- Author: Katherine Soule
The UCCE team in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties met with Congressman Salud Carbajal and his team twice in the past few weeks. On Aug. 20, Jeremy Tittle, the congressman's chief of staff, and Erin Sandler, the congressman's scheduler, visited. The congressional staff met with UCCE advisors, office manager, and director to learn more about UCCE research and programming.
UCCE advisor Ben Faber led a tour of research and education collaborations at Cal Poly, sharing research occurring on pomegranates, blueberries and other crops. In the afternoon, UCCE advisor Mark Battany led a tour at Wolff Vineyard, discussing research on how climate conditions relate to frost and water management.
The following week, Katherine Soule, UCCE director, met with Congressman Carbajal and project collaborators to discuss the outcomes and success of a USDA Community Food Project grant. On Sept. 5, the congressman visited with the project partners at the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County.
Community partners described their contributions to the project, including UCCE's efforts to reduce food waste, increase awareness of local food systems, and maximize limited food resources through the UC Master Food Preserver Program. For this project, UC Master Food Preservers teach low-cost, safe, home food preservation methods to clientele receiving food at food bank distribution sites. During this meeting, the partners also discussed the San Luis Obispo County CalFresh Alliance's objective to increase CalFresh participation in the county.
San Luis Obispo County currently has one of the lowest CalFresh participation rates in the state so the partners have been working together to identify and address barriers to participation. Carbajal shared his concerns about the low rates of participation and his commitment to working to address food insecurity in the region.
These successful visits led Carbajal's team to schedule a meeting with 4-H youth, families and volunteers in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties in the next few months.
- Author: Katherine Soule
Academic Assembly Council is seeking self-nominations to serve on the ANR Program Council. The ANR Program Council advises the Vice President on Division-wide planning and delivery of programs and develops recommendations for allocation of Division resources.
More information about ANR Program Council can be found at https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Divisionwide_Programs/Program_Council.
We are seeking academics with well-established programs, who can commit to monthly two-day, in-person meetings (scheduled dates below), most often held in Davis. Attendance at all Program Council meetings is mandatory and missing one or more meetings will result in removal for non-performance of the position. Please note that Program Council does not have a budget to support travel (meals during meetings will be provided).
A list of all interested individuals will be sent to the Associate Vice President, who will review self-nominations with current ANR Program Council members on Oct. 1 - 2 to make the selection. We are seeking interest in two positions, both beginning January 2020.
Please complete this survey by Sept. 27 to express your interest. If you have already completed the survey, your self-nomination will be reviewed in October as well.
Scheduled meeting dates (Beginning 3 p.m. on Tuesday and ending at 3 p.m. on Wednesday):
- January 7 & 8, 2020 (Davis)
- February 4 & 5, 2020 (Davis)
- March 17 & 18, 2020 (tentative)
- April 7 & 8, 2020 (Davis)
- May 5 & 6, 2020 (Davis, possibly offsite)
- June 9 &10, 2020 (Davis)
- July 7 & 8, 2020 (Davis)
- No meeting August 2020
- September 1 & 2, 2020 (Davis)
- October 6 & 7, 2020 (Davis)
- November 3 & 4, 2020 (Davis)
- December meeting tentative, dates TBD
Academic Assembly Council President
Associate Vice President
Michael Jones joined UCCE on Oct. 1, 2018, as the area forestry advisor in Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties. He specializes in forest entomology with a focus on forest health and integrated pest management of invasive and endemic forest pests.
Jones completed a Ph.D. in entomology from State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a B.S. in environmental biology and management from UC Davis.
Prior to joining UCCE, Jones was a graduate student and research project assistant at State University of New York. He developed and maintained research projects on delimitation, management, and biological control of the invasive forest pest emerald ash borer in New York. From 2010 to 2013, Jones was a research associate in the UC Davis Department of Entomology, in collaboration with the US Forest Service, Forest Health Protection in Southern California. He participated in a variety of forest pest research projects involving the detection, evaluation and management of endemic and invasive forest pests. He has been active in leading training activities for land managers and land owners in the field identification and management of forest pests, and training and supervising field crews in the collection of field data. As an undergraduate at UC Davis, he worked on sudden oak death with David Rizzo's lab group in the Department of Plant Pathology.
