- Author: Christina Harrington, student assistant
A delegation of 12 UC ANR staff, academics, volunteers and stakeholders visited state legislators in Sacramento on April 19 for UC ANR Advocacy Day to share how UC ANR's work delivers local, place-based education, outreach and programming to serve communities throughout the state.
Anne Megaro, government and community relations director, and Christina Harrington, student assistant, UC Master Gardener and graduate of the UC California Naturalist Program, organized meetings with Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Senator John Laird, Assembly Member Devon Mathis, and staff members in many legislative offices.
The delegation thanked them for investing in ongoing funding in last year's state budget and shared their stories of serving community members, farmers, ranchers, youth and natural resource managers in their regions.
Vice President Glenda Humiston and Mark Bell, Vice Provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, led two teams, which included Sarah-Mae Nelson, UC Climate Stewards initiative academic coordinator; Kamal Khaira, director of CalFresh Healthy Living, UC; UCCE advisors Igor Lacan, Mae Culumber and Dorina Espinoza; 4-H Youth State Ambassadors Megna Nayar and Sara Tibbets; and Clio Tarazi, UC Master Gardener volunteer.
The teams urged legislators to support several key budget requests as part of Governor Newsom's proposed FY 2022-23 state budget. These budget commitments would support UC's much-needed capital projects at Research and Extension Centers and Elkus Ranch to expand capacity for research and programming, as well as investments for UC climate action and resiliency projects that will advance climate research and workforce development programs for students and community members.
The UC ANR representatives invited the legislators to visit for tours and events to see UC ANR at work in their districts firsthand.
Two UC Cooperative Extension scientists have been selected as Presidential Chairs for Tree Nuts at University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Giulia Marino, UCCE specialist, will be the Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Genetics and Mae Culumber, UCCE nut crops advisor, will be the Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Soil Science and Plant Water Relations, announced Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
The endowed chairs will give the two scientists a dedicated source of funding for five years for their ongoing agricultural research. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources established the two $1 million endowments in 2015. Half of the funds for the endowed chairs was donated by the California Pistachio Research Board and the other half was provided by UC Office of the President.
“The California Pistachio Research Board appreciated the opportunity to create these Presidential Chairs with the dedicated flexible funding it provides the scientists,” said Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board. “Mae and Giulia have stellar research records, have a history of research on California pistachios, and deserved both consideration and the award of these Chairs. The Board was pleased with the previous incumbents and is now looking forward to working with both Giulia and Mae in their programs on Genetics and Soil Science/Water Relations.”
“The funding from the presidential chair of tree nuts genetics will allow me to evaluate the horticultural and physiological performance of some promising new scion-rootstock options stemming from the UC pistachio breeding program developed by Craig Kallsen, UCCE farm advisor for Kern County, and Dan Parfitt, UC Davis professor emeritus,” Marino said.
“The program has the objectives of increasing the genetic diversity of the scion and rootstock cultivars used by the pistachio industry to improve grower returns and reduce its susceptibility to climate change,” Marino continued. “Rootstock projects include novel rootstocks more tolerant of boron in irrigation water, dwarfing rootstocks for higher early yields and more efficient use of pruning and harvest inputs. Scion objectives include novel scions for higher yield and trees less sensitive to inadequate winter chilling.”
One of her current research lines focuses on the characterization of low vigor cultivars and/or rootstocks to increase orchard planting density and reduce management costs in olive, pistachio and almond. She develops protocols for irrigation management based on genotype-specific physiological responses to water stress. Marino also studies the impact of saline sodic soil conditions on pistachio physiology and of low winter chill on cherry and pistachio tree and fruit physiology.
Marino earned a doctoral degree in fruit and forestry tree systems and master's and bachelor's degrees in agricultural science, all from the University of Palermo in Italy.
“As Presidential Chair, I will utilize these generous funds from the Pistachio Research Board to augment my collaborative outreach extension and applied research efforts to understand
and develop solutions to soil and water quality problems faced by pistachio growers and other nut crop producers across the San Joaquin Valley,” Culumber said.
She is collaborating on a CDFA Fertilizer Research and Education Program project that provides irrigation and nitrogen management training for certified crop advisors and growers to adopt practices that conserve water and protect water quality. She is also studying how to improve estimates of crop evapotranspiration and forecasting for major California crops for more precise irrigation. Culumber is leading research on the effects of whole orchard recycling on air quality and climate resilience, soil health, tree growth and productivity in second-generation orchards.
