To deliver climate-smart conservation services to California's farmers, ranchers and non-industrial forestland owners in a more coordinated fashion, UC ANR has signed a memorandum of agreement with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts.
USDA NRCS State Conservationist Carlos Suarez, CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, CARCD President Don Butz and I have signed this formal commitment for our organizations to work together in very specific ways on basic research; applied research; extension, education, and engagement; technical assistance and outreach; and implementation evaluation, learning and impact. With this strategy, we will be able to streamline services and identify gaps. See the graphic below depicting the roles of each institution in developing climate-smart conservation practices and delivering technical assistance.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are invested annually into helping agriculture stewards address hundreds of conservation activities throughout the state. But that investment starts with the leg work of analyzing and strategizing the conservation activities on a property-by-property basis.
This agreement will not only enhance our delivery of technical assistance, it offers a greatly expanded feedback loop to help us prioritize UC ANR research to ensure continuous improvement of practices, technologies and solutions needed by California's specialty crops and diverse ecosystems. This will enable new knowledge from our research to be quickly incorporated into NRCS's Field Office Technical Guide, which will expedite its availability to our farmers and ranchers in the field.
The official Memorandum of Agreement is posted at https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/files/377732.pdf.
Christie Hedrick started a new role Dec. 5 as a statewide coordinator with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. Hedrick will oversee state level administration and provide support to counties implementing the EFNEP program. In this role, she is excited to begin working with and supporting the EFNEP team throughout the state.
Hedrick has been a part of UC ANR for more than 14 years. She began her career with UC ANR in 2008 with the CalFresh Healthy Living, UCCE Yolo County Program (CFHL, UCCE Yolo). She provided program oversight and implementation to low-income schools and communities. Her expertise is in education and development of food literacy, healthy eating behaviors, and cooking skills specifically aimed at increasing self-efficacy and nutrition security.
She earned a bachelor's degree in food and nutrition and a Master of Public Health degree from California State University, Sacramento.
Hedrick is based at the UC ANR building in Davis, office 260C, and can be reached at (530) 390-9753 and email@example.com.
Reka Vasicsek joined the Nutrition Policy Institute on Dec. 6 as a program assistant, supporting NPI's operational and research project functions.
Vasicsek has worked at the intersection of nutrition, public health and social justice to help communities mitigate the impact of climate change on food security. Her past research focused on the cardiometabolic impacts of fiber supplementation, as well as iodine bioavailability after modulation of the gut microbiome. She has experience assessing school lunch programs and previously worked with Friends of the Earth's climate-friendly school food team.
She earned her bachelor's degree in French and Spanish literature from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and her master's degree in human nutrition with a specialization in public health from the University of Glasgow.
Vasicsek is based at UCOP in Oakland and can be reached at (510) 987-9270 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dompka to help spark economy in Del Norte, Humboldt and Trinity counties
Alec Dompka began with UC ANR on Oct. 20 as a rural communities economic development advisor. He will serve as technical support for economic development projects in Del Norte, Humboldt and Trinity counties.
Dompka said he aims to help local communities by working with government entities and private businesses to coordinate and facilitate beneficial projects.
“In this position, I hope to engage with people in the counties to tie them more closely with planning their economic development,” Dompka said. “I hope to show that economic development in rural communities can be locally led and directed, inclusive and effective.”
By applying technical knowledge and science-based expertise to these projects, Dompka said he also hopes to “generate research that pushes forward our understanding of what economic development looks like for rural communities.”
Born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Dompka earned a bachelor's degree from North Carolina State, double-majoring in political science and economics. He also holds an M.A. in agricultural and natural resources economics from NC State.
Dompka is based at the Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension office in Crescent City and can be reached at (707) 464-4711 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alec_rural_dev.
Pearsons named IPM advisor for Monterey County
Kirsten Pearsons began working as a UC Cooperative Extension integrated pest management entomology advisor for Monterey County on Nov. 7. This is a new role for Pearsons, who joined UC ANR in March as a small farms advisor in San Luis Obispo County.
Pearsons focuses on insect-related concerns on the Central Coast, such as impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV), a disease transmitted to lettuce by thrips, and identifying possible solutions. In collaboration with USDA scientists and her UC colleagues, Pearsons is researching the biology and ecology of the thrips populations that vector INSV to identify existing tools and new strategies that can help growers manage thrips and INSV.
