Kirsten Pearsons joined UC Cooperative Extension on March 1 as a small farm advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. She is developing research and extension programs focused on integrating soil health practices and pest management strategies for small-scale farmers and specialty crops.
Prior to joining UC ANR, Pearsons was a postdoctoral researcher at the nonprofit Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, where she focused on studying and promoting organic and regenerative agriculture. She worked on Rodale's long-term Farming Systems Trial, studying how organic and reduced-till field crop production affects long-term farm economics, soil health and water quality compared to conventional practices.
She earned a Ph.D. in entomology at Pennsylvania State University and a B.S. in environmental toxicology at UC Davis.
Pearsons is based in San Luis Obispo and can be reached at email@example.com, (805) 788-9486 (office) and (925) 487-8374 (cell). She will be posting event information and resources for small-scale farms in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties on Instagram @ucceslosmallfarms.
Ricky Satomi joined UCCE Sutter-Yuba on March 15 as an area forestry and natural resources advisor in the Western Sierra Region (Sutter, Yuba, Butte, Nevada and Placer counties). He specializes in forest management with a focus on new technologies and wood products.
Prior to moving to UCCE Sutter-Yuba, Satomi served as a UCCE area forest advisor working on forestry and youth education issues for Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou counties.
Satomi earned a Master of Forestry looking at the cost efficiency of forest mastication treatments, and a B.S. in forestry & natural resources and society & environment, both from UC Berkeley. He has also worked as a field forester working on various inventory and timber management programs throughout California.
In the coming year, he hopes to offer workshops for forest landowners and professionals around novel GIS tools, climate-smart silvicultural practices, reforestation best practices, and workforce development opportunities.
Satomi is based in Yuba City and can be reached at (530) 822-6213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cameron Barreto joined UC ANR as a senior contracts and grants officer on April 14. He will be working with the Office of Contracts and Grants to assist UC ANR researchers with the submission and management of their proposals and awards for sponsored research.
Prior to joining UC ANR, he was a research services coordinator with UC San Francisco Office of Sponsored Research for three years assisting the Pediatrics Department and participating in several extramural groups including serving as co-chair of the Office of Sponsored Research Council and Gallup Engagement Survey officer.
He earned a B.A. in history from the University of Rochester in upstate New York.
Barreto is based at the ANR Building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1368 and email@example.com.
Danny Won is the new program assistant for the UC Master Gardener Program statewide office. He has been with UC ANR since 2015, working as an administrative assistant for the UC Integrated Pest Management Program.
Won will be supporting the UC Master Gardener Program by managing inventory and shipping and overseeing volunteers' annual reappointment, California Department of Food and Agriculture licenses, program purchases, and many other projects. He will continue to provide support to UC IPM for events and workshops. His new office is located in the ANR building at space #102 and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steven Worker, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for 4-H youth development in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties, received the 2022 Scholar Award from the American Educational Research Association's Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group.
The Scholar Award recognizes outstanding research in the out-of-school time field and honors a scholar in the early to middle stages of their career.
Worker, who became a 4-H advisor in 2016, was recognized for excellence, creativity and intentionality in contributing to the out-of-school-time learning field. His research efforts have focused on (1) youth development with an emphasis on adapting, piloting and evaluating youth development program models that integrate culturally relevant practices to engage culturally diverse youth; (2) science learning that engages youth in personally meaningful experiences situated in authentic community activities; and (3) exploring factors involved with improving volunteer educator competence and confidence to facilitate high-quality youth development.
Worker strives to improve the cultural relevancy of youth development programs to make them more welcoming to marginalized youth. Applying his research findings, Worker organizes activities to engage youth in STEM. During the pandemic, he created ways for children to learn and socialize safely by meeting online to build motorboats and view livestock presentations in person at a drive-through animal science day. In May, he will host the North Bay Science Discovery Day.
Ellen Bruno, UC Cooperative Extension economics specialist at UC Berkeley, is a recipient of the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) 2021 New Innovator in Food & Agriculture Research Award, an award granted to early career scientists supporting research in one of FFAR's Challenge Areas.
FFAR's New Innovator in Food & Agriculture Research Award provides early-career scientists with funding to focus on food and agriculture research without the pressure of securing additional funding. Each applicant can receive up to $150,000 per year for a maximum of three years.
Meeting future food needs requires effectively managing scarce groundwater. California is addressing this problem through the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which ensures better groundwater use and management. Bruno's research is using the act as a case study to identify policies that enhance water sustainability and minimize regulation costs.
