- Author: Adina Merenlender, UC Cooperative Extension Specialist
- Author: Mary Tran, Spring 2021 intern and recent B.S. graduate, San Francisco State University
Field research in agricultural and natural resource science has been ongoing at UC Research and Extension Centers for over 70 years, making an impact on the food we eat and the management practices we recommend. What afforded us the opportunity to have these living laboratories? The University of California is a land grant institution and is directly linked with the federal Morrill Act of 1862, also known as the Land-Grant College Act. The Act granted land mostly taken from indigenous tribes to states that used the proceeds from the sale of these lands to fund colleges specializing in agriculture and the mechanical arts.
A recent article in High Country News, “Land-Grab Universities,” provides interactive spatial data revealing the direct connection between the ~10.7 million acres of stolen Indigenous land and land-grant institutions. Many of these Morrill Act parcels were in California and, thanks to Andy Lyons at UC ANR's IGIS, we can readily view the overlap between UC land and these parcels in a geographic information system.
We created an ESRI Story Map to provide a synoptic history of the land that Hopland Research and Extension Center currently occupies before it became part of the University of California. The map is the result of a collaborative effort that included the UC ANR Native American Community Partnerships Work Group, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, Hopland REC staff, local long-time residents, and UC ANR IGIS. Our hope is that educators, researchers, land owners, and other Hopland community members will learn about the historical context in which Hopland REC was founded, and develop a sense of appreciation and admiration for the land we study, as well as the uncomfortable historical context which led to its current use and ownership.
This story map builds on an acknowledgement of the Shóqowa and Hopland People on whose traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands we work, educate and learn, and whose historical and spiritual relationship with these lands continues to this day. It contains some details on the Indigenous history, a brief history of the Spanish-Mexican land grant and other facts from the early colonial period, a timeline of notable events, and ways Hopland REC and neighboring Indigenous communities are collaborating to foster a sincere and mutually beneficial relationship for the land and the community.
Please explore Hopland REC's land history. If you are interested in building your own land history story map, see our methods in the reference section.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Emily Delk joined the Development Services team in August as the director of Annual Giving and Donor Stewardship Programs.
She brings fundraising and event planning experience from a broad background of nonprofit organizations including the Crocker Art Museum, Sutter Health, and Fairytale Town. Earlier this year, Delk was selected as one of 10 development professionals to compete for cash and in-kind support through a public-speaking program called Fast Pitch, where she earned high praise and won top prizes.
She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in communications from Chapman University in Orange.
Delk is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1346 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Akif Eskalen, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist whose research focuses on plant pathology at UC Riverside, has accepted a new position at UC Davis. He will be filling the position of his late mentor, Doug Gubler. From now on, he will work on grapes, strawberries, caneberries, blueberries and other tree fruits.
“Akif has been instrumental in bringing new light to the understanding of such basic disease problems as citrus twig and shoot dieback, citrus botryosphaeria branch canker, citrus dry root rot and ‘Fukumoto' foamy bark (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/citrusdiseases.html),” wrote Ben Faber, UCCE advisor in Ventura County, in the Topics for Subtropics blog. “He has cleared up the mysteries surrounding avocado black streak, dothiorella branch canker and avocado stem and leaf blight. His studies have also covered oak diseases that are exacerbated by invasive pests (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/handouts/oakwoodlandsdiseasesmanagement.pdf).”
Eskalen and John Kabashima, UCCE advisor emeritus, recently received the Award of Arboricultural Research from the Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture, recognizing their research on the polyphagous shot hole borer, a beetle that is causing severe fusarium dieback damage to avocado and landscape trees in Southern California (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/pshb.html).
Eskalen can be reached at 267 Hutchison Hall at UC Davis and email@example.com.
Mark Hoddle and Richard Stouthamer have been elected 2018 fellows of the Entomological Society of America, the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and individuals in related disciplines.
Hoddle and Stouthamer are among 10 new fellows elected by the Governing Board of the ESA, an honor that acknowledges outstanding contributions to entomology in research, teaching, extension and outreach, administration or the military.
Hoddle, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist and director of UC Riverside's Center for Invasive Species Research, is known for his work on the biological control of invasive arthropods that adversely affect agricultural, urban and wilderness areas.
Stouthamer, a UC Riverside professor of entomology, is known for his research on wolbachia, invasive species and insect-transmitted plant pathogens.