Based in Ukiah, Jones can be reached at (707) 463-4495 and email@example.com.
Daniel Sanchez joined UCCE on Sept. 1, 2018, as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in woody biomass utilization in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management at UC Berkeley. Sanchez is an engineer and energy systems analyst studying the commercialization and deployment of energy technologies that remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Sanchez's work and engagement spans the academic, nongovernmental, and governmental sectors. As an assistant Cooperative Extension specialist, he runs the Carbon Removal Lab, which aims to commercialize sustainable negative emissions technologies, and supports outreach to policymakers and technologists in California and across the United States.
Sanchez earned a Ph.D. and a M.S. in energy and resources at UC Berkeley. He completed a B.S.E in chemical and biomolecular engineering at University of Pennsylvania.
Prior to joining the faculty of UC Berkeley, Sanchez was a AAAS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow serving in the Office of Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO). He has previously held positions with the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, Green for All, and the California Public Utilities Commission.
Sanchez is located in Mulford Hall and can be reached at (215) 593-4493 (cell) and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_L_Sanchez.
Peter Larbi joined ANR on Aug. 13, 2018, as a UCCE area agricultural application engineering specialist at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
Prior to joining ANR, Larbi had been an Assistant Professor of Agricultural Systems Technology in the College of Agriculture at Arkansas State University since 2014. He developed an integrated teaching and research program related to agricultural systems technology; developed and managed research in precision agriculture, agricultural machinery systems, remote sensing and sensor technology; and provided service to the university, college, local community and general scientific community. Larbi held a joint appointment in the Division of Agriculture at University of Arkansas.
From 2012 to 2014, Larbi was a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems at Washington State University. From 2011 to 2012, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center.
Larbi earned a Ph.D. in agricultural and biological engineering from University of Florida and a M.Sc. and a B.Sc. in agricultural engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.
Larbi can be reached at (559) 646-6577 and email@example.com.
Lysandra Pyle joined ANR on Aug. 15, 2018, as an assistant project scientist. Working closely with project directors at UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center and Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center (EOARC), Pyle is leading a multistate research project investigating biotic and abiotic drivers of native grass recruitment on degraded intermountain rangeland and identifying potential management actions that can be used to improve large-scale restoration efforts.
Most of her field work and project development is being done from EOARC, which is in close proximity to the Oregon and California intermountain field sites.
Pyle completed a Ph.D. in rangeland and wildlife resources from University of Alberta, Canada, and a B.Sc. in biology from University of Regina, Canada.
Prior to joining ANR, Pyle worked on contracts specializing in biodiversity monitoring and rangeland ecology while finishing a Ph.D. in rangeland and wildlife resources at the University of Alberta, conferred in April 2018. From November 2017 to March 2018, Pyle was a vascular plant technician with Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) at the Royal Alberta Museum. There, she identified vascular plants collected by ABMI technicians during the field season and contributed to publications.
Pyle also consulted as a plant community data analyst at Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association from January 2017 to March 2018, where she analyzed plant community data collected from the Aspen Parkland and Assiniboine Delta rangeland ecoregions, identified reference communities, and determined how they transition with disturbances such as grazing.
Her Ph.D. characterized the composition and diversity of grassland seed banks in two main studies: identified the diverse disturbance legacies and management histories of pastures on plant communities, seed banks, soils, and rangeland health, and examined legacy effects of pipelines on seed banks and biological soil crusts in native mixed grass prairie.
Pyle is based in Burns, Ore., and can be reached at (306) 551-1108 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @GrasslandNerd.
Nathaniel Caeton was promoted to 4-H youth development advisor for Shasta, Tehama and Trinity counties on Aug. 1, 2018.
