- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Gerardo Spinelli joined UC Cooperative Extension in San Diego County as a production horticulture advisor on Oct. 12, 2020. He will work with nurseries, floriculture and controlled environment plant production.
Prior to joining UCCE San Diego, Spinelli worked for the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz county since 2015 in irrigation and nitrogen management for strawberry and lettuce. He collaborated with Michael Cahn, UCCE advisor and technical expert for the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency's conservation program, to promote the adoption of CropManage to optimize nitrogen and irrigation in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.
He has also worked on nutrient and pest management in vegetables, lettuce hydroponic production and anaerobic soil disinfestation in banana at University of Hawaii, Manoa, and was a UCCE farm advisor for irrigation and vegetables in Stanislaus County. He also worked in Honduras on an irrigation development project providing technical assistance for smallholder corn and watermelon growers, and in London designing and installing landscape irrigation systems. He also lived in Lebanon, where he introduced integrated pest management in apple and olive production, rebuilt irrigation channels for tobacco and vegetable growers, began a queen bee breeding program and built sewage lines for the Wavel refugee camp.
Spinelli grew up in Italy on an olive and vegetable farm on the hills overlooking Florence and is fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish.
He earned a B.S. in agronomy, an M.S. in tropical agriculture at the University of Florence, and a Master of International Agricultural Development and Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy at UC Davis, focusing on plant physiology and water stress in almond orchards.
Spinelli is based in San Diego and can be reached at (858) 822-7679 and email@example.com.
Douglas Amaral joined UCCE in Kings and Tulare as pomology, water and soils advisor on Oct. 1, 2020.
Before joining UCCE, Amaral was a project scientist and postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. His research has focused on the physiology and biochemistry of plant nutrient uptake, and molecular and genetic aspects of nutrient acquisition and tolerance in citrus, almonds, pistachios and other crops.
Amaral, who was born and raised in Brazil, is fluent in Portuguese and English. He earned a Ph.D. in plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware, an M.S. in plant nutrition and soil fertility at Federal University of Lavras, Brazil, and a B.S. in biological sciences at University Center of Lavras, Brazil.
Amaral is based in Hanford and can be reached at (559) 852-2737 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
UCCE poster, newsletters win NACAA awards
Three California state winning entries received national recognition at the recent annual meeting and professional improvement conferences of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) held virtually in late September and early October.
Michael Rethwisch, UCCE field crops advisor for Riverside County, and student assistant Kassandra Allan won a national NACAA award for their applied research poster, “Dingy cutworm pheromone lures are not highly attractive to the closely related granulate cutworm.” Rethwisch was also selected to give a presentation on comparative insecticide efficacy for lygus bug control.
The UC Dairy Newsletter was a national finalist entry and western regional winner in the Team Newsletter competition. UCCE advisors Jennifer Heguy, Daniela Bruno, Joy Hollingsworth and Betsy Karle collaborate on the newsletter.
The University of California Cooperative Extension Subtropical Horticulture News by Sonia Rios, UCCE subtropical horticulture advisor for Riverside and San Diego counties, was the western regional winner for individual newsletter.
Cheryl Wilen, UCCE integrated pest management advisor emeritus for San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties, received the 2020 Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture award by the California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA).
The Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture award recognizes individuals or organizations that have made a significant contribution to California agriculture. The former leader of UC ANR's Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases Strategic Initiative is known for her research and development of integrated pest management strategies for the turf, ornamental horticulture and nursery industries. Over the course of her career, Wilen has helped reduce the use of toxic pesticides, cut the cost of pest control and promote the use of environmentally sound methods in production.
Wilen, who retired from her 25-year UC ANR career in July, received the award during CAPCA's virtual annual conference on Oct. 12. She is currently on recall to serve as interim director for UCCE in San Diego.
4-H Youth Retention Study Team receives national award
The 4-H Youth Retention Study Team received the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Professionals' “Susan Barkman Award for Research and Evaluation” Oct. 20, during the association's virtual conference.
The Youth Retention Study examined the retention and drop-out rates (nearly 50%) of first year 4-H members over a seven-year period to understand why youth leave the 4-H program. They found a lack of communication and the inability to understand and navigate the 4-H program contributed to attrition. These findings led to development of a handbook for families to navigate the 4-H program and a Project Leader Checklist for implementing the 4-H project experience.