The fellows will be recognized during Entomology 2018, the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada and British Columbia, Nov. 11-14, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Merenlender elected California Academy of Sciences fellow
In a nominating letter, UC Berkeley biology professor Claire Kremen called Merenlender “an accomplished and impactful conservation biologist.”
Merenlender's work spans an array of topics, from genes to ecosystems and single species management to regional land use planning. Currently she is involved in three main research efforts:
- Land use planning to support biodiversity conservation and climate resilience in California oak woodlands
- Watershed restoration and sustainable watershed management in Mediterranean ecosystems
- Development of effective citizen science and amateur naturalist and steward training programs with lasting benefits for biodiversity conservation
According to the academy, the scientists elected as fellows have shown strong evidence of world-class impact, measured through publications, discoveries and awards. Merelender has published more than 80 papers in conservation biology, including co-writing the book “Corridor Ecology: the science and practice of linking landscapes for biodiversity conservation.” In 2016, Merenlender was recognized for her extension and outreach when she won the UC ANR Distinguished Service Award.
In its selection criteria for fellows, the academy notes that potential candidates are engaged in science communication efforts.
Merenlender is founder and director of the UC California Naturalist program. The program launched in 2012 with five partner institutions and has grown into a network of more than 37 partners. They have collectively offered more than 100 certification courses, training 1,864 naturalists who have contributed more than 100,000 volunteer hours, reaching 53,000 people.
Building on the success of the California Naturalist program, Merenlender is designing a Climate Stewards program to provide outreach, training and engagement with diverse audiences on climate change science and policy. The Climate Stewards advisory team has set the goal of launching the program in 2019.
“As an extension scientist, (Merenlender) is strongly attuned to the importance of conducting research with direct relevance to contemporary environmental challenges and to connecting research with conservation on the ground,” wrote UC Berkeley professor David Ackerly in a letter seconding Merenlender's nomination to be a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. – Jeannette Warnert
UC communicators bring home gold, silver and bronze
Six communicators affiliated with UC Davis and UC ANR received a total of 10 awards for excellence from the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE).
They brought home five gold or first-place awards: three silver or second-place awards; and two bronze or third-place awards. “That was quite a haul!” commented an ACE member on Facebook.
Diane Nelson, communication specialist with the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, won two golds. One was for promotional writing, “Weighing Pig Personality,” (https://bit.ly/2KDdYmQ), featuring animal science professor Kristina Horback's pioneering research examining the role personality plays in the welfare and sustainable production of pigs. The second gold was for web writing, “The Last Stop: When There's Nowhere Colder to Go,” (https://bit.ly/2M6iOOR), spotlighting research by animal science professor Anne Todgham, who studies how climate change affects polar species. Both of Nelson's submissions drew perfect scores from the judges.
Kathy Keatley Garvey, communication specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won gold for best newswriting, “Why These Youngsters Want to Become Entomologists” (https://bit.ly/2sYwhye), about children of California migratory workers touring the Bohart Museum of Entomology and then staging a press conference to interview director Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology. Judges awarded the news story a perfect score. Garvey also received a silver in the writing-for-the-web category for her Bug Squad blog post, “Once Upon a Monarch” (https://bit.ly/2BrePU5). She writes the blog, launched in 2008, every night, Monday through Friday, on the UC ANR website.
David Slipher, director of marketing and communications for the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, won gold for best picture story for his piece on “Pigeon Parenting” (https://bit.ly/2KCfCoN), focusing on research from the Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez lab. Calisi Rodríguez is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior.
Steve Elliot, communication coordinator for the Western Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center, won two silvers and a bronze: a silver for his photo essay, “America's Arctic Agriculture: Growing Crops, Managing Pests and Monitoring Invasives in Alaska” (https://bit.ly/2OS2Vtc); silver for the diversity awards video category, “Gold Spotted Oak Borer: A Threat to California's Oaks” (https://youtu.be/In2e5atd3ZY); and a bronze for the Western IPM Center's monthly newsletter, “The Western Front” (https://bit.ly/2M5mL6s). The center, a USDA-funded program, aims to promote smart, safe and sustainable pest management to protect the people, environment and economy of the American West, encompassing 17 western states and territories.
Gregory Watry, science writer for the College of Biological Sciences, won a bronze award in the “Writing for Diverse Audiences” (https://bit.ly/2M4Nq3o) in a diversity awards category. The story described undergraduate research opportunities in Calisi Rodriguez's lab.