Culumber earned a Ph.D. in soil science and agroecology and a master's in plant science and molecular ecology, both from Utah State University, and a bachelor's in biology from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Bruce D. Lampinen, UC Cooperative Extension integrated orchard management, walnut and almond specialist in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, received the first Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Soil Science and Plant Water Relations. Craig Kallsen, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Kern County who specializes in fruit and nut crops, received the Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Genetics.
Bunn named vice provost of research and extension
David Bunn joined UC ANR as Vice Provost of Research and Extension on Aug. 16. He will oversee the Research and Extension Center System and county-based UC Cooperative Extension.
Bunn served as director of the California Department of Conservation, managing a staff of more than 600 scientists and professionals to promote the judicious use and conservation of energy, land and mineral resources. Previously, he served as deputy director of the California Department of Fish and Game and as a natural resources policy consultant for the California State Senate and Assembly.
For the last 18 months, Bunn directed the development of the UC Davis Graduate Program of Environmental Policy and Management, a unique professional program designed to train the next generation of environmental leaders and natural resources managers.
Bunn also served in previous positions at UC Davis, including associate director of the International Programs Office (now Global Engagement) in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. As an international project manager at the One Health Institute in the School of Veterinary Medicine, he managed research, training and capacity-building activities in East and West Africa and in Nepal over a nine-year period.
"I am thrilled to be appointed Vice Provost for Research and Extension," Bunn said. "I am passionate about translating science to action and the critical role of extension for improving the lives of people in urban and rural communities.”
"I look forward to working with all of the terrific researchers and educators in UC Cooperative Extension and throughout the UC System, and with the many external collaborators. In particular, I am eager to support the County and REC Directors in their important work," he added.
Bunn earned a Ph.D. in ecology, an M.S. in international agricultural development, and a B.S. in wildlife biology, all from UC Davis.
Bunn is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1369 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASHS honors Culumber with Early Career award
Mae Culumber, UC Cooperative Extension nut crops advisor for Fresno and Kings counties, was chosen by the American Society of Horticultural Science to receive its 2021 ASHS Early Career Extension and Outreach Award.
Culumber, who joined UC ANR in 2016, is the first to receive this ASHS award. Established in 2020, the ASHS Professional Early Career Award recognizes ASHS members for outstanding contributions to horticultural science through their professional activities within 7 years of completing their final degrees (BS, MS, PhD, etc.) prior to their employment.
“Despite being an Assistant Advisor, Dr. Culumber has led University of California professors, specialists, advisors, and USDA researchers in large-scale research projects as PI or Co-PI,” Luke Milliron, UC Cooperative Extension orchard systems advisor for Butte, Glenn and Tehama counties, wrote in his nomination letter. “Her leadership on studying the soil physical, biochemical, and greenhouse impacts of almond whole orchard recycling is a prerequisite to orchardists receiving cap and trade carbon credits for recycling their orchards, a sustainable alternative to removing and burning the trees at the end of the orchard's life. She also serves as Co-PI on studies of pistachio tree training techniques that increase yield, and variable rate irrigation in almond that enhances productivity, while preserving water and nutrient resources. Dr. Culumber's early research program is already delivering contributions to horticultural science with the potential to enhance orchard productivity and resource use efficiency across hundreds of thousands of acres.”
Since 2017, Culumber, who works with almonds, pistachios and walnuts, has published nine articles in peer-reviewed publications and helped secure over $1.25 million in grant and funding support. Her work as an advisor also earned her UC ANR's “Outstanding New Academic Distinguished Service Award” for 2019-2020.
She and other career award recipients received their awards at a ceremony on Aug. 6 at the 118thASHS Annual Conference in Denver.
Perring wins ESA award for IPM excellence
Thomas Perring, a professor in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, will receive the Entomological Society of America's 2021 Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management.
This award recognizes outstanding contributions that have a direct relation to integrated pest management (IPM).
Perring's research has developed management options for growers of 20 cropping systems involving 17 pests and five pathosystems. His lab has provided information on three predatory insects, four predatory mites, 12 parasitoids, and two entomopathogenic fungi in support of biological control. This research has resulted in 154 reviewed articles and chapters and five edited books.
His work includes creating a multistate partnership to develop IPM strategies for the stink bug, Bagrada hilaris; spearheading a classical biological control program against the mealybug, Maconellicoccus hirsutus and describing a new parasitoid, Anagyrus callidus (Triapitsyn, Andreason and Perring); conducting studies that launched a worldwide investigation into whether Bemisia tabaci consists of biotypes or species (currently at least 40 species are recognized); and implementing biocontrol of date mite and mating disruption of carob moth in dates.
Perring will receive the award during Entomology 2021, ESA's Annual Meeting, taking place in-person and online, Oct. 31 – Nov. 3, in Denver.
