Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of California
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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UC ANR funds 12 new projects to address high-priority issues in California

Elina Lastro Niño, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, tests a student in the California Master Beekeeper Program. Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

How does the increased number of dead trees affect the timing and magnitude of wildfire? What would it take to get more Latino children engaged in science? Would volunteers be interested in teaching others how to preserve honey bee health? These are some of the questions that University of California scientists will try to answer through projects funded by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Twelve new projects are being funded by UC ANR's 2017 Competitive Grants Program and High Risk, High Rewards Program to address high-priority issues in California.

With 45 competitive grant proposals requesting over $7 million and six high-risk high-reward proposals requesting over another $500,000, the number of requests received exceeded the funding available. 

“These projects truly demonstrate the forward-thinking nature of UC researchers,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “They're tackling problems and issues that strike at the heart of what matters to Californians. We're pleased to support and fund this critical work.”

The list of funded proposals is below and project summaries are posted on the 2017 funding opportunities web page at http://ucanr.edu/2017anrgrantsprojects.


Principal investigator

Award amount

Pathways to Your Future: Destination UC

Shannon Horrillo


Massive tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada: Consequences for forest health

Jodi Axelson


Reducing nitrate leaching to the groundwater by accounting for the soils' capacity to supply N through mineralization

Daniel Geisseler


Advancing urban irrigation management to enhance water-use efficiency

Amir Haghverdi


The California Master Beekeeper Program: Development of a continuous train-the-trainer education effort for CA beekeepers

Elina Niño


Silent straws: understanding water demands from woody encroachment in California's oak woodlands

Lenya Quinn-Davidson



Impact of a warmer and drier future on rangeland ecosystems and ecosystem services

Jeremy James


Closing the adaptive management loop for sustainable working rangelands

Leslie Roche


Developing a culturally relevant civic science approach to improving scientific literacy for Latino youth

Steven Worker


Creating cyst nematode suppressive soils by managing indigenous populations of the hyperparasitic fungus Dactylella oviparasitica

James Borneman


Smart Farming: Monitoring the health of chickens

Maja Makagon


Recruiting the next generation of extension professionals

Jennifer Heguy




Posted on Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 1:24 PM

The 2017 fire season has been the most severe on record

One focus of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) is forestry, and a host of its researchers study the impacts of fire and fire suppression in California wildlands. This expertise is valued by the public and the news media in times when wildfires strike. 

The 2017 fire season has been the most severe on record, due to a combustible combination of drought, rains, and especially, wind. “What really makes big years in terms of acres burned is essentially how many really windy days we have,” UCCE forestry specialist Bill Stewart told KPCC. Last year's wet winter, which led to increased vegetation, and this year's record-breaking heat waves aren't as indicative of fire danger as Santa Ana winds, known in Northern California as Diablo winds, Stewart said. “It's always dry. There's always fuel,” he said.

UC Cooperative Extension specialist Max Moritz said the state needs to incorporate wind corridors into its fire hazard severity zone maps, according to an article on ScienceMag.org. Stricter building codes apply in places designated as high-risk.

Map of December 2017 fires. (USDA)

UC ANR scientists also generate local fire recovery and mitigation resources for the public in wildfire-prone counties.

Links to all the sites have been aggregated on a UC ANR story map - https://arcg.is/0SWyW8. This story map may be freely shared on websites and social media. (Find the share URL and the embed code by clicking the share icon on the upper right hand corner of the story map.)

Local UC Cooperative Extension fire resources websites listed on the story map are:

Northern California

UCCE Central Sierra fire resources

UCCE Mendocino County fire resources

UCCE Sonoma County fire resources

UCCE Sutter-Yuba counties fire resources

Central California

UCCE Mariposa County fire resources

UCCE San Luis Obispo County fire resources

Southern California

UCCE San Diego County fire resources

UCCE Santa Barbara County fire resources

UCCE Ventura County

The following general information on wildfire recovery is available for those who were directly impacted by the wildfire.

Homeowners guide to recovering from wildfire

Landowners guide to recovering from wildfire

Livestock, agriculture and natural resources guide to recovering from wildfire

Don't get burned twice (pdf)

Recovering from wildfire: A guide for California's forest landowners (pdf)

The site also provides information for those whose homes were spared in 2017, but now wish to take precautions to reduce the risk of wildfire damage in the future.

Homeowner's wildfire mitigation guide

Sustainable and fire-safe landscapes

Home survival in wildfire-prone areas (pdf)

Home landscaping for fire (pdf)

Invasive plants and wildfires in Southern California (pdf)

Posted on Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 7:59 PM
Tags: wildfire (15)

UC ANR supporters give over $85,000 on #GivingTuesday

Thanks to everyone who participated, UC ANR's #GivingTuesday campaign was a tremendous success.

“We surpassed our goal of $60,000, raising $85,168,” said Mary Maffly Ciricillo, director of Annual Giving and Individual Gifts. “This is close to a 24 percent increase over last year's Giving Tuesday total of $68,322.”