While the study focused on California, the team has engaged multiple states in an effort to document the national scope of this issue, and used the data to develop tools and strategies for addressing and extending that information through peer-reviewed articles, workshops and training.
The Youth Retention Study Team includes
- JoLynn Miller, UCCE advisor for the Central Sierra
- Kendra Lewis, University of New Hampshire State Specialist for Youth & Family Resiliency and former UCCE academic coordinator for evaluation for UC ANR Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program
- Marianne Bird, UCCE advisor for the Capital Corridor
- John Borba, UCCE advisor in Kern County
- Claudia Diaz-Carrasco, UCCE advisor for Riverside and San Bernardino counties
- Dorina Espinoza, UCCE advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties
- Russell Hill, UCCE advisor for Merced, Mariposa and Madera counties
- Car Mun Kok, UCCE advisor for Lake and Mendocino counties
- Sue Manglallan, UCCE advisor emeritus in San Diego County
- Kali Trzesniewski, UCCE specialist in UC Davis Department of Human & Community Development
Ronald becomes first woman to receive World Agriculture Prize
Pam Ronald, a UC Davis distinguished professor, whose work has revolutionized plant molecular genetics, has become the first woman to receive the World Agriculture Prize.
Ronald is recognized for her history of major discoveries in plant molecular genetics. In 1995, she isolated a key immune receptor that revealed a new mechanism with which plants and animals detect and respond to infection. Her discovery in 2006, with UC Davis plant scientist David Mackill, of a rice submergence tolerance gene facilitated the development of high-yielding, flood-tolerant rice varieties that have benefited millions of farmers in South and Southeast Asia.
The award ceremony will be virtually held at 5 p.m. on Nov. 30 from Nanjing Agricultural University, Jiangsu Province, China.
Read the full story by Amy Quinton at https://caes.ucdavis.edu/news/plant-pathologist-pamela-ronald-named-gchera-world-agriculture-prize-laureate.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Wilen earned a bachelor's degree in horticulture at the University of Maryland, a master's degree in horticulture at University of Arizona and a doctoral degree at UC Riverside. Following graduation, Wilen worked a year at UC Riverside as a post-doctoral fellow.
In 1995, Wilen was hired by UC ANR to conduct applied research in the turf, ornamental horticulture and nursery industries to develop and promote the use of integrated pest management in San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange counties. She shared her results and information generated by scientists across the university with growers and pest control advisers to reduce the use of toxic pesticides, cut the cost of pest control and use environmentally sound methods in production.
Over the years, Wilen was frequently tapped to take on leadership roles while maintaining her academic program. She served as acting and interim director of the Statewide UC IPM Program, program leader of UCCE's Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases Strategic Initiative, and as county director in San Diego County. Wilen also had opportunities to take sabbatical and study leaves to improve her Spanish-speaking skills, learn about international participatory extension methodology and receive training on research methods to study snails and slugs.
“I love working with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources,” Wilen said. “The positions I held matched well with my professional and personal style. I always felt that I was responsible for choosing my destination and the journey to get there, whether that was my career or my research and extension programs.”
Wilen said she also valued the relationships she developed over the years in her job.
“I met and became friends with people in UC that I would never have been so lucky to know without the opportunities afforded me by serving on diverse committees,” Wilen said. “If I could give one piece of advice to early career people, it would be not to look at these requests as ‘but I'm so busy, I can't do it,' but rather, ‘this will expand my network and my worth to UC and the communities we serve and pay off in the long run.'”
Wilen has been awarded the honor of emeritus status, which will continue her academic relationship with UCCE even after her stint in the director post is complete.
“I have a couple of grants I'm continuing to work on,” she said.
She also has plans to do things that she didn't have time for while working full time.
“Plans for my free time include entering sweepstakes, organizing electronics cables, continuing to paddle with my outrigger canoe club, exploring the outdoors, travel, volunteering and enjoying time with my partner and the rest of my family,” she said.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Wendy Powers, associate vice president, announced the 2018 winners of the biennial Distinguished Service Awards on April 11 at the UC ANR Statewide Conference in Ontario.
Sponsored by UC ANR and Academic Assembly Council, the Distinguished Service Awards recognize service and academic excellence in UC Cooperative Extension over a significant period of time. Awards highlight the use of innovative methods and the integration of research, extension and leadership by UC ANR academics.
Awards were given for outstanding research, outstanding extension, outstanding new academic, outstanding team, and outstanding leader. Winners for each category are listed below.
