UC Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources Glenda Humiston led a delegation from California to meet with congressional members and staff on March 6-11 to discuss specific benefits of UC ANR in their districts and the importance of strong federal funding to support programs, including Cooperative Extension, 4-H youth development, nutrition education, and the research and extension centers.
The California delegation was part of the Association for Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET), which held their annual meeting and (virtually) visited Capitol Hill for the 40th year to jointly request agricultural appropriations that support the land-grant mission.
The UC delegation met with staff from 27 congressional offices via Zoom to discuss the many critical agriculture needs facing California and the nation. They explained how UC is at the forefront of conducting research to understand and solve problems facing the agricultural industry and encouraged Congress to provide the highest possible funding levels in FY 2022 and FY 2023.
“This year, our request included something new – $365 million for agricultural research infrastructure,” said Anne Megaro, UC ANR director of government and community relations. “We have been working with Congress to include significant infrastructure funding in President Biden's Build Back Better legislation, and we are continuing to make this request through annual appropriations.”
Bringing UC's facilities up to modern standards with necessities such as high-speed broadband would provide capacity for cutting-edge research such as precision agriculture, remote sensing and growing space for CRISPR-based research. It would also ensure that U.S. research can continue to meet the agricultural and natural resource needs of the nation.
Humiston was joined by emeritus UCCE advisor Bill Frost, rancher Dina Moore, nurseryman Mike Mellano, Ish Herrera of California Forward, and Alejandra Sanchez of Driscoll's who shared how UC ANR research and outreach have improved their businesses, lives and communities.
“Our local UCCE advisors have given so much to our communities up and down the state; this is just one way I like to give back in support of their efforts. Congress needs to know how valuable ag research and education is, and how much we trust and depend on UC,” said Herrera, California Forward director of regional stewardship.
Rounding out the group were several UC ANR leaders, including deans David Ackerly, Helene Dillard and Kathryn Uhrich.
Missy Gable, UC Master Gardener Program director; Ryan Tompkins, UCCE forestry and natural resources advisor for Plumas and Sierra counties; and Jairo Diaz, director of Desert Research and Extension Center shared examples of their work throughout the state to adapt to living with wildfire, climate change and drought, and to improve Californians' health and wellness.
“As an extension forester, wildfire not only drives our applied research, but also affects the communities we live in and serve,” said Tompkins. “CARET provides opportunities to share real-life experiences of how federal funding supports UC forest and wildfire research, outreach, and education that have meaningful benefit for communities throughout California.”
Construction of a new parking lot for the ANR building in Davis is providing an opportunity for UC ANR to demonstrate science at the site by integrating an ongoing water-quality research project.
The research project on the recently purchased 10 acres at 3031 Second St. was developed by Missy Gable, director of the Master Gardener Program; Loren Oki, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in environmental horticulture at UC Davis; Igor Lacan, UC Cooperative Extension urban forestry advisor for San Mateo County; and Marq Truscott, a retired landscape architect who lectures for the Landscape Architecture Program at UC Davis.
The researchers will evaluate the effect of parking surfaces paved with different materials and coupled to rain garden swales on storm water runoff quality and quantity, according to Jan Corlett, chief of staff to the vice president, who is overseeing the project.
The study area of the parking lot will have the swales and three different surface types – typical asphalt, a cellular confinement system and permeable pavers. The researchers will study how these features improve water quality by removing pollutants and reduce runoff volumes by improving soil infiltration. They will be able to collect samples of runoff water from the different paved surfaces.
In addition, all trees planted in the parking lot will have engineered substrates to demonstrate their long-term effect on tree health and condition.
The new lot will add 92 full-sized, paved parking spaces and 40 parking spaces on gravel to the existing 96 spaces at 2801 Second St.
In 2016, a team that did planning for the 3031 Second St. site envisioned a collaborative, systemwide showcase, supported by the following key goals:
- Enhance the visibility of ANR's mission, research and educational programs that affect the lives of all Californians
- Ensure an inclusive approach to design and programming that welcomes all members of the ANR community, as well as outside researchers and stakeholders
- Support the core mission of ANR by ensuring the campus has a full suite of properly-sized and flexibly programmed facilities and spaces
- Capitalize on the opportunity to tell ANR's story both to the University of California community and outside stakeholders
- Promote community health and wellness in every aspect of site design and facility programming
- Reflect the natural California landscape through appropriate site design and landscaping
“This project reflects many of those goals by demonstrating that everything ANR does, even building a parking lot, can include research and extension opportunities,” Corlett said. “The City of Davis is very supportive of this effort, and we expect that it will draw many visitors each year.”
The project broke ground Sept. 5 and is expected to be completed in November.
The 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference was buzzing with activity as participants learned about the latest research in home horticulture and networked with fellow gardening enthusiasts in Long Beach on Aug. 22-25.