Though her research focuses on lettuce and cole crops, Pearsons also supports berry growers and other specialty crop producers in the region with large-scale producers and agricultural pest control advisers as current clients.
Pearsons earned a bachelor's in environmental toxicology from UC Davis and a Ph.D. in entomology from Pennsylvania State University, studying how pest management strategies adopted in field crop systems affect non-target soil invertebrates.
During her undergraduate studies at UC Davis, Pearsons was curious to know what alternatives existed for broad-spectrum pesticides.
“Funny enough, I took my first entomology class just to get a basic idea of insect biology, because a lot of what I was learning in my toxicology courses had to do with insecticides,” she said. “The staff and the other students in the entomology department were so awesome that it didn't take much for me to completely fall for the subject.”
Prior to UC ANR, Pearsons worked for the Rodale Institute, an organic research institute in Pennsylvania.
Pearsons is based out of the UCCE Monterey County office and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UC Master Gardener Evaluation Team wins award
The UC Master Gardener Program and Program Planning and Evaluation team have been honored by the American Evaluation Association with the 2022 Excellence in Extension Program Evaluation Award.
Kit Alviz, program policy analyst; Tamekia Wilkins, youth, family and communities data analyst; Missy Gable, UC Master Gardener Program director; Katherine Webb-Martinez, Program Planning and Evaluation director; and Melissa Womack, UC Master Gardener Program communications specialist, received the award on Nov. 3.
The award also recognizes the hard work and dedication of program coordinators and volunteers, who do the programming and collect the data necessary to ensure the success of program evaluation efforts.
The data is used in the latest UC Master Gardener Program impact report and the UC ANR 2021 Annual Report. As the UC Master Gardener Program's evaluation efforts continue to expand statewide, they remain focused on continuing to improve their practices on collecting and reporting impact, to better meet community needs and build support for the program.
“The Extension Education Evaluation Award is awarded for an evaluation of outstanding quality. This team has established the gold standard to improve Extension program evaluation and provide accountability for public funds invested in the UC Master Gardener Program,” said Deanne Meyer, UC ANR interim associate vice president.
Ag commissioner praises Woodmansee
Between wildfires and drought in 2022, the UCCE Siskiyou County staff in the Yreka office has faced considerable adversity this year so they were pleased to receive a complimentary letter from Siskiyou County agricultural commissioner Jim Smith.
“I received a very positive letter from the Siskiyou County agricultural commissioner commending Grace Woodmansee, Siskiyou UCCE livestock advisor, for her hard work and success with the Siskiyou Livestock Pass program this year,” Rob Wilson, interim director for UCCE Siskiyou County and farm advisor, wrote in an email.
“Grace was instrumental in setting up this program in the county and it paid large dividends this year given the numerous wildfires in the county,” Wilson wrote.
Smith, who has worked with Woodmansee for the last two years on the Ag Pass program, wrote, “Grace promoted this program following the disastrous wildfires in Butte County…This effort in Siskiyou was very timely since we have been experiencing ever more serious wildfires.”
The McKinney Fire, which broke out July 29 about 10 miles west of Yreka, killed four people, destroyed 185 structures and burned 60,138 acres. The Mill Fire started Sept. 2 in Weed and quickly spread to burn 3,935 acres.
“Most of our staff dealt with wildfire evacuations and numerous smoky days,” Wilson said. “Samantha Clawson, Siskiyou County office coordinator, had her house burnt to the ground. I'm proud of all the staff this year for helping the community get through difficult times with the livestock pass program, housing neighboring animals, and covering for each other.”
Academics interested in learning more about ANR's budgetary decisions and processes and representing the Division are invited to serve on the ANR Program Council.
Academic Assembly Council is seeking self-nominations to serve on the ANR Program Council, which advises the Vice President on Divisionwide planning and delivery of programs and develops recommendations for allocation of Division resources.
“We are seeking academics with well-established programs, who can commit to monthly two-day, meetings, many via Zoom,” said Aliasghar Montazar, Academic Assembly Council president.
Attendance at all Program Council meetings is mandatory. Please note that Program Council does not have a budget to support full travel (meals during meetings are provided).
A list of all interested individuals will be sent to the Interim Associate Vice President, who will review self-nominations with current ANR Program Council members on Jan. 11 to make the selection.