As an added incentive to potential donors, ANR received over $37,000 in donations toward match challenge funds supporting all of UC ANR programs.

The California 4-H Foundation alone brought in over $32,000. Compared to 2016, there was a 250 percent increase in giving to UC ANR programs – including Master Gardeners, Master Food Preservers, IPM, the REC System, and county offices – totaling over $15,000.

The number of gifts received also rose, from 224 gifts in 2016 to 318 gifts this year. “We even received a gift designated to urban horticulture!” Ciricillo said.

In addition to raising money, the #GivingTuesday social media campaign helped raise the visibility of ANR programs and awareness that programs such as the 4-H Youth Development Program are part of the University of California.

The UC Master Gardener Program team made a video of the unselfies posted on social media by their supporters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xI_tVcNhBcQ.

“We appreciate everyone's cooperation in this fundraising effort and hope we can continue to build on our success for the next #GivingTuesday,” Ciricillo said. “These private funds will help us expand UC ANR's reach.”

Below is a list of funds that donors selected to receive their Giving Tuesday gifts:

  • 4-H Foundation UC Donor Funds
  • 4-H Undesignated
  • Alameda County Master Gardener Fund (Endow)
  • Alameda County UCCE - Master Gardeners
  • ANR - California Naturalist Scholarship Fund
  • ANR - Giving Tuesday Match Fund
  • ANR - Master Food Preservers Fund
  • ANR - Master Gardener Annual Giving Fund
  • ANR Informatics and GIS Fund
  • California Institute for Water Resources
  • Central Sierra - UCCE
  • Colusa County UCCE - Master Gardener Program
  • Contra Costa County UCCE Fund
  • Desert Research and Extension Center FARM SMART Fund
  • El Dorado County UCCE - Master Gardeners
  • El Dorado County UCCE - Rangeland Fund
  • Elkus Ranch Fund
  • Fresno County UCCE
  • Hopland REC Fund
  • Integrated Pest Management Program Fund
  • Kern County - 4-H Program 
  • Kearney Research and Extension Center Fund
  • Los Angeles County UCCE - Master Gardeners
  • Los Angeles County UCCE Fund
  • Lindcove Research and Extension Center
  • Marin Master Gardeners Opportunity Fund
  • Merced County Agriculture Extension and Research Endowment
  • Merced County UCCE - Master Gardener Fund
  • Nutrition Policy Institute General Fund
  • Orange County UCCE - Master Food Preserver Fund
  • Orange County UCCE Fund
  • Plumas County UCCE - Project Learning Tree
  • Research and Extension Center System
  • Riverside County UCCE - Master Gardeners
  • Sacramento County UCCE - Master Gardener Fund
  • San Joaquin County UCCE - Master Gardener Fund
  • San Mateo County - 4-H Program 
  • San Mateo County UCCE - Master Gardener Greenhouse
  • San Mateo County UCCE Fund
  • San Mateo/San Francisco UCCE - Master Gardener Fund
  • San Mateo/SF UCCE - Master Food Preserver
  • Santa Barbara County 4-H
  • Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center Fund
  • Sonoma County UCCE - Citizen Science Projects
  • Statewide Master Gardener Endowment Fund
  • Statewide Program - Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences Program
  • Sutter-Yuba Counties UCCE - Master Gardeners
  • UC California Naturalist Program
  • UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
  • Urban Horticulture
  • Ventura County Master Gardeners
  • Ventura County UCCE - Master Gardener Fund
  • Ventura County UCCE Fund
Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 4:29 PM

UC ANR encourages posting unselfies for #GivingTuesday Nov. 28

On Nov. 28, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources will participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving powered by our social networks. Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season.

Although not as well-known as the shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday appeals to people who are swept up in the spirit of giving at the end of the year. Participants post “unselfies” on social media, as opposed to selfies, stating why they donate. By posting these photos on social media about why they give on #GivingTuesday, donors and volunteers celebrate and encourage giving.

Anyone can post an “unselfie.” Simply visit ucanr.edu/givingtuesday, download and print an unselfie sign that says, “I #UNselfie for ____ #GivingTuesday,” “Together, we can reach for California's greatest potential on this #GivingTuesday” and “I'm donating to UCANR this #GivingTuesday because…” Participants can hold the sign below their face and snap an unselfie to post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other social media with the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #UCANReach.

For UC ANR, #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to raise funds for UC Cooperative Extension county programs, research and extension centers and statewide programs. As a result of the ongoing effects of the drought, recent wildfires and persistent pockets of poverty, California's needs in the coming year will be great, and year-end giving presents an opportunity for donors to assist.

“UC Cooperative Extension professionals have a deep passion for their work and a dedication to the communities they serve,” said Glenda Humiston. University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “While most deliver their research and programs quietly every day, it is especially incredible to witness their response to disaster; for example, recent wildfires saw local UCCE offices responding immediately with vital information for coping with the fires, care for livestock and pets, as well as service in food banks and other volunteer needs.”

