Vero Beach resident and University of Florida scientist wins international and national awards
May 19, 2022
By: Robin Koestoyo, 772-453-0516 (mobile, texting) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
FORT PIERCE, Fla.— A scientist last year garnered an international award, received the largest grant from a state agency, and significantly extended a public outreach program.
Despite the pandemic, Carey Minteer increased her extension program by 300% with increased online participation for an educational program that teaches children and their instructors about entomology. Recently, University of Florida/IFAS officials recognized Minteer with a Superior Accomplishment Award. But Minteer applauds her laboratory associates as a team for their success.
Carey Minteer is an entomologist who leads the state’s plan to control 700,000 acres of Brazilian peppertrees with biological control or the introduction of insects that feed on the tree in its native Brazil. In 2019, she led the statewide effort to distribute the first insect—the Brazilian pepper thrips—onto state parklands and private ranches. The tree costs one rancher a quarter of a million in chemicals annually.
Minteer and her team aim to replace the chemicals with the biocontrol insects tested for more than 15 years to affect only the Brazilian peppertree. Minteer and her associates work at the University of Florida Norman C. Hayslip Biological Control Research and Containment Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida. Part of UF’s statewide Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the lab is a high-security facility where possible biological control insects are quarantined and tested against the state’s costly invasive species. Florida landscapes are compromised by invasive plants and insects, where the species live yearlong in warmer climates.
“I am honored to have been nominated and selected by UF/IFAS officials for a Superior Accomplishment Award, but a lot of the credit for this belongs to the amazing people who work in my laboratory. Our team works hard to provide sustainable and effective biological control of many of Florida’s worst invasive plant species. I couldn’t do this without them,” said Minteer.
Scott Angle, senior vice president for UF/IFAS, led the awards ceremony held in Gainesville at UF’s main campus. Angle celebrated the awardees from all UF/IFAS statewide facilities, honoring their achievements and recognizing the organization as one of the “best of its kind.”
In announcing Minteer for her award, Ann Hartman, an agriculture assistant supervisor who served on the selection committee for UF/IFAS Superior Accomplishment Awards, noted Minteer’s ability to lead her laboratory team.
“Her extension colleague credits her far-reaching impact and ability to work with people and empower them to perform their best work,” said Hartman.