Outstanding Research - Youth Retention Study Team
The Youth Retention Study examined the retention and drop-out rates (nearly 50 percent) of first year 4-H members. The team looked at re-enrollment trends over a seven-year period to understand the phenomena of why youth leave the 4-H program. While the focus of the study was on California, the team has engaged multiple states in this effort to document the national scope of this issue, and used the data to develop tools and strategies for addressing and extending that information through peer-reviewed articles, workshops and training. Two of the factors they found reducing retention were a lack of communication and the inability to understand and navigate the 4-H program. These findings led to development of a handbook for families to navigate the 4-H program and a Project Leader Checklist for implementing the 4-H project experience.
The Youth Retention Study Team includes
- JoLynn Miller, CE Advisor - UCCE Central Sierra Multi-County Partnership
- Kendra Lewis, Academic Coordinator - UC ANR Statewide 4-H Program
- Marianne Bird, CE Advisor - UCCE Capital Corridor MCP
- John Borba, CE Advisor - UCCE Kern
- Claudia Diaz-Carrasco, CE Advisor - UCCE Riverside and San Bernardino
- Dorina Espinoza, CE Advisor - UCCE Humboldt and Del Norte
- Russell Hill, CE Advisor - UCCE Merced, Mariposa and Madera
- Car Mun Kok, CE Advisor - UCCE Lake and Mendocino
- Sue Manglallan, CE Advisor - UCCE San Diego
- Kali Trzesniewski, CE Specialist – UC Davis, Department of Human & Community Development
Outstanding Extension - David Haviland
David Haviland has been the UC Cooperative Extension entomology advisor in Kern County and affiliated IPM advisor with the UC IPM Program since 2002. He has developed an exemplary extension program to address the needs of clientele and support continued productivity in the third largest agricultural output county in the nation. Haviland's extension program is based on continuous needs assessment, applied local research to solve problems, collaboration with multiple partners, and extension programming focused on grower and pest control adviser adoption of improved pest management practices. Haviland uses his research outputs to drive his prodigious extension program. This includes 430 presentations to more than 32,000 people, primarily to farmers and pest control advisers. Haviland has developed a national and international reputation through publishing the results of his research in peer-reviewed scientific publications, and by giving national and international presentations.
Outstanding New Academic - Katherine Soule
Katherine Soule has been the youth, families and communities advisor since 2013 and director of Cooperative Extension in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties since 2017. Soule has guided programming to increase diversity and reach of the 4-H Youth Development Program. She has more than doubled overall youth participation to more than 16,000 youth in the two counties and increased Latino youth participation by almost 500 percent in less than 4 years. In addition, Soule has built a multicultural, bilingual UC CalFresh staff that focuses on developing sustained engagement with partnering school districts, administrators, teachers, families and other community-based organizations. In the previous two years, the UC CalFresh staff provided nutrition education to more than 17,000 youth; more than 8,500 families and community members attended community events where they received nutrition education; led peer educators in the participation of 4,700 hours of programming and engaged more than 6,600 students in nutrition and physical activities education. The Statewide 4-H Director said, “Despite the large assignment, she has provided incredible leadership in both program areas in both counties.” In partnership with 4-H volunteers and the California 4-H Foundation, she has raised $300,000 annually from grants and gifts to support and advance 4-H programming in Santa Barbara County. This youth, families and communities program also serves as the model for program integration and growth.
Outstanding Leader - Cheryl Wilen
Cheryl Wilen is the area integrated pest management advisor for San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties. Throughout her 23-year career, Wilen's work has represented outstanding leadership through a continual focus on positive changes. Wilen has been an effective leader in the Statewide IPM Program, ANR and the western region. In this role, she has provided significant input on CE advisor performance and advancement evaluations, represented IPM advisors to UC IPM leadership, and coordinated the annual extension planning meeting for IPM advisors and affiliated advisors. In addition to significant leadership in UC IPM, Wilen was the ANR Strategic Initiative Leader for Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases from 2014 to 2017. She led development of the strategic initiative goals and worked with Program Teams and Workgroups to address these goals. Wilen's leadership style is a direct reflection of her approach to research and extension. If she identifies an important unmet need, then she seeks to address it. Similarly, when she identifies a leadership need that she is capable of meeting, she steps up to help the organization move forward. Her leadership is consistently pragmatic and focused on results.