Prior to accepting his current position as 4-H youth development advisor, Caeton had served as the 4-H community education specialist since 2013. He was responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the 4-H Youth Development Program in Shasta and Trinity counties. During that time, he worked diligently to strengthen existing program relationships, while developing new relationships through outreach and collaboration. His master's work at CSU Monterey Bay combined multiple disciplines and built knowledge in the areas of learning theory, instructional design, instructional technology, interactive multimedia, assessment and evaluation. This enabled Caeton to plan, design, develop, implement and evaluate instructional programs. This work culminated in the creation of an electronic portfolio and capstone project, which involved the design and development of a one-hour e-learning module on diversity awareness for adult volunteers. He also actively volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America and the Civil Air Patrol.
Caeton earned an M.S. in instructional science and technology from CSU Monterey Bay and a B.A. in social sciences from CSU Chico.
Based in Redding, Caeton can be reached at (530) 224-4900 and email@example.com.
Mahacek inducted into National 4-H Hall of Fame
Mahacek was one of 15 people inducted during the ceremony at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.
“We are proud to recognize the 2018 National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees for the passion, dedication, vision and leadership they have shown toward young people during their many years of service to 4-H,” said Jeannette Rea Keywood, National 4-H Hall of Fame Committee chair.
Mahacek joined a 4-H Club in Sonoma County when he was 10. During his 35-year 4-H career, Mahacek placed an emphasis on mechanical sciences and engineering projects. His work included development of curricula and activities in science processes, robotics, computers, GIS/GPS, bio-security and environmental issues, such as watersheds and wildlife habitats.
In 1988, Mahacek was a member of the team that developed the 4-H SERIES (Science Experiences and Resources for Informal Educational Settings) curriculum, which was funded by the National Science Foundation and Kellogg. SERIES was the first comprehensive pragmatic science education curriculum to join 4-H's traditional projects. In 2004, Mahacek served on the national leadership team for 4-H SET (Science, Engineering and Technology), a program that succeeded SERIES. Now known as STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Math), the project aims to enhance young people's interest in developing the knowledge and skills needed for the 21st century's technically oriented careers.
The crowning achievement of his career was the development of the 4-H Junk Drawer Robotics curriculum in 2011. The curriculum shows how to engage children in building robotic devices with rubber bands, Popsicle sticks, medicine dispensers and bamboo skewers – the kinds of things people already have around the house. The robotics program develops skills that go beyond science and engineering. The children learn communications, teamwork and critical thinking.
Junk drawer robotics is one part of a three-track robotics curriculum. The other tracks are virtual robotics, in which participants build virtual robots on computers, and robotics platforms, which employs commercial robot building kits for materials. The package of robotics programs was the No. 1 selling 4-H curriculum in the nation in 2011. Mahacek was also a driving force in the community in founding the UC Merced Engineering Service Learning Program Castle Science and Technology Center. This facility used a former US Air Force facility to provide hands-on science experiences to the youth of the county.
Mahacek received many honors for his contributions to 4-H and UC Cooperative Extension. In 1988, he received distinguished service awards from the state and national 4-H associations. The Merced County Farm City Ag Business Committee presented him its Agri-Education Award in 1992. Mahacek received the “Hands-On Heroes Award” at the Merced County Children's Summit.
Mahacek said the 4-H program has evolved during his tenure, but it has not changed its core objectives.
“We went from being a predominantly ag program to including many other topics. Our members used to live in just rural settings, but now they come from the suburbs and urban neighborhoods,” Mahacek said. “But we're still promoting the concept of working together and gaining confidence by learning practical skills.”
The National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees are nominated by their home states, National 4-H Council, the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents or 4-H National Headquarters/National Institute of Food and Agriculture based upon their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national and international levels.
Cheryl Wilen, area IPM advisor based in San Diego County, was presented the Research Award by the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers (CANGC) for her contributions to the nursery industry at the CANGC Convention in San Diego on Oct. 10, 2018.
“This award acknowledges Dr. Wilen's many significant contributions over her career that have benefited the California nursery and landscape industry,” said Loren Oki, UCCE environmental horticulture specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis and co-director of UC's Nursery & Floriculture Alliance, who presented the award to Wilen.
