Jeannette Warnert will retire July 1 after serving 31 years as a communications specialist for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The editor of Western Farm Press, Tim Hearden, expressed his appreciation for Warnert's media relations expertise, writing, “We'll miss Jeannette's work and the help she's provided over the years.”
Communications methods have rapidly evolved over the past three decades. To ANR's benefit, Warnert has been an enthusiastic early adopter, figuring out how to use new media to deliver ANR news.
“When I started with UC ANR, there was no internet and no email,” Warnert said. “We photocopied news releases and mailed them to media, who transcribed them if they wanted to use the material. Film was dropped off at a lab, which provided us a proof sheet from which we could select black-and-white prints to mail to the media. Our jobs evolved rapidly and we had to continually update our skills as new technologies were introduced over the years.”
Along the way, she tutored her colleagues to use the World Wide Web and social media to disseminate information.
“I'm continually impressed by Jeannette's work ethic, can-do attitude, the quality of her writing, and her willingness to take on new projects,” said Linda Forbes, Strategic Communications director. “She is incredibly organized, always reliable, has great ideas and she's passionate about ANR's mission and people.”
Before joining UC ANR, Warnert worked as a reporter at a small daily newspaper in Los Angeles, in a hospital public relations department and in public relations for Toyota Motor Sales. After marrying and moving to Fresno, she worked briefly for the Fresno Fair and Radio Bilingue, then accepted the UC ANR public information representative job in 1990.
“I've enjoyed the opportunity to learn about agricultural science and work with so many intelligent and dedicated academics and staff,” Warnert said. “Knowing about the work of UC ANR makes me hopeful about the future, even as we face so many threats like drought, wildfire, climate change, invasive pests, etc. I especially enjoyed covering conservation agriculture for more than 20 years with stories about the potential for no-till and cover crops to improve soil health, sequester carbon, reduce dust emissions and use less water while maintaining farms' economic viability.”
Jeff Mitchell, UC Cooperative Extension conservation agriculture specialist based at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, described her as a “wonderful encourager and lifelong very good friend.”
“I consider Jeannette Warnert one of the exceptionally valuable workgroup colleagues that we could have ever had,” Mitchell said. “She was ever-ready in the trenches during our early formative days with superbly crafted communications, clear advice and guidance on outreach issues, and just an all-around level-headed colleague. She contributed so much to all that we have done over the years.”
Warnert, whose parents immigrated from The Netherlands, is fluent in conversational Spanish and often collaborated with the News and Information Outreach in Spanish team.
“Jeannette is one of a kind and will be truly missed,” said NOS' Lisa Rawleigh. “She has been a very helpful coworker with such a cheerful attitude and professionalism. She has done so much for us at NOS. I especially will cherish the meetings in Riverside when we were trying to get our webpage started and our conversations in Spanish talking about our kids and family vacations.”
In retirement, Warnert plans to spend more time with family – including her baby granddaughter and 90-year-old mother. “I hope to volunteer with the California Naturalist program and plan to apply to be a UC Master Gardener volunteer in Fresno County when the next class opens,” she said. “I'm also looking forward to more traveling, hiking, gardening, knitting, sewing and cooking.”