Tara Batista joined UCCE as an area 4-H youth development advisor for Kings, Fresno and Tulare counties on Oct. 3.
Prior to joining UCCE, Batista was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Management, Entrepreneurship and International Business at Stetson University in Florida from 2013 to May 2016. Batista has 15 years of experience in nonprofit management and positive youth development. She has worked for the Southeastern Network for Youth and Family Services, Girl Scouts, the U.S. Dream Academy and the Boys and Girls Clubs. Batista has also designed, implemented and evaluated youth development programs in Chimaltenango, Guatemala; Vieques, Puerto Rico; Oxford, U.K.; Bogota and Barranquilla, Colombia; Pinellas Park and DeLand, Fla.; New York City and Providence, R.I. She is currently president of Run 4 a Cause Foundation, which helps youth in central Florida to participate in sports outside of school time.
Batista earned a Ph.D. in social enterprise administration and an M.Phil. in social work from Columbia University. She completed a M.Sc. in evidence-based social intervention at the University of Oxford. She also earned a B.B.A in international business and a B.A. in Spanish from Stetson University.
Batista is based in Hanford and can be reached at (559) 852-2739 and email@example.com.
Catherine Mae Culumber joined UCCE on June 30 as a nut crops advisor for Fresno County.
Culumber has engaged in a broad range of research disciplines, investigating the impacts of land management on plants and soils in agricultural, forest and range ecosystems. Completed in 2016, her Ph.D. dissertation described the effects of novel orchard floor management approaches on soil health, water use, tree root distribution and tree growth in stone fruit orchards. Her graduate work, conducted in collaboration with the USDA-ARS Forage and Range Research Lab, characterized the phylogenetic structure of native grass populations used for grazing and range restoration in the western U.S.
She earned a Ph.D. in soil science and M.S. in ecology from Utah State University, and a B.S. in biology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Based in Fresno, Culumber can be reached at (559) 241-7526 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow her on Twitter at @ucnutadvisor.
Joao Paulo Martins joined UCCE on Aug. 1 as a dairy advisor in Tulare and Kings counties.
Martins, who goes by the nickname JP, was a private veterinarian for a year in Brazil, then worked as a research assistant and laboratory manager in the Department of Animal Science at Michigan State University. His research relates to herd health, reproductive management, cattle breeding, synchronization of ovulation, in vitro fertilization, and superovulation in commercial beef and dairy cows. He has expertise in ultrasonography for ovarian morphology, pregnancy diagnoses, fetal sexing and oocyte pick-up.
During his youth, the Rio de Janeiro native worked on his family's dairy farm in the Brazilian dairy state of Minas Gerais.
Martins earned a DVM degree from Federal Fluminense University (UFF), Niterói, RJ, Brazil, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in animal science from Michigan State University.
Based in Tulare, Martins can be reached at (559) 684-3313 and email@example.com.
Putman named UCCE plant pathology specialist
Alex Putman joined UC ANR on April 1 as an assistant specialist in Cooperative Extension and assistant plant pathologist in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at UC Riverside.
Prior to joining ANR, Putman was a postdoctoral researcher based in Salinas for the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis from 2014 to 2016.
Putman focuses on diseases challenging vegetable and strawberry production, especially disease caused by soilborne fungi such as Athelia, Fusarium, Macrophomina, Sclerotinia, Stromatinia and Verticillium. To understand these diseases, his program will integrate various research approaches that could include cropping systems, epidemiology, host resistance, pathogen biology, remote sensing or soil ecology.
He earned a Ph.D. in plant pathology from North Carolina State University, an M.S. in agronomy from the University of Connecticut and a B.S. in natural resource sciences from the University of Maryland.
Derrick Robinson joined ANR on Aug. 1 as an academic coordinator for the Money Talks project.
Prior to joining ANR, Robinson was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Economics and Geography at University of North Florida for a year. He developed and instructed courses in economics on principles of microeconomics, macroeconomics, intermediate microeconomics, conservation of natural resources, economic geography and business statistics. From 2014 to 2015, Robinson developed and taught a course in agribusiness, entrepreneurship and ag-policy analysis at Tuskegee University. At Auburn University, he worked on community-based research with local Sea Grant offices as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration collegiate fellow from 2011 to 2015. From 2009 to 2011, he was a project manager for the University of North Florida Environmental Center, where he organized programs for the campus community and surrounding regional community.
Robinson earned a B.S. in communication: electronic media and a B.A. in economics from University of North Florida, and his Ph.D. in applied economics from Auburn University.
