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Megan Marotta
Marotta joins UC ANR as program integration coordinator

Megan Marotta joined UC ANR Youth Families and Communities Statewide Program team as a program integration coordinator in July and is working with five statewide programs: Master Gardeners, Master Food Preservers, 4-H Youth Development, UC CalFresh and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). Her position, which is new, provides an opportunity to capitalize on the partnerships and programming that already exist in each county.

Marotta brings more than 13 years of experience building partnerships in communities, the last 7 years as a program director for afterschool and summer programs in the Bay Area. She received a BA in psychology from Pepperdine University and a master's degree in organizational leadership from Chapman University.

Marotta is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1225 and mrmarotta@ucanr.edu.

From left, Megan Phillippi of Montana State University, Nancy Shelstad and Tim Ewers of Idaho State University, Jeannette Rea-Keywood of Rutgers University, and Kendra Lewis and JoLynn Miller accepted the Excellence in Teamwork Award.

4-H team wins national teamwork award

A multi-state group formed to study 4-H youth retention received the Excellence in Teamwork Award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NA4-HA). Kendra Lewis, 4-H academic coordinator for evaluation, and JoLynn Miller, 4-H youth development advisor for the Central Sierra Multi-county Partnership, accepted the award on Nov. 16 in Indianapolis at the NA4-HA Annual Conference.

The youth retention study is focused on understanding why youth and families join, drop out or stay in 4-H. By learning about these factors, youth recruitment and retention in 4-H can be improved. Being able to learn about these issues across states has been valuable as 4-H professionals create tools to help mitigate some of the issues learned from the study.

Since 2014, Lewis and Miller have been co-chairs of the group, which also includes UC Cooperative Extension 4-H advisors Marianne Bird, John Borba and Russell Hill, and specialist Kali Trzesniewski.

For California youth and families, the team has already created a New Family Handbook and a Project Leader Checklist to help leaders as they welcome new families. UC ANR is currently partnering with Cooperative Extension staff at University of Idaho, Rutgers University, University of Wyoming and Louisiana State University. 

The team won the California 4-H Association, Western Region of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, and National NAE4-HA awards for Excellence in Teamwork.

Blackburn and Lagura win NEAFCS research award

Mary BlackburnMary L. Blackburn, nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor, and MaryAnn A. Lagura, early childhood program coordinator, both of UC Cooperative Extension in Alameda County, won first place in the Program Excellence Through Research Award category for their “Preschool Wellness Policy Development,” both in the nation and in the western region in the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences Annual Awards Program.

MaryAnn LaguraIn 2017, about 67,000 children in Alameda County participated in California's Child and Adult Care Food Program - Child Care and Adult Care Components. Of that number, about 12,000 (17.93 percent) of these children were at 319 sites operating without wellness policies. The early childhood obesity prevention initiative, funded by the Alameda County Health Department – Nutrition Services, was launched in 2014 to develop wellness policies at 20 preschools with 1,074 children in five cities in Alameda County. Blackburn and Lagura provided guidance and support to develop, approve and adopt policies to promote healthy eating, physical activity, environmental changes and model healthy behaviors. They also evaluated the outcomes.

At the end of the 2017 school year, 18 sites had fully implemented policies. Twelve are entering a third year and six are in the second year of implementation – two sites lost funding. Preliminary evaluations of the overall outcomes found goal achievements by all sites exceeded the total number of priority goals sites selected for the first year by a ratio of 2:1.

The award was presented at the annual NEAFCS Awards Ceremony in Omaha, Neb., on Oct. 18 and 19. 

Gerry poses with former recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Front row, from left, are Nancy Hinkle, Gerry, and Dick Miller. Back row, from left, are Phil Kaufman, Chris Geden, Jerry Hogsette, Don Rutz, Dave Taylor, UC Riverside professor Brad Mullens and Wes Watson. Photo by Annie Rich

Gerry earns lifetime achievement award  

Alec Gerry, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Entomology at the UC Riverside, received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award in Veterinary Entomology. 

Gerry's outstanding contributions to animal health and productivity were recognized at the 61st Livestock Insect Workers Conference in Savannah, Ga., in June 2017. He serves as president of the Medical, Urban and Veterinary Entomology Section of the Entomological Society of America.

Last year Gerry was honored as a member of a multi-state research team for “S-1060: Fly Management in Animal Agriculture Systems and Impacts on Animal Health and Food Safety.” The 2016 Experiment Station Section Award for Excellence in Multi-State Research was given by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Cooperative Extension System and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

To learn more about Gerry's research, visit http://veterinaryentomology.ucr.edu.

Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 1:23 PM

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