest models and disease forecasts accessible through a Web site. The site is heavily trafficked and also uses text messaging and automated email to deliver weather and disease alerts to growers throughout the state. AgWeatherNet recently released a Web site for mobile computing devices.

Grove’s extension and research efforts have provided insights in pathogen biology and disease epidemiology in irrigated perennial agricultural crops and resulted in a substantial decrease in fungicide use in Washington vineyards. Grove is a leader in the area of biology and epidemiology of powdery mildews and other diseases of fruit crops.

“Gary is an innovative technologist and a fine scientist whose work has made a significant and positive impact to the economic well-being of tree-fruit and grape growers,” said Hanu Pappu, chair of the Department of Plant Pathology at WSU. “His Extension work, in particular, has contributed greatly to our ability to deal effectively with pests and plant diseases. We’re all delighted that Gary has received this well-deserved recognition.”