UW honors Latchininsky with internationalization award

 

Extension entomologist Alex Latchininsky, left, helps a participant during an entomology short course at UW.
Extension entomologist Alex Latchininsky, left, helps a participant during an entomology short course at UW.

Grab a world map – then draw lines arcing across the globe from Alex Latchininskys first floor office in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to Niger, another to Kazakhstan, to Uzbekistan, and so on to Russia, Australia, Morocco, and Mauritania.

Then, connect lines from his office to 17 western states and join another with the United Nations in New York.

Latchininsky’s grasshopper and locust control efforts embraces them all and prompted his receiving the UW Award for Faculty Achievement in Internationalization. He’ll receive the award from the UW International Board of Advisors in Laramie April 5 at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Anne Alexander, associate dean of the Outreach School and director of International Programs, made the announcement.

“It’s very rare that our winner has received 11 support letters from people in Wyoming, Wisconsin, Texas, Australia, Uzbekistan, Mauritania, Russia, and organizations like the UN, USDA, and Fulbright,” says Alexander about Latchininsky, an associate professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management and UW Extension entomologist.

“Nor is it common for them to have significantly improved agricultural sustainability on nearly every continent on the globe and quite literally helped save millions of people from starvation.”

UW leads the world in developing biologically sound, economically viable and environmentally acceptable methods of grasshopper and locust control in large part because of Latchininsky, says Alexander.

The USDA sought Alex Latchininsky's expertise in 2006 when a grasshopper invasion threatened endemic species with extinction on Nihoa Island about 250 miles from the main Hawaiian Islands.
The USDA sought Alex Latchininsky’s expertise in 2006 when a grasshopper invasion threatened endemic species with extinction on Nihoa Island about 250 miles from the main Hawaiian Islands.

Among Latchininsky’s efforts: Conducted research, training, and given presentations in 21 countries on six continents.

  • Taught courses with significant international components, mentored international graduate and undergraduate students, and served on foreign institution graduate student committees/juries.
  • Hosted visiting scientists from China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Australia, Morocco, and Mauritania.
  • His grasshopper control methods developed at UW saved Wyoming producers $13 million in just one year during an outbreak in 2010.
  • His team created a system of public education and technology transfer that trained producers in efficient grasshopper control methods. “

Alex is world-renowned for his work with grasshoppers and locusts as attested to by the letters from international colleagues, numerous awards, and invitations to speak,” says John Tanaka, professor and head of the ESM department

“Besides this work, what is most impressive is the impact he has had around the world. His colleagues attest to the positive impact his work has had in their countries in terms of food security and the impact on the environment.”

During an upsurge of the desert locust in 2003-2005, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization selected UW to develop a training program in French for desert locust control specialists in West Africa.

Alex Latchininsky, center, provides locust monitoring training in Kyrgyzstan in 2012.
Alex Latchininsky, center, provides locust monitoring training in Kyrgyzstan in 2012.

Latchininsky delivered the course to national trainers in Niamey, Niger, and subsequently on the “train-the-trainers” basis to more than 600 specialists in 21 countries. The FAO is working with Latchininsky to develop “Practical Guidelines for Locust Control” in Russian for 10 countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Latchininsky is also working to develop an International Locust and Grasshopper Professional Certification Center at UW, says Alexander. The center would be instrumental in educating locust field specialists from around the nation and around the globe on the most cutting-edge strategies and methods of locust and grasshopper management.