Outstanding Team - Dairy Quality Assurance Environmental Stewardship Program Team
This team of CE specialists and CE advisors has provided outstanding service to California's dairy farmers as a partner in the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP) through applied research, development of monitoring methods and tools, and implementation of educational programs to help dairy farmers comply with state water-quality law. The team developed the educational component of the “Environmental Stewardship Short Course,” delivering 377 short course workshops (750 classroom hours) throughout the state to date. They developed tools for producers including a lab manual for manure analysis, an e-learning module for sampling methods and an on-line decision support tool. These extension products were based on a prodigious research record including 15 peer-reviewed papers. The Dairy Quality Assurance Environmental Stewardship Program Team is an excellent example of UC ANR academics working together and with government and industry partners under the Sustainable Natural Environment Strategic Initiative. As a result of the team's work, the industry quickly reached a 95 percent compliance rate with water quality reporting requirements.
Dairy Quality Assurance Environmental Stewardship Program Team includes
- Deanne Meyer, CE Specialist – UC Davis, Department of Human & Community Development
- Betsy Karle, CE Advisor and UCCE Director– UCCE Glenn
- Jennifer Heguy, CE Advisor – UCCE Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced
- David Lewis, CE Advisor and UCCE Director – UCCE Marin and Napa
- Jeffery Stackhouse, CE Advisor – UCCE Humboldt and Del Norte
Maggie Reiter joined ANR on May 9 as an area environmental horticulture advisor in Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kings counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Reiter was a graduate research assistant at the University of Minnesota from 2013 to 2016. She participated in research projects aimed at increasing winter hardiness in cool-season grasses, identifying salt-tolerant roadside grasses, improving turfgrass seed production, evaluating varieties in the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program trials, and communicating information through the extension program. Reiter also worked on the agronomy staff of several golf courses from 2008 to 2015.
Reiter earned a B.S. in horticulture and an M.S. in applied plant science, both from the University of Minnesota.
Reiter is based in Fresno and can be reached at (559) 241-7504 and email@example.com.
In the 60 years that the University of California has operated its beautiful 5,358-acre Research and Extension Center in Hopland only a handful of people have helped to manage the site as superintendent. Dave Koball, former vineyard manager at Fetzer Bonterra, is following in the footsteps of Bob Keiffer in this role.
Before joining ANR, Koball had worked for Fetzer since 2000, most recently as director of research and education. From 1994 to 2000, he was vineyard manager for Kohn Vineyards.
Koball earned his M.S. in plant pathology at Cornell University and B.S. in plant pathology at UC Davis. He returned to UC Davis as a postgraduate researcher in John Mircetich's lab, studying strawberry root rot in 1993 and 1994.
“The job of superintendent at the Hopland REC has always been something of a balancing act – mixing the needs of many and various research projects on the site with the desire to practice sustainable land management,” said Kim Rodrigues, Hopland REC director. “Dave's established working relationships with our community partners will advance our research and outreach efforts and strengthen our current team efforts.”
“I am really looking forward to entering the California Naturalist program that is run from the center, as well as participating in many of the public events held there, from sheep shearing to the monthly hikes,” Koball said.
Koball can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (707) 744-1424 Ext. 112.
Andy Lyons joined ANR on March 14 as coordinator for the Informatics and GIS statewide program (IGIS).
From 2006 to 2009, Lyons was a monitoring and evaluation specialist for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization office in Johannesburg, where he spearheaded the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework for a regional food security program and developed monitoring protocols for projects promoting low-input farming, input trade fairs, gardens, small-scale irrigation, animal health and nutrition education. In the early 2000s, he worked as a conservation planner for the Wildlife Conservation Society in Zambia, and as a program evaluator for CARE International. Lyons served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer from 1991 to 1994 in The Gambia, West Africa, where he taught high school math and physics, and developed databases for the Ministry of Education.
Lyons has a Ph.D. in environmental science policy and management from UC Berkeley. He also has a M.S. in wildlife ecology and conservation from the University of Florida, and a B.A. in mathematics from Duke.
Lyons is based at 130 Mulford Hall #3114 at UC Berkeley and can be reached at email@example.com.
Akif Eskalen, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Riverside, and John Kabashima, UCCE advisor emeritus, received the Award of Arboricultural Research from the Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture.
The award recognizes 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. The beetle has a symbiotic relationship with fungi. When the beetle burrows deep inside the tree, it transmits the fungi, which cripples the tree's water-transporting mechanism and blocks the transport of water and nutrients from the roots to the rest of the tree.
