Dr. Ed Hellman receives T.V. Munson and Outstanding Extension Educator awards
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service viticulturist, Dr. Ed Hellman of Lubbock, has earned accolades twice in recent months for his educational efforts supporting the Texas wine industry.
Earlier this year Hellman received the T.V. Munson Award from the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association at their annual conference in San Marcos. Then in early August he was again honored with the Outstanding Extension Educator Award from the American Society for Horticultural Science at their annual meeting in New Orleans.
According to background information, the T.V. Munson Award, named for a pioneering horticulturist and Texas grape breeder, is given to an individual who has contributed much to the Texas grape growing industry. Hellman garnered the honor through his work as an educator, researcher, author, speaker and leader. He has served on the board of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association, as well as the group’s education committee for many years, helping plan their annual conference and other educational programs.
Hellman earned the Outstanding Extension Educator Award for being a national leader in viticulture extension. His national activities include 10 years of service on the board of the National Grape and Wine Initiative. He chaired the group’s Extension and Outreach Educational Committee for many years, during which he partnered with colleagues to develop an informal national meeting to facilitate collaboration among Extension viticulturists.
According to background information provided by the horticultural society, a significant result of that collaboration was the developing of the Grape eXtension web resources now available to the public at http://www.extension.org/grapes.
Award support materials stated that Hellman’s work is recognized as instrumental in the rapid growth of the Texas wine industry from 42 wineries in 2000 to more than 300 today. He organized a Viticulture Short Course and expanded it into a formal educational program with Texas Tech University. The resulting online and face-to-face Viticulture Certificate Program has graduated 85 students, many of who have gone on to start their own vineyards and wineries.
His additional work in Texas includes an interactive GIS website used to chart the winegrowing regions of Texas http://txwineregions.tamu.edu, and the Vineyard Doctor, an interactive grape problem diagnostic application available at http://vineyarddoctor.tamu.edu.
Hellman, who is headquartered at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Lubbock, said his current activities include the development of a companion mobile application to the diagnostic app that will provide grape disease and pest management recommendations to include current pesticide labels. He is also researching the feasibility of using robotic technology in vineyard operations.
For further information on Hellman’s work, go to http://winegrapes.tamu.edu.