In Sonoma County, as residents evacuated during the fires, UC Cooperative Extension staff and 4-H members helped rescue livestock. In Solano County, wildfire took the homes of 17 UC Master Gardener volunteers so the UC Master Gardener Program connected them with volunteers throughout the state who wanted to provide relief.

“UC Master Gardener volunteers are true to their generous nature and have offered tremendous support to fellow volunteers who have lost homes in the fires. With compassionate hearts, they have offered lodging, supplies and words of support,” said Missy Gable, UC Master Gardener Program director. “In the future, we will look to replant what was lost and find healing in the care and establishment of new landscapes and wild spaces.”

For UC ANR stakeholders, #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to support the many research and outreach programs that strengthen California communities each day and more importantly, during times of crisis. 

“The value of the programs cannot be overstated,” Chico farmer Rory Crowley wrote in the Chico Enterprise-Record. “Agriculture is the main economic driver in Butte County, and it is extremely important to support our farmers and ranchers through these initiatives. This year we have a unique opportunity to give back to our Butte County researchers and agriculturists.”

Over $64,000 was raised on #GivingTuesday last year to support UC ANR programs including the 4-H Youth Development Program and UC Master Gardener Program.

“Last year, the 4-H Foundation recorded a 430 percent increase in donations over the previous fiscal year, raising over $30,000 in one day from 37 counties!” said Mary Ciricillo, director of annual giving for UC ANR. This was due in large part to a match challenge from an anonymous donor.

“This year, I'm excited to share that we will have two match challenge funds. One supporting the California 4-H Foundation and one for all UC ANR.” said Ciricillo.

Clicking "Make a Gift" at ucanr.edu/givingtuesday reveals links to all UC ANR programs, research and extension centers and UCCE offices so donors may designate the programs or locations to which they wish to donate.

The UC Master Gardener Giving Tuesday website is at http://mg.ucanr.edu/givingtuesday

The 4-H Youth Development Program also has its own website at http://4h.ucanr.edu/GivingTuesday.

“#GivingTuesday is a fun way for people to show their appreciation for the work their UC ANR friends do,” said Andrea Ambrose, acting director of UC ANR Development Services. “Take an #UNselfie with one of our signs and tell us, your family and friends what inspired you to donate. Remember to use the hashtags #UCANReach, #GivingTuesday and #unselfie!”

Last year UCANR, UC Master Gardeners and 4-H received 224 gifts and hope to surpass that number this year.





Posted on Monday, November 27, 2017 at 8:15 AM

UC IPM’s Farrar briefs legislators on threats to California winegrapes

Jim Farrar, left, updated legislators on pests and diseases that pose a threat to California wine grapes.

Recent surveys in the North Coast have found that 90 percent of the powdery mildew samples collected were resistant to strobulurin fungicides, the director of UC Integrated Pest Management Program told legislators at a joint hearing of the California Assembly and Senate Select Committees on California's Wine Industry. A potential solution is breeding winegrapes to be resistant to powdery mildew, but a drawback is that the wine industry is largely known for its varietals.

“Professor Andy Walker at UC Davis has succeeded in crossing winegrapes with a wild grape species that is naturally resistant to powdery mildew and then crossing the offspring back to the parent winegrape variety for several generations,” said James Farrar, who was invited to speak at the committees' informational hearing on “Fire Recovery and Pest Management Awareness” at UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 7.

Powdery mildew symptoms shown on cabernet sauvignon grapes.
In addition to powdery mildew, he also talked about red blotch virus, which was relatively recently identified in California, and grapevine leafroll associated virus and the mealybug species that transmit the virus. Bob Wynn from the California Department of Food and Agriculture gave an update on Pierce's disease and its vector glassy-winged sharpshooter.

Farrar warned the legislators of increased human health risks due to “unintended consequences of social pressure” on the herbicide glyphosate, which growers use to control weeds under grapevines rather than tilling the soil, to comply with Natural Resources Conservation Service and Salmon Safe guidelines.

“Recent social pressure resulting from the International Agency for Research on Cancer labeling glyphosate a probable human carcinogen and news stories indicating detection of glyphosate in wine have caused some growers to look at other herbicides,” Farrar said. “The other choices are glufosinate, which is more risky to applicators, less effective, and more expensive, and paraquat, which has similar price and effectiveness, but much greater risk to applicators. Paraquat is a restricted-use pesticide that is highly toxic to humans – 3 teaspoons will kill an adult. It has a higher risk ‘Danger' label in contrast to the lower risk ‘Caution' label for glyphosate.

“This is an increased risk to human health as a result of misplaced public perception of risk.”

Farrar closed his comments by saying, “The County Agricultural Commissioners and county-based University of California Cooperative Extension advisors are vital in the continued efforts to manage winegrape pests and diseases. They are the frontline support for growers and pest control advisers in this effort.”

To read the full transcript of Farrar's comments, visit http://ucanr.edu/files/273433.pdf. His handouts on grape pest management are at http://ucanr.edu/files/273434.pdf.


Posted on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 4:05 PM

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