ACE is a worldwide association of communicators, educators and information technologists, offers professional development and networking for individuals who extend knowledge about agriculture, natural resources, and life and human sciences. The awards were presented Aug. 7 at the 2018 Ag Media Summit held in Scottsdale, Ariz., where ACE members joined forces with U.S. crop and livestock news media professionals. – Kathy Keatley Garvey
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Natalie Price joined UC ANR on April 3, 2017, as the nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for Los Angeles and Orange counties. She will work with local organizations and school districts to provide culturally sensitive nutrition education and programs. In addition, Price will collaborate with the larger ANR team of nutrition researchers to address issues related to health and food security.
Before joining ANR, Price worked as a nutrition specialist for the Los Angeles County Office of Education. She worked with school districts to implement fruit and vegetable taste tests, train staff, and create new wellness policies and committees.
Price earned a master's degree in public health/community health sciences and a bachelor's degree in international development studies, both from UCLA.
Price is based at the UCCE Los Angeles County office in Alhambra and can be reached at (626) 586-1948 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The California Society for Range Management honored Stephanie Larson, UC Cooperative Extension director and livestock and range management advisor in Sonoma County, naming her Range Manager of the Year at the Cal-Pac Society for Range Management meeting April 4, 2017.
The award recognizes her years of research and extension work, conducting a diverse program that focuses on animal husbandry, rangeland ecosystem services and development of niche markets for local livestock producers. Larson helped local rangeland owners develop water quality plans and comply with Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) regulations. She initiated a “Notice of Intent” system for Tomales Bay watershed land owners that documents water quality and best management practices. This system has been adopted by the Regional Water Quality Control Board and was later extended to Napa and Sonoma Creek watersheds.
With nearly 1 million acres of rangeland in Sonoma and Marin counties, Larson works with rangeland owners and managers to develop strong stewardship principals and best management practices. Larson assesses ecosystem service management and is currently exploring payments for services, such as carbon sequestration, water capture and biodiversity. During her career she has conducted hundreds of local education meetings on livestock production, animal identification, biosecurity, wool marketing, livestock judging, predator control including non-lethal methods, parasite control, range weed management, riparian management, water quality, electric fencing, ranch and grazing planning, estate planning, soil health, vegetation monitoring, grass-fed and organic certification, and grazing for endangered species. Larson also teaches range management at Santa Rosa Junior College. She served as a board member, then president of the Cal-Pac Section and as a board member for the national society 2010–2013.
David Lewis, UC Cooperative Extension watershed advisor for Marin County, is this year's recipient of the Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award.
For 17 years, Lewis has served as a UC Cooperative Extension advisor, helping farmers, ranchers, conservationists and other stakeholders solve challenging and contentious issues surrounding the health of their watersheds.
The Bradford Rominger award, given by the Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) at UC Davis, honors individuals who exhibit the leadership, work ethic and integrity epitomized by the late Eric Bradford, a livestock geneticist who gave 50 years of service to UC Davis, and the late Charlie Rominger, a fifth-generation Yolo County farmer and land preservationist.
“David epitomizes the very fiber of character that this award celebrates,” said Kenneth Tate, Russell L. Rustici Endowed Chair in Rangeland Watershed Science at UC Davis and 2012 Bradford Rominger award recipient. Tate praised Lewis's ability to “put his quiet, honest, credible manner to good work” to help build trust and understanding so communities can have frank discussions about the challenges facing their watersheds.
Lewis's accomplishments include helping to reduce the dairy pollution hurting the oyster beds of Tomales Bay and helping ranchers reduce erosion on their property, letting them play a key role in conserving critical coho salmon habitat and protecting the water quality of North Coast rivers.
Lewis received the award at the “Shepherds of Sustainability: Celebrating Leadership in Watersheds, Rangeland, and Livestock Sustainability” event held in Davis on April 19, 2017.
Helen Dahlke, UC Davis professor in the Department of Land, Air and Water, is one of 10 leaders in water education, outreach and extension selected to be a ThinkWater fellow for 2017–2018. The ThinkWater fellowship builds a cohort of scholars and professionals engaged with water-related issues and teaches them how to apply systems thinking to their ongoing work. The fellows work in positions that allow them to integrate systems thinking into program design, education and outreach involving a broad range of audiences, such as farmers, community members, volunteers and youth.
