Kirsten Pearsons joined UC Cooperative Extension on March 1 as a small farm advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. She is developing research and extension programs focused on integrating soil health practices and pest management strategies for small-scale farmers and specialty crops.
Prior to joining UC ANR, Pearsons was a postdoctoral researcher at the nonprofit Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, where she focused on studying and promoting organic and regenerative agriculture. She worked on Rodale's long-term Farming Systems Trial, studying how organic and reduced-till field crop production affects long-term farm economics, soil health and water quality compared to conventional practices.
She earned a Ph.D. in entomology at Pennsylvania State University and a B.S. in environmental toxicology at UC Davis.
Pearsons is based in San Luis Obispo and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, (805) 788-9486 (office) and (925) 487-8374 (cell). She will be posting event information and resources for small-scale farms in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties on Instagram @ucceslosmallfarms.
Ricky Satomi joined UCCE Sutter-Yuba on March 15 as an area forestry and natural resources advisor in the Western Sierra Region (Sutter, Yuba, Butte, Nevada and Placer counties). He specializes in forest management with a focus on new technologies and wood products.
Prior to moving to UCCE Sutter-Yuba, Satomi served as a UCCE area forest advisor working on forestry and youth education issues for Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou counties.
Satomi earned a Master of Forestry looking at the cost efficiency of forest mastication treatments, and a B.S. in forestry & natural resources and society & environment, both from UC Berkeley. He has also worked as a field forester working on various inventory and timber management programs throughout California.
In the coming year, he hopes to offer workshops for forest landowners and professionals around novel GIS tools, climate-smart silvicultural practices, reforestation best practices, and workforce development opportunities.
Satomi is based in Yuba City and can be reached at (530) 822-6213 or email@example.com.
Cameron Barreto joined UC ANR as a senior contracts and grants officer on April 14. He will be working with the Office of Contracts and Grants to assist UC ANR researchers with the submission and management of their proposals and awards for sponsored research.
Prior to joining UC ANR, he was a research services coordinator with UC San Francisco Office of Sponsored Research for three years assisting the Pediatrics Department and participating in several extramural groups including serving as co-chair of the Office of Sponsored Research Council and Gallup Engagement Survey officer.
He earned a B.A. in history from the University of Rochester in upstate New York.
Barreto is based at the ANR Building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1368 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danny Won is the new program assistant for the UC Master Gardener Program statewide office. He has been with UC ANR since 2015, working as an administrative assistant for the UC Integrated Pest Management Program.
Won will be supporting the UC Master Gardener Program by managing inventory and shipping and overseeing volunteers' annual reappointment, California Department of Food and Agriculture licenses, program purchases, and many other projects. He will continue to provide support to UC IPM for events and workshops. His new office is located in the ANR building at space #102 and he can be reached at email@example.com.
Steven Worker, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for 4-H youth development in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties, received the 2022 Scholar Award from the American Educational Research Association's Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group.
The Scholar Award recognizes outstanding research in the out-of-school time field and honors a scholar in the early to middle stages of their career.
Worker, who became a 4-H advisor in 2016, was recognized for excellence, creativity and intentionality in contributing to the out-of-school-time learning field. His research efforts have focused on (1) youth development with an emphasis on adapting, piloting and evaluating youth development program models that integrate culturally relevant practices to engage culturally diverse youth; (2) science learning that engages youth in personally meaningful experiences situated in authentic community activities; and (3) exploring factors involved with improving volunteer educator competence and confidence to facilitate high-quality youth development.
Worker strives to improve the cultural relevancy of youth development programs to make them more welcoming to marginalized youth. Applying his research findings, Worker organizes activities to engage youth in STEM. During the pandemic, he created ways for children to learn and socialize safely by meeting online to build motorboats and view livestock presentations in person at a drive-through animal science day. In May, he will host the North Bay Science Discovery Day.
Ellen Bruno, UC Cooperative Extension economics specialist at UC Berkeley, is a recipient of the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) 2021 New Innovator in Food & Agriculture Research Award, an award granted to early career scientists supporting research in one of FFAR's Challenge Areas.
FFAR's New Innovator in Food & Agriculture Research Award provides early-career scientists with funding to focus on food and agriculture research without the pressure of securing additional funding. Each applicant can receive up to $150,000 per year for a maximum of three years.
Meeting future food needs requires effectively managing scarce groundwater. California is addressing this problem through the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which ensures better groundwater use and management. Bruno's research is using the act as a case study to identify policies that enhance water sustainability and minimize regulation costs.