“It turns out there is far more to the UC Master Gardener Conference than talk about gardening!” AVP Wendy Powers wrote in her ANR Adventures blog. “I was unable to attend as many talks as I had hoped but those I made were great – filled with timely information from UC ANR advisors.”
The attendees took field trips to tour gardens at Rancho Los Cerritos in Long Beach, South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens and Huntington Botanical Gardens.
For shoppers, the conference MarketPlace was stocked with handcrafted items from UC Master Gardener volunteers, gardening tools and UC ANR publications. Funds raised from the sales will be used to support the county programs.
The extended vacancy of the Youth, Families and Communities Director position (vacant 17 months) has given UC ANR leadership time to consider program needs and how the Division can best meet those needs moving forward. After reflection, collecting recommendations from the respective Statewide Directors and gathering input from the broader ANR community, AVP Wendy Powers has decided not to fill the YFC director position.
“Interim co-directors Shannon Horrillo and Katie Panarella have provided excellent leadership and afforded the Division an opportunity to invest the unused salary provision to further strengthen and support the YFC program,” Powers said.
Funds designated for the YFC director position will be reinvested into YFC programs to support growth and new opportunities. The statewide program directors identified program integration among 4-H Youth Development; Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences; Master Food Preserver and Master Gardener programs as a key priority.
“In support of their vision, we will hire a Program Integration Coordinator that will support efforts to integrate across programs and disciplines to maximize extension efforts and identify new multidisciplinary funding opportunities,” Powers said. “This is consistent with the original intent of having a YFC program and a goal within the UC ANR strategic plan to better integrate and focus our efforts.” The position will be released in the coming months with interviews anticipated in May.
“Subsequently, based on the directors' recommendations, we will invest in hiring a Master Food Preserver and Food Entrepreneurship Academic Coordinator,” Powers said. “This position will bring together our existing work with home food preservation, cottage foods and innovation in agriculture to best address the food security needs of California and to pursue funding opportunities to implement programming.
She also announced plans to hire a part-time 4-H online data system administrator to centralize some 4-H online administrative functions at the state level, reducing the administrative workload on 4-H county-based staff and increasing technical assistance and support.
“We believe this plan will provide the needed support to position YFC for growth and to meet future needs,” said Powers.
Shannon Horrillo will continue permanently as the statewide 4-H director and Katie Panarella as the statewide Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences director and co-director of the Master Food Preserver Program. They will continue working in partnership with Missy Gable, the statewide Master Gardener director and co-director of the Master Food Preserver Program to lead these high-priority ANR statewide programs and integration in ways that leverage their assets for greater collective impact.
On Nov. 29, ANR is participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by the power of our social network. Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season.
“We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to raise some funds for our ANR programs while raising the visibility of the ways Californians benefit from your work,” said VP Glenda Humiston.
You don't use social media? No problem, email your friends. They probably wonder what you do for work. Tell them what your role is in this magnificent organization that's making life better for Californians and invite them to support our efforts by donating, sharing our message or volunteering.
A website has been created with links to all of ANR's programs, Research and Extension Centers and extension offices: http://ucanr.edu/sites/givingtuesday. It invites donors to designate the program or location to which they wish to donate.
The website also contains a toolkit for county offices and programs to participate. It includes:
- A customizable letter to send to stakeholders
- Templates for “unselfies.” Donors may take photos of themselves holding an unselfie sign and share on social media how they are giving.
- Sample tweets and social media posts
- Sample thank you note
“#GivingTuesday is a wonderful opportunity to gain support, donations, increase awareness and generate a buzz about UC ANR and all of our programs,” said Missy Gable, UC Master Gardener Program director.
“We are excited to be participating in the movement this year and hopeful that the results will be even better than the success we saw in 2015,” she said. “UC Master Gardener volunteers are passionate about how we serve our communities and the incredible impacts we are making. #GivingTuesday is a great opportunity to highlight the impacts we are making, build relationships and thank those who have supported us along the way.”
The UC Master Gardener #GivingTuesday website is at http://mg.ucanr.edu/Support/GivingTuesday.
4-H also has its own website http://4h.ucanr.edu/GivingTuesday. Last year, 4-H programs in 17 counties participated.
“Our goal for 4-H was to raise $10,000 and we exceeded our goal with donations totaling over $13,000,” said Andrea Ambrose, acting director of Development Services. “UCCE Placer County collected the largest amount for the 4-H Youth Development Program. We'll see which county collects the most this year.”
Although not as widely recognized as the shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday appeals to people swept up in the spirit of giving at the end of the year.
“By joining the #GivingTuesday campaign, people involved in all ANR programs will have an opportunity to supplement their funding with private donations and have some fun,” said Ambrose.