Wilen specializes in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for ornamental plant production and maintenance in nurseries, greenhouses, field production, floriculture, turf and landscape, which has resulted in the use of pesticides in a more prescriptive manner and the development of alternative strategies to more efficiently control pests of ornamental plants. Although her primary research focus is the management of weeds, snails and slugs, her other areas of research include the Asian citrus psyllid, disease management in floricultural crops, nematode management in tomatoes, invertebrate pest management in nurseries, vertebrate pest management, mitigating pesticide contamination in surface water runoff, and soil solarization.
Wilen also recently received the UC ANR Distinguished Service Award for leadership. She has served ANR as the acting and interim director of the Statewide UC IPM Program, leader of the Endemic and Invasive Pest and Disease Strategic Initiative, member of Program Council, organizer of the Pest Management Coordination Conference, chair of several UC ANR search committees, and chair and member of the South Coast Research and Extension Center Research Advisory Committee.
Her current and previous professional service includes chair of the Basic Science Section Western Society of Weed Science, chair of Teaching and Technology Transfer Section Weed Science Society of America, chair or co-chair of meetings of professional organizations including the California Weed Science Society, and has served or is currently serving as a member of various committees of the Weed Science Society of America, Southern California Chapter of the California Association of Pest Control Advisers, Steering Committee of the 2015 International IPM Symposium, and the CANGC Research Advisory Committee.
The CANGC Research Award recipient is selected by their peers and colleagues from industry and academic community.
4-H teams bring home NAE4-HA awards
Katherine Soule, UC Cooperative Extension director and youth, families and communities advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, and community educators Janelle Hansen, Andrea Hollister, Laura Pena, Dagmar Derickson, Shannon Klisch, Melissa LaFreniere, Yezenia Romero, Yudilia Tomsen, Miguel Diaz, Betsy Plascencia, JaNessa Willis and Lisa Paniagua won the Excellence in Healthy Living Programming Award for the Western Region. The team also won the NAE4-HA Excellence in Healthy Living Programming for California. The Excellence in Healthy Living Programming Award recognizes outstanding efforts and impacts of NAE4-HA members in healthy living programming, evaluation, and/or research projects.
JoLynn Miller, UC Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development advisor for the Central Sierra, won Excellence in 4-H Volunteerism Award for the North Central Region. Miller was part of a team with members from the North Central Region that created the National 4-H Volunteer E-Forum.
At the state level, Kendra Lewis, academic coordinator; Sheila Bakke, 4-H program representative in Solano County; Gloria Gonzalez, 4-H SET program representative, Valerie Williams, 4-H program representative, and Shannon Horrillo, statewide 4-H Youth Development Program director, won the 4-H Military Partnership Award
The purpose of the 4-H Military Partnership Award is to recognize the individual or team who has created a positive Extension image through his/her/their leadership and citizenship as it relates to the development of the 4-H Military Partnerships on U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and/or U.S. Navy installations and in the community as it pertains to Reserve Component service members and families.
John Borba, 4-H youth development advisor for Kern County, was honored with the 25 Years of Service Award, Steven Worker, 4-H youth development advisor for Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties received the Meritorious Service Award for service in 4-H programs for 15+ years. Charles Go, UC Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development advisor for Alameda and Contra Costa counties, received the Distinguished Service Award for more than 7 years of service. Go also has begun serving as western regional director on the NAE4-HA Board. Soule received the Achievement in Service Award for 3 to 6 years of service in 4-H programs.
They received the awards Oct. 10 at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents conference in Columbus, Ohio.
Paul Verdegaal, who retired after serving more than 30 years as UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor in San Joaquin County, was inducted into the San Joaquin County Agricultural Hall of Fame on Oct. 18. Donald Rough, who was a UCCE pomology advisor, will be inducted posthumously.
“Verdegaal helped remove the stigma that Lodi could not grow premium wine grapes through exhaustive research, leadership and work with growers,” wrote Bob Highfill, marketing and communications manager for the Lodi Winegrape Commission, in the Stockton Record.
“During Verdegaal's tenure as farm advisor, the grape and wine industry in San Joaquin County flourished. Thirty years ago, there were 43,370 acres of grapes cultivated in San Joaquin County. In 2017, there were close to 100,000 acres. In 1986, Lodi was first recognized as an American Viticulture Area, but many, including the University, still felt that premium wine varietals could not be grown commercially in the Valley. Verdegaal worked hard to change that stigma.”