Kocher, Ingram win educational materials awards
One award was for the Forest Stewardship Education Newsletter in the “Newsletters or Series of Articles” category and another award in the “TV or Video” category for their four-part series of Forest Inventory videos. Ingram and Kocher share the video award with Kestrel Grevatt, a GrizzlyCorps Fellow.
Susie Kocher explains in a video how forest landowners can manage their forest land and take an inventory of trees in their forest.
- Author: Christina Harrington, student assistant
A delegation of 12 UC ANR staff, academics, volunteers and stakeholders visited state legislators in Sacramento on April 19 for UC ANR Advocacy Day to share how UC ANR's work delivers local, place-based education, outreach and programming to serve communities throughout the state.
Anne Megaro, government and community relations director, and Christina Harrington, student assistant, UC Master Gardener and graduate of the UC California Naturalist Program, organized meetings with Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Senator John Laird, Assembly Member Devon Mathis, and staff members in many legislative offices.
The delegation thanked them for investing in ongoing funding in last year's state budget and shared their stories of serving community members, farmers, ranchers, youth and natural resource managers in their regions.
Vice President Glenda Humiston and Mark Bell, Vice Provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, led two teams, which included Sarah-Mae Nelson, UC Climate Stewards initiative academic coordinator; Kamal Khaira, director of CalFresh Healthy Living, UC; UCCE advisors Igor Lacan, Mae Culumber and Dorina Espinoza; 4-H Youth State Ambassadors Megna Nayar and Sara Tibbets; and Clio Tarazi, UC Master Gardener volunteer.
The teams urged legislators to support several key budget requests as part of Governor Newsom's proposed FY 2022-23 state budget. These budget commitments would support UC's much-needed capital projects at Research and Extension Centers and Elkus Ranch to expand capacity for research and programming, as well as investments for UC climate action and resiliency projects that will advance climate research and workforce development programs for students and community members.
The UC ANR representatives invited the legislators to visit for tours and events to see UC ANR at work in their districts firsthand.
Big Dig Day is now called “UC ANR Giving Day” and will run from noon to noon on May 19-20. The new name is designed to be more inclusive of the breadth of UC ANR programs. This will be UC ANR's fourth proprietary spring giving day and will be sponsored by Tri Counties Bank.
Join us for 24 hours of giving to raise funds for your project or program for the benefit of more Californians.
Some of the projects funded by recent giving day donations include demonstration gardens, outreach teaching supplies and youth scholarships.
Donors are invited to give to counties, Research and Extension Centers, and programs. When you click “GIVE” on our website http://donate.ucanr.edu/givingday, fund choices appear in the drop-down menus. If you would like to add or change a gift fund at https://donate.ucanr.edu, please submit requests to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 1.
How to participate
- Register your participation at https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=37127 and receive gift notifications.
- Get promotional resources from the Campaign-In-A-Box Toolkit.
- Send your edits to gift funds to email@example.com by May 1.
- View the recorded webinar: “UC ANR Giving Day: Creating A More Inclusive Brand for Big Dig Day.”
- Donor Challenge: $500 prize to the 10 funds that have the greatest number of unique donors for UC ANR Giving Day!
- Donation Challenge: $500 prize to the first 4 funds that secure an individual $500+ donation on UC ANR Giving Day!
- In-It-To-Win-It Challenge: $500 prize to the fund that raises the most on UC ANR Giving Day!
Only online gifts made between noon on May 19 and 11:59 a.m. on May 20 qualify toward prize challenge awards. Donations can be made at http://donate.ucanr.edu/givingday.
For more information, please contact Emily Delk, director of Annual Giving & Donor Stewardship, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 564-4862.
Two UC Cooperative Extension scientists have been selected as Presidential Chairs for Tree Nuts at University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Giulia Marino, UCCE specialist, will be the Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Genetics and Mae Culumber, UCCE nut crops advisor, will be the Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Soil Science and Plant Water Relations, announced Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
The endowed chairs will give the two scientists a dedicated source of funding for five years for their ongoing agricultural research. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources established the two $1 million endowments in 2015. Half of the funds for the endowed chairs was donated by the California Pistachio Research Board and the other half was provided by UC Office of the President.
“The California Pistachio Research Board appreciated the opportunity to create these Presidential Chairs with the dedicated flexible funding it provides the scientists,” said Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board. “Mae and Giulia have stellar research records, have a history of research on California pistachios, and deserved both consideration and the award of these Chairs. The Board was pleased with the previous incumbents and is now looking forward to working with both Giulia and Mae in their programs on Genetics and Soil Science/Water Relations.”