Fellows will learn from Derek and Laura Cabrera, faculty at Cornell University and founders of Cabrera Research Lab, a proven method for teaching the universal rules underlying systems thinking approaches and methods that is suitable for all ages and populations. While learning and applying systems thinking, the fellows will be participating in a research study to determine the utility of the relatively brief but intensive systems thinking training for education, extension and outreach activities around complex water-related issues.
The fellows will develop and implement a comprehensive plan to integrate systems thinking into their water education, extension and outreach work in the geographic area they serve.
Adina Merenlender, UCCE specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, was elected President-elect for the Society for Conservation Biology.
Merenlender hopes to focus on increasing SCB's engagement with people who do conservation practice on the ground and to work with SCB's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee to engage more people who are not currently represented in environmental science in SCB. She also hopes to work with SCB's new executive director on financial sustainability at the global, section and chapter level.
The Society for Conservation Biology is an international professional organization dedicated to promoting the scientific study of the phenomena that affect the maintenance, loss and restoration of biological diversity. The society's membership comprises a wide range of people interested in the conservation and study of biological diversity: resource managers, educators, government and private conservation workers and students.
Awards were given in five categories:
- Outstanding Research – Diane Barrett, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Food Science & Technology at UC Davis, whose research program benefits both the California food processing industry as well as consumers of processed fruits and vegetables.
- Outstanding Extension – Adina Merenlender, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, who designed and developed the California Naturalist Program to bring an awareness of land use issues to Californians.
- Outstanding New Academic – Brad Hanson, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, whose research and extension program for weed management in woody perennial crops has gained recognition on state, national and international levels.
- Outstanding Team – the European Grapevine Moth Team:
o Walter Bentley – UC Integrated Pest Management entomologist emeritus
o Larry Bettiga, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Monterey County
o Monica Cooper, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Napa County
o Kent Daane, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley
o Rhonda Smith, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Sonoma County
o Joyce Strand, IPM academic coordinator emeritus
o Robert Van Steenwyk, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley
o Lucia Varela, UC Cooperative Extension area IPM advisor in the North Coast
o Frank Zalom, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Entomology at UC Davis
The team is an excellent example of UC ANR working with government and industry partners under the Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases Strategic Initiative.
- Outstanding Leader – Peter Goodell, UC Cooperative Extension IPM advisor, Kearney Research and Agricultural Extension Center, whose leadership throughout his 35-year career has contributed to the success of the Statewide IPM Program. He has led the IPM advisors, first as IPM advisor coordinator for 12 years, and more recently as associate director for Agricultural IPM. As interim director 2006 to 2009, Goodell provided consistency during a time of budgetary challenges and leadership vacuum, and was a leader in the Western Region IPM coordinators group, where he promoted greater state collaboration in IPM research and extension. He has been a thought leader in the application of techniques from the social sciences to the extension challenge of changing people's actions.
The DSA nominations were reviewed by the Academic Assembly Council Program Committee, which sent its recommendations to the vice president. The committee was chaired by Becky Westerdahl and included Keith Nathaniel, Susie Kocher and Jennifer Heguy.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The UC ANR California Naturalist program received a national honor in September, being named the “program of the year” by the Alliance for Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP). California Naturalist associate director Sabrina Drill, the UC ANR Cooperative Extension natural resources advisor in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, attended the ANROSP annual conference in Tennessee to accept the award and lead a roundtable discussion on increasing diversity through collaborations with community colleges and conservation corps.
The program of the year award comes three years after California Naturalist began certifying naturalists and one year after its status in UC ANR was elevated to statewide program.
“When we were recognized by UC ANR as a statewide program, we arrived in the sphere of Cooperative Extension in California, and now, with this award, we've arrived at the national level,” Drill said.
In recent months, the California Naturalist program has posted a number of achievements:
- The organization passed the milestone of 1,000 certified naturalists, who have, combined, logged more than 30,000 volunteer hours.
- The number of partner organizations has grown from five in 2012 to 28 in 2015.
- The first biennial statewide California Naturalist conference attracted 200 participants in 2014. The second conference is scheduled for September 2016.
- A new academic coordinator, Gregory Ira, was hired. He is based at the UC ANR facility in Davis.
- A new California Naturalist online portal was established to log volunteer hours and serve as a communication and collaboration tool.
- New bio-region modules are being written to accompany the California Naturalist Handbook, a textbook for certification classes.
- A comprehensive instructor training manual has been completed.