The UC President's Advisory Commission met Dec. 14 via Zoom as coronavirus precautions continued to discourage travel.
“It's the beginning of a new phase,” said President Drake, announcing that the first coronavirus vaccines would be arriving at UC medical centers the next day. Acknowledging that the pandemic has created challenges for everyone, Drake urged everyone to protect themselves as they continue to perform critically important activities for Californians.
In her update on UC ANR activities, VP Glenda Humiston announced that she and AVP Wendy Powers have accepted leadership roles in the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU). Humiston is chair of the Budget and Legislative Committee for the Experiment Station Council on Policy (ESCOP) and Powers is chair-elect of the Extension Council on Policy (ECOP).
Humiston also briefed PAC members on the 2020 California Economic Summit that was held online Dec. 3-4. The statewide conference focused on improving economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, and social equity. Humiston spoke about the benefits to California of investing in wildfire reduction and forest restoration work.
Dan Sanchez, UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley, gave PAC members a presentation on how UC ANR and partners collaborate to advance forest health, reduce fire risk and develop jobs and economic growth with high-value products from biomass.
During a report from the ANR Governing Council, UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox, who is chair of the council, encouraged more collaboration between UC ANR and campuses. He suggested climate change as a subject for connecting UC ANR and campus expertise.
Humiston noted that she and Powers recently gave a presentation about UC ANR to UC vice chancellors of research, who expressed interest in working with UC ANR and Powers has been meeting with them regularly.
Continuing with the natural resources theme, Ish Herrera, California Forward director of regional stewardship, gave a presentation on wood products and Eric Holst, Environmental Defense Fund associate vice president for working lands, gave presentations on forest management. Both see roles for UC ANR.
Herrera suggested UC could use wood products in building projects to create more of a market for trees removed to thin forests.
Fire management in forest ecosystems is one of more pressing issues in the state and ANR's interdisciplinary expertise makes it the “right organization, right time,” Holst said.
Deans gave reports on the School of Veterinary Medicine and the three Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) colleges affiliated with UC ANR.
In wrapping up the meeting, Drake lauded the group for “big thinking” and “broad thinking” to lift up society.
The PAC will meet again on March 22 via Zoom.
- Author: Mark Bell
The Strategic Initiatives offer a home for strategic thought - drawing on members of the wider UC ANR community and beyond to identify and address issues of current and emerging importance.
1. Strategic Themes
With the new year, we welcome input on Strategic Themes that are emerging or that offer expanded opportunities to make a difference in 2021.
For example, we are greeted this year with a growing need and mandate to build health and wellness in communities. Please think about how your work does and could play a growing role to strengthen the health and well-being of your colleagues and communities - and please share if you see opportunities.
Visit the Strategic Themes to explore topics and opportunities being developed.
Our growing number of 2-page concept notes highlights existing and emerging opportunities and needs:
- Fire Concept Note Fire Advisors Network (draft) - Kudos to Yana and others for their work on this concept paper
- Food Systems Concept Note Food Systems (draft) - Concepts here are emerging in part from the Food Systems Spotlight Webinar series led by Deanne Meyer and Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty
- Urban extension/DEI Concept Note Building California's Urban Community (draft) - This and associated initiatives are benefiting from input by Keith Nathaniel and Frank McPherson
- Extension of the Future Concept Note Building California's Urban Community (draft) and Concept Note Working Cross-state and Cross-institute (draft) - These are the latest as discussion evolves on opportunities to grow our presence throughout the state and across state lines. What could post-COVID tertiary education look like? What could be the role of UC ANR (re: working with community colleges, CSUs, UCs, internships…)? What other Funding & Incomes models are there?
- Health Concept Note Health Resilience Network (draft) and Prop 63 - Mental Health Services Act (draft)
- DEI. The Program Teams recently provided input on some of what is happening in relation to DEI in our programmatic work. We are seeing growth in the number of DEI (and Justice) related initiatives. The SIs will be looking at how we can help build synergies and a shared vision.
- Reach. We will be looking more at how we help people feed in to the Integrated Web Platform.
2. Sustainable Natural Ecosystems (SNE) needs representation!
For those working in SNE, we want to make sure your needs are represented in the Strategic Initiatives and Program Council. Note: Recognizing people are busy, there is the potential to split responsibilities and you can sit on the SIs while a colleague represents SNE on Program Council.
If interested to explore the option, please reach out to Mark Bell or one of the other SI leaders.
For more on the SIs and their activities, contact
Jim Farrar: Pests (EIPD)
OPEN: Natural Ecosystems (SNE)
David Lewis: (Water)
Deanne Meyer: Food Systems (SFS)
Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty: Families and Communities (HFC)
The ANR Strategic Plan accomplishments for Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 have been posted at https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/2016-2020_Strategic_Plan/Strategic_Plan_Accomplishments.
The 2016 ANR Strategic Plan, which was refreshed in December 2020, focuses on four key areas: conducting relevant programming, employing top talent and supporting volunteers, increasing resources for programming, and enhancing research and extension facilities.