Based in San Diego, Robinson can be reached at (858) 822-7679 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liz Sizensky has joined the Strategic Communications team in Davis and the Nutrition Policy Institute in Berkeley as a communications strategist. She brings extensive experience managing digital and print projects. Prior to joining ANR, she served nine years at UC Berkeley, where she led web and print projects that increased awareness of the research and initiatives of the School of Public Health, SafeTREC, the Division of Student Affairs, the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Before UC Berkeley, she spent eight years overseeing websites and marketing communications for Silicon Valley technology companies including Netscape, HP and VeriSign. She is known for translating complex ideas into clear and engaging communications that educate, inform and inspire readers.
She earned a B.A. with honors in English from Mills College in Oakland.
Sizensky can be reached at (530) 750-1272 in Davis on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and at email@example.com.
Janet Caprile, UCCE advisor for Contra Costa and Alameda counties, and the Contra Costa County Agriculture Department have been awarded a 2016 IPM Achievement Award by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for their cherry buckskin project.
Cherry buckskin disease has wiped out cherry production in several areas of California since it was first reported in 1931. In the 1980s, the disease became established in San Joaquin County. To prevent the establishment of the disease in neighboring Contra Costa County, a collaborative effort among UC Cooperative Extension, the county agriculture department and local cherry growers began in 1987.
Caprile trained UC Master Gardener volunteers to identify cherry buckskin disease symptoms and organized them to help perform an annual survey during harvest. Mid Valley Ag Services covers the cost of lab testing each year. The Master Gardeners and former coordinator Emma Conner first detected infected trees during the 2002 survey.
Caprile informed growers of the disease detection and worked with them to develop an aggressive IPM treatment and eradication program to prevent the establishment of this devastating disease. As a result of these efforts, the disease has been eliminated in Contra Costa County.
The 2016 Achievement Awards will be presented at a ceremony at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters on Jan. 26 in Sacramento.
The Renewable Natural Resources Foundation honored Doug Parker, director of the California Institute for Water Resources, with its Chairman's Award for Professional Service to the foundation.
In announcing the award, Robert D. Day, RNRF executive director, wrote to Parker: “You received the award because of your essential volunteer assistance in developing the program and identifying eminently qualified prospective speakers for RNRF's 2015 Congress on sustaining Wester Water. Plus, you launched the congress with an excellent opening address. We would not have had the program that we did without you.”
Parker is president of the Universities Council on Water Resources, an association of universities and organizations leading in education, research and public service in water resources. As UCOWR president, he serves on the executive council for NIDIS, the National Integrated Drought Information System, which maintains the Drought.gov website at https://www.drought.gov/drought.
The Renewable Natural Resources Foundation (RNRF) is a nonprofit, public policy research organization based in North Bethesda, Md. It is a consortium of scientific, professional, educational, design and engineering organizations whose primary purpose is to advance science, the application of science, and public education in managing and conserving renewable natural resources.
The National Association of Extension 4-H Agents honored the work of 4-H youth development advisors Marianne Bird and Russell Hill on Oct. 13.
Bird, who serves Sacramento County, received the 2016 NAE4HA Meritorious Service Award. According to the association, Bird received the award because she “loves bringing new learning opportunities to young people, especially in STEM and environmental education.” It also noted that “She works extensively with camps and afterschool programs and enjoys empowering teens-as-teachers. Marianne served on the National 4-H Science in Urban Communities team and fashioned 4-H on the Wild Side, a National 4-H Program of Distinction.”
Hill recently celebrated 10 years of service with UC ANR. His prior roles include county 4-H program representative and the director of the 4-H Military Partnership. He is part of the team recently honored by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the Cooperative Extension system, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) with the National Extension Diversity Award for systematically enhancing the intercultural competency of 4-H personnel and others in California.
Bird and Hill received the awards on Oct. 13 at the NAE4HA Annual Conference in New Orleans.
Vernard Lewis, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, was inducted into Pest Management Professional Magazine's 2016 Hall of Fame on Oct. 17 in honor of his 35-year career in pest management. The entomologist focuses on urban pests, including ants, cockroaches and wood-boring beetles, but is best known for his integrated pest management research and outreach on bed bugs and termites.
Saying that he's “had a blast,” Lewis, who joined UC ANR in 1990, told Pest Management Professional that he plans to retire in 2017. He reminisced about doing pest control at San Quentin Prison and building Villa Termiti at the Richmond Field Station to test termite detection and control measures. To read the article, visit http://www.mypmp.net/2016/09/22/pmp-hall-of-fame-2016-inductee-dr-vernard-lewis-reflects-on-career.