“We are seeking to fill one position beginning February 2023,” said Deanne Meyer, interim associate vice president.
To express your interest, please complete the brief survey at https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=39661by Jan. 10.
Scheduled meeting dates
Program Council members are asked to reserve time beginning 3 p.m. on Tuesday and ending at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Time will be released if not needed by Friday of the preceding week:
Jan. 10 and 11, 2023 (Davis)
Feb. 6 and 7, 2023 (Davis)
March 7 and 8, 2023 (Davis)
April 3 and 4, 2023 (Davis)
May 2 and 3, 2023 (Davis, possibly offsite)
June 11 and 12, 2023 (Davis)
July 11 and 12, 2023 (Davis)
No meeting August 2023
Sept. 5 and 6, 2023 (Davis)
Oct. 3 and 4, 2023 (Davis)
Nov. 7 and 8, 2023 (Davis)
December meeting tentative, dates TBD
UC ANR joined the California Department of Food and Agriculture and other organizations in highlighting the benefits of soil health and biodiversity for California Healthy Soils Week 2022.
During the week of Dec. 5-9, the UC Master Gardener Program hosted two Facebook Live webinars and UC Cooperative Extension co-hosted a Sustainable Nutrient Management & Soil Health Field Day in Salinas.
For the “Healthy Soil: In Nature Sometimes Less is More” webinar, Mike Corby, UC Master Gardener volunteer in Contra Costa County, shared insights for improving soil health in the garden. A recording of the 47-minute webinar is published on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Y9M5uQtzLyk.
For “Harnessing the Magic of the Soil Food Web: Turning Dirt into Gold,” Kit Veerkamp, UC Master Gardener volunteer in El Dorado County, discussed why soil health matters and how to modify soils to improve plant health and reduce disease and pests. A recording of the 56-minute webinar is published on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Hqd-XDy81H0.
The Wine Institute, California Association of Winegrape Growers and Community Alliance with Family Farmers hosted representatives from CDFA, the California Legislature, the California Environmental Protection Agency, California Natural Resources Conservation Services, and other climate-focused agencies from around the state for a healthy soils tour of Bogle Family Vineyards in Yolo County.
At Bogle Family Vineyards, Konrad Mathesius, UCCE agronomy advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties; and Hope Zabronsky, climate smart agriculture academic coordinator for the California Institute for Water Resources, gave presentations.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service hosts the Web Soil Survey, which provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. NRCS has soil maps and data available online for more than 95% of the nation's counties. Phil Smith, California NRCS area resource soil scientist, and Tony Rolfes, California state soil scientist, presented a webinar on how to use the Web Soil Survey and other web tools for gathering soils information and maps. The Web Soil Survey webinar is posted at https://youtu.be/cuEMuxLGQO0.
- Author: Jaki Hsieh Wojan, Chief Information Security Officer
Phishing emails are the most common way cybercriminals attempt to gain access to an organization's systems. Spam filters will catch many of these emails, but your trained eye can easily spot the rest. Here are some tips to help you spot a phishing email and keep ANR safe from malicious actors.
Below is a suspicious email received by an ANR employee this week. The employee noticed the email seemed off and sent it to IT. Great job at spotting the phish!
- Check the sender
This may be a legitimate UC Davis email account, but it seems weird that a random person at UC Davis would send notification of an Office 365 termination to an ANR employee. If there was an issue with an Office 365 account, notification would likely come from ANR's IT – not directly from UC Davis. Additionally, if the email sender is someone you don't know and don't normally communicate with, keep your guard up.
- Subject line
In our example above, the subject line is blank. For an email notifying someone of account termination, there should be a formal subject line. This is a red flag.
- Poorly written
You can often tell if an email is a scam if it contains poor spelling and grammar.
A notification of account termination would be formal and checked for spelling errors and poor grammar. Informal emails on serious subjects containing awkward grammar and misspelled words are likely phishing attempts.
- Suspicious links
Whenever a link is sent in an email, use your mouse to hover over the link to see where it really leads. If a hyperlink address does not match the address text, it is most certainly a phishing attempt.
Use these tips to help identify phishing emails. When in doubt – don't click a link in an email, reach out to IT or your unit director for verification of an email's legitimacy.