“The funding from the presidential chair of tree nuts genetics will allow me to evaluate the horticultural and physiological performance of some promising new scion-rootstock options stemming from the UC pistachio breeding program developed by Craig Kallsen, UCCE farm advisor for Kern County, and Dan Parfitt, UC Davis professor emeritus,” Marino said.
“The program has the objectives of increasing the genetic diversity of the scion and rootstock cultivars used by the pistachio industry to improve grower returns and reduce its susceptibility to climate change,” Marino continued. “Rootstock projects include novel rootstocks more tolerant of boron in irrigation water, dwarfing rootstocks for higher early yields and more efficient use of pruning and harvest inputs. Scion objectives include novel scions for higher yield and trees less sensitive to inadequate winter chilling.”
One of her current research lines focuses on the characterization of low vigor cultivars and/or rootstocks to increase orchard planting density and reduce management costs in olive, pistachio and almond. She develops protocols for irrigation management based on genotype-specific physiological responses to water stress. Marino also studies the impact of saline sodic soil conditions on pistachio physiology and of low winter chill on cherry and pistachio tree and fruit physiology.
Marino earned a doctoral degree in fruit and forestry tree systems and master's and bachelor's degrees in agricultural science, all from the University of Palermo in Italy.
“As Presidential Chair, I will utilize these generous funds from the Pistachio Research Board to augment my collaborative outreach extension and applied research efforts to understand
and develop solutions to soil and water quality problems faced by pistachio growers and other nut crop producers across the San Joaquin Valley,” Culumber said.
She is collaborating on a CDFA Fertilizer Research and Education Program project that provides irrigation and nitrogen management training for certified crop advisors and growers to adopt practices that conserve water and protect water quality. She is also studying how to improve estimates of crop evapotranspiration and forecasting for major California crops for more precise irrigation. Culumber is leading research on the effects of whole orchard recycling on air quality and climate resilience, soil health, tree growth and productivity in second-generation orchards.
Culumber earned a Ph.D. in soil science and agroecology and a master's in plant science and molecular ecology, both from Utah State University, and a bachelor's in biology from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Bruce D. Lampinen, UC Cooperative Extension integrated orchard management, walnut and almond specialist in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, received the first Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Soil Science and Plant Water Relations. Craig Kallsen, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Kern County who specializes in fruit and nut crops, received the Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Genetics.
As UC Agriculture and Natural Resources strives to extend its information to more Californians, Strategic Communications has begun using Facebook Live.
The platform has allowed engagement with members of the public who aren't familiar with UC Cooperative Extension, according to Doralicia Garay, UC ANR's social media strategist. She encourages UCCE advisors and educators to consider it as another outreach tool.
She recommends two or three people deliver a 10- to 15-minute presentation, followed by a Q&A session.
“Take advantage of this great opportunity to share research results, practical information, and innovative solutions with our online community,” Garay said. “On average, Facebook Live sessions on UC ANR's page reach 3,000 users and yield user-generated questions. Once the live session is complete, you can share the video on your own platforms.”
The first Facebook Live was held in August during the Caldor Fire as part of an award-winning wildfire preparedness campaign. The wildfire Facebook Live featured UCCE forestry advisors Susie Kocher in the Central Sierra and Yana Valachovic in Humboldt-Del Norte and Steve Quarles, emeritus UCCE wood durability advisor, to raise awareness of UC ANR fire tools and resources. While they received a dozen questions from the live audience, cross-promoting the Facebook Live across all social media platforms resulted in 3,000 impressions after the event.
“The wildfire recording remains on UC ANR's Facebook page so people searching for wildfire information on Facebook can find it,” Garay said.
To reach underserved, urban Black and Latino communities, Garay and Conor McCabe, UC ANR's Global Food Initiative fellow, recently organized a nutrition Facebook Live on how to find healthy food options that fit your lifestyle. Over the lunch break on April 7, Javier Miramontes, UC Extended Food and Nutrition Education Program nutrition and program supervisor for Orange County; Aba Ramirez; UC adult EFNEP nutrition educator for Los Angeles County; and Mary Blackburn, UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for Alameda County; gave a webinar. The recording was promoted to Facebook users in urban zip codes.
“Over 30 people tuned into the Facebook Live and 23,000 watched the recording after it was distributed targeting specific urban zip codes,” McCabe said.
For more information about using Facebook Live, contact Garay at email@example.com.