The plan is designed to position the UC ANR organization to achieve its vision of improving the lives of every Californian through our research and extension. Successes of strategic plan work are intended to support the research and extension efforts.
Apurba Barman joined UC Cooperative Extension as low desert integrated pest management advisor on Jan. 11, 2021. He will be headquartered at the UCCE Imperial County office, which adjoins the UC Desert Research and Extension Center in Holtville.
"I am very excited for my new role as an IPM advisor based in Southern California and for the opportunity to serve one of the most important vegetable production regions in the state,” Barman said. “The diversity and intensity of crop production in this region demand targeted research to solve pest management issues and effective extension programs to reach diverse clientele. I feel prepared for this job with my experience and passion to serve the community.”
Barman earned a bachelor's degree at Assam Agricultural University in India, and master's degrees in Indiana and at Texas Tech University, Lubbock. In 2011, he completed a doctorate degree at Texas A&M University in College Station, where he developed a research program to understand the extent of damage and management of thrips in the Texas High Plains region.
Barman comes to UC Cooperative Extension from the University of Georgia, where he led a whitefly monitoring and management progress across cropping systems in the southern region the state.
Barman can be reached at (209) 285-9810 and email@example.com. His Twitter handle is @Ento_Barman.
Tian Tian has been named the UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor in Kern County, beginning Jan. 4, 2021. Tian previously served as a graduate research assistant at Oregon State University in Corvallis, where she conducted experiments and statistical analyses of data sets while completing her doctoral degree.
“I feel very excited to join UC Cooperative Extension and be part of this collaborative group,” Tian said. “I look forward to working with local growers and industry to improve management practices in the vineyard and increase the profit margin of table grape production.”
Tian earned a master's degree at California State University, Fresno, and a bachelor's degree at Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, China, both in viticulture and enology. For several years she worked in industry, including an internship at E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto and as the assistant vineyard manager at Berryessa Gap Vineyard in Winters.
Tian's doctoral research focused on development of better guidelines for vineyard nitrogen management for growers in the Willamette Valley. She and the research team evaluated the influences of vineyard nitrogen on vine productivity, fruit composition and wine characteristics in chardonnay and pinot noir.
Tian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her Twitter handle is @TianUcce.
Dora Garay joined UC ANR as a social media strategist on Jan. 19. She brings over 15 years of communications experience, most recently serving as the digital marketing specialist at Everett Community College in Washington, where she managed more than 20 college-wide social media accounts and conducted innovative marketing campaigns in both English and Spanish.
Garay has a track record of engaging and empowering communities through her effective communications strategies and social media expertise. Along with more than a decade of working with digital media, her experience includes producing news and education segments for Univision, a top-rated television network.
Garay earned a bachelor of arts in political science at UC Berkeley and a Master of Communication in Digital Media at University of Washington.
She will be based in the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com and (510) 630-5622. Her Twitter handle is @DoraliciaGaray.
An internal search to fill the director position at Sierra Foothills REC was conducted during November-December 2020. Unfortunately, no applications were received. UCANR leadership and UC Livestock & Natural Resources academics are exploring options to provide sustained leadership for SFREC.
In the meantime, SFREC superintendent Dustin Flavell will continue to oversee the center. Flavell has served as interim director since September, when Jeremy James left UC ANR to become department chair of Natural Resources at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) granted a Secretary of Energy Achievement Award to a team including UC assistant Cooperative Extension specialist Daniel Sanchez and Ph.D. candidate Bodie Cabiyo in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley.
Sanchez and Cabiyo's team "Getting to Neutral Carbon Emissions" was selected for their outstanding service and research contributions, both to the agency's mission and the benefit of the nation, in greenhouse gas emissions reduction scholarship.
The team's final report, titled “Getting to Neutral: Options for Negative Carbon Emissions in California,” provides a comprehensive study of technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It offers frameworks for developing public policy and legislative action based on scientific data to help California achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 or sooner. Sanchez and Cabiyo contributed research to help estimate the amount of forest biomass that can be used in negative emission pathways, as a result of managing 1 million acres of forest each year. They used economically driven models to identify the most cost-efficient forest management strategies for the team's Forest Carbon Plan goals.
The award is one of the highest internal, non-monetary recognitions that DOE employees and contractors can receive.
Mitchell receives No-Till Innovator Research & Education award
Jeffrey Mitchell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, received the No-Till Innovator Research & Education award for his commitment to the advancement of no-till farming systems.
Mitchell, who is based at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, has been a pioneer in design, research, knowledge generation and extension in conservation cropping systems in California. With his dedication, these conservation cropping systems are now beginning to be gradually adopted in the state and are receiving much attention from growers, extension, industry, educational institutions, state and federal government agencies, and non-governmental agencies, says Anil Shrestha, chair of the department of Viticulture and Enology at Fresno State University.
Initially, Mitchell established the UC Conservation Tillage Workgroup that was primarily focused on no-till systems. Later, he expanded the workgroup and established the Conservation Agriculture Systems Initiative (CASI) group with a broader conservation systems approach. CASI won the No-Till Innovator Award in 2018.