Kabashima honored with Urban Tree Legacy Award
Kabashima's varied research and extension programs have included the management of insects, diseases, and biological control of exotic and invasive pests.
Kabashima, who retired in 2015 after 28 years of serving the nursery and landscape industry and homeowners in Orange and Los Angeles counties, continues to lead the battle against invasive shot hole borer pests that spread fusarium dieback, threatening trees in Southern California. On Oct. 3, Kabashima gave a presentation at an urban forest summit for public agencies, reviewing current pest concerns relating to trees for San Diego County and what the county needs to do to defend against future invasions.
He has provided testimony for the California Legislature to fund further research into these destructive pests. In January, Kabashima was instrumental in bringing together university scientists, federal and state government representatives, county agricultural commissioners and nonprofit organization leaders for a summit in the state capitol to coordinate their efforts to battle invasive pests.
Kabashima received his bachelor's degree in agricultural biology from Cal Poly Pomona, master's degree in pest management from UC Riverside, an MBA from Pepperdine University and a doctorate in Entomology from UC Riverside. In 2014, he was inducted into the Green Industry Hall of Fame, and in 2016 he received the Arboriculture Research Award from the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.
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
Cathryn “Katie” Johnson joined UCCE on Jan. 2, 2018, as an area nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for the Central Sierra Multi-County Partnership serving El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties. The long-time resident of the Sierra foothills is passionate about developing an integrated approach to fighting chronic disease and improving community nutrition in the region.
Prior to joining UCCE, Johnson had been a health educator for the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency, Public Health Division, since January 2017. There, she worked on policy, systems and environmental change strategies, program planning and local evaluation for the SNAP-Ed/NEOP (Nutrition Education & Obesity Prevention) program, and served as the WIC (Women, Infants & Children) regional breastfeeding liaison.
From 2015 to 2016, Johnson held the positions of communication evaluation and development consultant and staff research assistant at the UC Merced Communication, Culture and Health Research Lab. At UC Merced, she contributed to strategic communications and formative evaluation for the CDC-funded PICH (Partnerships to Improve Community Health) project and coordinated community-engaged research on Merced residents' perceptions of health and safety. Previously, Johnson helped to manage small farms in Northern California and New Mexico, growing fruits and vegetables for sale at local markets. Johnson is also an international board-certified lactation consultant and has counseled breastfeeding families.
She earned a master of public health degree (with a concentration in public health nutrition) from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in environmental studies from Wellesley College.
Johnson is based in San Andreas and can be reached at (209) 754-6476 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laurent Ahiablame joined ANR as the UC Cooperative Extension director and water quality and management advisor in San Diego County on Dec. 18, 2017.
Ahiablame's research activities integrate environmental observations and computer modeling supported by ArcGIS to advance understanding of the fate and transport of water and related constituents across various spatial and temporal scales.
Prior to joining UCCE, Ahiablame was an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at South Dakota State University from 2014 to 2017. From 2013 to 2014, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Ahiablame earned a Ph.D. and a M.S. in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University and a B.S. in bioenvironmental engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Ahiablame can be reached at (858) 822-7673 and email@example.com.
Kari Arnold joined UCCE as an area orchard and vineyard systems advisor in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties on Nov. 1, 2017.
Prior to joining UCCE, Arnold was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis, where she participated in a statewide extension and outreach program involving viruses in grapevines and the certification program, collaborated with county viticulture advisors and industry leaders to facilitate grower workgroups for regional management of grapevine viruses, and provided presentations at grower meetings.
As a graduate student researcher from 2011 to October 2016, Arnold participated in individual grower meetings and surveys, facilitated and collaborated with a grower workgroup for areawide disease management in Napa vineyards, and conducted statistical characterization of spatial and temporal patterns of insect-vectored plant viruses. From 2009 to 2011, Arnold also worked as a staff research associate and nursery technician for Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis, where she provided employee training; worked on team oriented projects; provided tours, conducted virus indexing, and collected and analyzed data.