They received the award at the 2016 Western Chapter ISA Conference in Anaheim on May 3, 2016.
California Rangeland Trust presented its 2016 Conservation Impact Award to Ken Tate, UCCE specialist and professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis.
With 102 peer-reviewed publications, Tate leads cutting-edge research in the fields of rangeland ecology and agro-ecosystems, providing tools for effective rangeland management decisions. Tate's career at UC Davis spans 21 years where he held positions such as vice chair for outreach and extension in the Department of Plant Sciences.
“As the go-to guy for all things range science, Tate's research, outreach and education has had a significant impact on rangelands throughout California, the United States and the world,” California Rangeland Trust wrote in its news release.
Tate, the Russell L. Rustici Endowed Chair of Rangeland Watershed Science, received the award at a special farm-to-fork gala on May 21.
Doug Parker has been named president of the Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR), the association of universities and organizations leading in education, research, and public service in water resources.
Parker, who is director of the UC ANR's California Institute for Water Resources, will serve as president for one year, then a year as past-president.
UCOWR members and delegates are at the forefront of water resources-related research and education, and represent various fields of natural and social science. Each member university appoints up to eight faculty or staff as UCOWR delegates. Others may join as individual members.
UCOWR's main objectives are to:
- Facilitate water-related education at all levels
- Promote meaningful research and technology transfer on contemporary and emerging water resources issues
- Compile and disseminate information on water problems and solutions
- Inform the public about water issues with the objective of promoting informed decisions at all levels of society
To achieve these goals, member institutions engage in education, research, public service, international activities and information support for policy development related to water resources. UCOWR holds an annual conference that provides a forum to explore key and timely topics of interest to water resources researchers and educators. UCOWR also publishes the Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education, presenting both scholarly work and current water resources news.
Five communicators associated with ANR received awards from the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences on June 15 at its annual conference in Memphis, Tenn.
The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program's "Pest Wheel Set" earned a bronze award for Cheryl Wilen, area IPM advisor and IPM advisor extension coordinator, and Scott Parker, UCCE community educator in San Diego. The set includes two interactive wheels, in English on one side and Spanish on the other.
The Pest Wheel helps the user identify and manage 12 common pests, including ants, snails, powdery mildew and scale insects. IPM also offers the Weed Wheel, which covers 12 common garden and landscape weeds, including crabgrass and yellow nutsedge.” (The Pest and Weed Identifier Wheels can be purchased for $4 each. To order, contact Scott Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or (858) 822-6932.)
Diane Nelson, a senior writer with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, won a gold award in promotional writing from ACE for her news release on groundwater banking, “Farmland May Provide Key to Replenishing Groundwater.” The article discusses the research of CA&ES faculty members Helen Dahlke, Ken Shackel and Astrid Volder and UCCE specialist Toby O'Geen.
Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won a gold award for her photograph of two youths getting acquainted with a rose-haired tarantula. Garvey also won silver awards for her feature story on entomologist Jeff Smith of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and for her photo series “Miracle of Life.” A photo of two praying mantids mating earned her a bronze award.
ACE, an international 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.
To see all of the award-winning photos, see the Bug Squad story at http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=20760.
Through the development and implementation of ANR's Strategic Vision 2025, the division has identified these five initiatives as the best opportunities for ANR's considerable infrastructure and talent to seek new resources and new ways of partnering within and outside UC to find solutions for California.
In 2014, ANR conducted an assessment of the Competitive Grants Program to evaluate whether it was effectively addressing priority issues within the initiatives outlined in their respective plans. The report concluded that the grants program is reaching the goals of supporting short-term, high-impact projects and contributing policy-relevant outcomes that address significant agricultural, economic, and environmental and social issues in California. The strategic initiatives are also fostering collaboration and leveraging resources through the grants program and other activities. To read the summary of the Competitive Grants Program report, visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/files/204951.pdf.
A recent study of policy impacts of the ANR Competitive Grants program by UC Cooperative Extension specialists Clare Gupta and David Campbell found that funded projects are influencing various stages of the policy process: http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/files/241970.pdf.
ANR's Strategic Initiatives leaders include the following:
- David Doll, Sustainable Food Systems
- John Harper, Sustainable Natural Ecosystems
- Keith Nathaniel, Healthy Families and Communities
- Doug Parker, Water Quality, Quantity, and Security
- Cheryl Wilen, Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases
For more information about ANR's Strategic Initiatives, visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/StrategicInitiatives.