Mitchell expanded his work to vegetable crops and is among the first in the U.S. to work on these systems combined with precision irrigation technology. Mitchell organizes the CASI Workgroup Field Days and Demonstrations at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center.
An important part of Mitchell's research and education efforts has emphasized evaluations of the impacts and tradeoffs that reduced disturbance tillage and cover cropping have on soil and cropping system function.
Based on a long-term study dating to 1999, Mitchell worked with a team that documented that no-till and cover crop practices in sorghum, cotton, corn, wheat and tomato could not only maintain productivity, but also greatly impact a number of important soil quality indicators — including higher soil carbon and nitrogen, aggregation and infiltration. This work has documented that significant positive changes have occurred even in the arid, irrigated soils in the San Joaquin Valley.
Wang honored for olive research
Selina Wang, research director at the UC Davis Olive Center and UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology, recently received the Olive Wellness Institute's inaugural award for achievement in olive science research.
Wang joined the Olive Center as a postdoctoral researcher in 2010 and became research director in 2011, leading the center's research efforts in olive oil quality, authenticity and standardization. She took on her Cooperative Extension duties in 2018. “I still do the work I've been doing with olives and olive oil, but now I cover all the crops that are important for California,” she said.
Research from the Olive Center contributed to the scientific basis for the establishment of California grade and labeling standards for olive oil, refined-olive oil and olive-pomace oil. Under the standards, producers of greater than 5,000 gallons per year must test every lot of oil for quality, thereby instilling confidence in consumers.
Wang said she looks forward to continued research on maximizing quality, health benefits, yield and sustainability — in the field and in processing. “We've made a tremendous amount of progress in the past decade, and there's more work to be done, especially in response to climate change,” she said. “I will continue extension with the growers and processors and education with the students at UC Davis who are the future leaders.”
Dan Flynn, the recently retired Olive Center director, nominated Wang for the award. “Dr. Wang stands among the very best people I have worked with,” he said. “Her independent and significant research achievement, skill at attracting financial backing and resources, ability to inspire students, robust work ethic, dedication to the public interest and exceptional interpersonal skills place her among the noteworthy olive scientists globally.” – UC Davis News and Media Relations
Safeeq Khan, assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialist for water and watershed sciences based at UC Merced, has been elected to the board of directors for the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI).
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, CUAHSI is a non-profit organization with a mission to serve the interdisciplinary water science community in promoting and expanding formal and informal educational opportunities.
Gosliner to serve on Farm to School Working Group subcommittee
Gosliner was recommended to participate in the Health Systems Data subcommittee because of her experience in measuring impact for food systems projects.
As a subcommittee member, Gosliner will help create a unified vision for the future of farm to school in California. The group will meet January 2021 through October 2021, culminating in the publishing of a “Roadmap to Success” for California's farm to school movement.
“Our state leaders recognize the need to transform our food system into one that is climate-smart, equitable, resilient, reflective of all of California's diverse cultures, and accessible to all,” said Ross and Siebel Newsom. “We know school nutrition is a key element of this transformation, and a recent $10m budget allocation from Governor Newsom shows the state is making a serious effort to expand its impact.”
In November and December, President Drake, UC regents and state legislators were treated to virtual tours of UC ANR for an overview of statewide programs, partnerships and other activities. Now you can take that same tour at https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/7d31cde407b84331806d813559f09420 and share the self-guided tour with friends and stakeholders.
Scrolling through the interactive presentation, visitors are introduced to UC ANR beginning with our mission, history and maps of our locations. Viewers can skip to sections of interest using the bookmarks at the top of the story map: Urban Greenspaces, Nutrition & Youth Development, Engaging CA Agriculture, and Wildfire Resiliency.
Urban Greenspaces includes the UC Master Gardener Program and COVID-19 adaptation; UC Cooperative Extension working with community gardens; the UC Master Food Preserver Program; UC Pest Management and imported red fire ants, bed bugs, invasive shot hole borer; and the California Naturalist Program.
Nutrition & Youth Development includes UC Nutrition Policy Institute's research for healthy food, people and places; CalFresh Healthy Living, UC and EFNEP promoting healthy eating & active living in underserved communities; youth participatory action research; 4-H growing tomorrow's leaders today; and 4-H Juntos Program college and career readiness
Engaging CA Agriculture includes supporting California's agricultural diversity; partnerships that support California's agriculture; protecting California's nut crops, protecting California's citrus at the Lindcove Research & Extension Center; developing new California crops - moringa and malting barley; flowers, coffee and agritourism at Mellano Farms; California dairy and manure management; and the CDFA and UC ANR climate smart agriculture partnership.
Kathy Eftekhari, chief of staff to the vice president, and Anne Megaro, director of government and community relations, created the story map working with the 16 presenters to develop the content. Shane Feirer and Robert Johnson of the Informatics and GIS Program introduced them to the ArcGIS StoryMaps framework for the virtual tour and provided technical support. Ricardo Vela, manager of News and Information Outreach in Spanish, edited most of the videos.
The ANR virtual tour will also be posted at https://ucanr.edu/About.