Arnold completed an M.S. and a Ph.D. in plant pathology from UC Davis and a B.S. in horticulture from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
Based in Modesto, Arnold can be reached at (209) 525-6821and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @KariDigsPlants.
Farzaneh Khorsandi Kouhanestani joined UCCE on Sept. 1, 2017, as an assistant agricultural safety and health engineer specialist in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis.
Prior to joining UCCE, Khorsandi Kouhanestani worked as research assistant and Ph.D. student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research is mainly related to agricultural machine design and evaluating the performance of the designed machines both experimentally and theoretically. The designed systems in the Ph.D. project were related to agricultural machinery safety. During her M.S. work, she designed, manufactured and evaluated the performance of a hand-held fruit harvester, a catch frame and a fruit sorter. After completing her M.S., she was a design engineer for an agricultural machinery design company, working on several design projects including a granule spreader, feed cutter and mixer and hay harvester.
Khorsandi Kouhanestani earned a B.S. in mechanics of agricultural machinery engineering in Iran, an M.S. in mechanics of agricultural machinery engineering from Shiraz University, Iran, and a Ph.D. in biosystems engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Khorsandi Kouhanestani is based at UC Davis and can be reached at (530) 752-7848 and email@example.com.
California Safe Soil and Pramod Pandey, UCCE specialist in UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, were among 13 California organizations that received the state's highest environmental honor, the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), in a ceremony at the California Environmental Protection Agency in Sacramento on Jan. 17.
The award recognizes the public-private partnership and collaborative research among California Safe Soil, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to recycle organic food waste into fertilizer and feed for agricultural use.
California Safe Soil has a proprietary new technology – enzymatic digestion – to recycle organic biomass. However, they had to prove that recycling food into fertilizer and feed can be done safely, without foodborne pathogens.
California Safe Soil worked with Pandey to conduct pathogen challenge research. Annette Jones and Douglas Hepper at CDFA and Bart Weimer, professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine, and Glenn Young, professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology, helped formulate the pathogen challenge test, which provided the scientific results needed to allow CDFA to issue an operating license for the enzymatic digestion.
Pandey's research, which was published in a peer-reviewed journal, proved that California Safe Soil's method for recycling organic food waste into fertilizer and feed is based on robust science and technology.
GEELA recipients are chosen from five categories including climate change, ecosystem and land-use stewardship, environmental education, sustainable practices and waste reduction.
Trevor Suslow, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis and director of the Postharvest Center, received the 2017 Valley of the World Education Award given by the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. The center established its Valley of the World Awards to honor key figures in the Salinas Valley agricultural industry.
“In the spirit of John Steinbeck's writings, the education award recognizes an individual who through his or her teaching and efforts has inspired and nourished a lifelong love of learning,” the center says on its website.
In presenting the award, the center described Suslow as having “one of the most active extension education and outreach programs” among extension specialists.
“Conservatively, he has provided over 1,500 local, state, national and international technical, extension education, training and outreach presentations on crop protection, soil and phyllosphere microbiology, biotechnology, fresh and fresh-cut produce quality systems, and microbial food safety of fresh produce,” the center wrote.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune has chosen Katherine Soule, UC Cooperative Extension director and advisor in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, as one of its Top 20 under 40. The Tribune's annual competition recognizes young professionals “who are making significant contributions in the fields of health care, business, law, government and the nonprofit sector. Not only have they demonstrated excellence in their careers, they also have shown a profound commitment to public service.”
In the news article announcing the winners, the newspaper says that Soule has earned state and national recognition for improving community health and increasing diversity in youth participation.
“As the extension's youth, families and communities advisor for the last several years, Soule developed new 4-H programs engaging underserved youths and promoting healthy living, leadership and social development. Her efforts nearly doubled enrollment and boosted Latino participation 26.8 percent. She's delivered nutrition education to more than 10,000 people through various partnerships,” the Tribune wrote.
It goes on to add, “Soule is a founding member of the Cultivating Change Foundation, working to improve inclusivity for the LGBTQ community in agriculture locally and nationwide.”