Kocher, Ingram win educational materials awards
One award was for the Forest Stewardship Education Newsletter in the “Newsletters or Series of Articles” category and another award in the “TV or Video” category for their four-part series of Forest Inventory videos. Ingram and Kocher share the video award with Kestrel Grevatt, a GrizzlyCorps Fellow.
Susie Kocher explains in a video how forest landowners can manage their forest land and take an inventory of trees in their forest.
After leading the Western Integrated Pest Management Center through the global COVID crisis as acting director, Matt Baur has been named permanent director effective July 1 to lead the center into the post-pandemic future.
Baur, an IPM practitioner and entomologist by training, had been the Western IPM Center's associate director since 2014.
“Like everyone, the center had to change the way we worked during the pandemic and some of those changes are likely to continue into our future,” Baur predicted. “The region we serve in the West is huge – Guam to Colorado, Alaska to New Mexico – and the remote technologies and virtual platforms we all became familiar with in 2020 can help us connect across those miles.”
Baur's goals for the center are to build on its successes and expand its outreach to serve new areas and audiences, promoting smart, safe and sustainable pest management across the region to protect the people, environment and economy of the American West.
“The vision of the center is “A healthier West with fewer pests,'” he explained, “and that's something I care about deeply. I have two sons and promoting integrated pest management is one way I help protect their world.”
Baur sees a need to reconnect with the people who research and teach IPM, and plans to attend meetings and conferences for all the scientific disciplines involved in pest management. He also plans to expand the center's connections to communities that have been under-represented and under-served in the past.
“I believe it's vital that we not only listen to but represent all the stakeholders in the West affected by pests and pest-management practices,” Baur said. “There are voices we haven't heard and communities we haven't served well in the past, and I am very happy to have the opportunity to change that. Integrated pest management can be a way to promote environmental and social justice, and as a regional IPM center, we can be leaders in that.”
Before joining the Western IPM Center, Baur worked as a research scientist at DuPont/Pioneer and was a research assistant professor at Louisiana State University. He received his doctorate in entomology at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and his bachelor's degree in biology from UC San Diego. He is a licensed pest control adviser in the state of California.
Baur is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com. – Steve Elliott
Shum named director of Business Operations Center
Su-Lin Shum joined UC ANR as director of the Business Operations Center June 14, 2021. Shum will oversee the consolidated Business Operations Center in Davis.
Shum brings over 25 years of experience in financial management, budget oversight, and financial operations and analysis within the UC system and beyond. Throughout her career, she has specialized in finance and business services while serving as the director of finance and business services at Sierra College, the director of budget and finance at the UC Berkeley Library, the interim assistant dean for Finance and Administration at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, and project manager and principal budget analyst at the UC Davis Budget Office.
While living in Canada, Shum served as the executive director of strategy and operations at the Pacific Carbon Trust Environmental Investment Agency and as director of corporate planning, reporting and program reviews/audits at the British Columbia Office of the Auditor General.
Shum earned an MBA from Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University, and a BA from the University of British Columbia.
Shum is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heather Kawakami rejoined ANR as associate director of statewide programs operations and research and extension centers on June 7.
Kawakami, who has worked for UC since 1992, served as chief business officer for the Nutrition Policy Institute in 2017 and 2018. She has also worked in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, most recently as the business unit manager for the Department of Plant Sciences.
She earned a BA in medieval studies with a minor in Latin from UC Davis.
Kawakami is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com.
Amir Haghverdi, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in irrigation and water management in the Environmental Sciences Department at UC Riverside, has been selected to receive the 2021 Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) Early Career Award for Applied Research. The national award recognizes outstanding early contributions in applied research related to water and promise of continued professional growth and recognition.
Haghverdi's research focuses on developing and disseminating scientific knowledge, practical recommendations, and tools for sustainable urban and agricultural water resources management. His approaches include field research trials, laboratory analyses, and computer modeling to identify opportunities for synergy between research and extension activities. His main research themes include irrigation water management, root zone soil hydrology, and precision agriculture. He is also interested in applications of advanced data acquisition and mining techniques, including remote sensing, GIS (geographic information systems) and GPS (global positioning system) technologies, machine learning, and wireless sensors.
UCOWR is a consortium of academic institutions and affiliates invested in water resources research, education and outreach.
4-H wins Diversity & Inclusion Award
The 2016-2019 UC 4-H Latino Initiative is the recipient of the Diversity & Inclusion: Expanding the 4-H Audience Award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals.
Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, statewide 4-H director, and 4-H advisors Steven Worker, John Borba, Claudia Diaz-Carrasco, Russell Hill, Katherine Soule and Liliana Vega, and Lupita Fabregas, former 4-H Youth Development assistant director for diversity and expansion, developed, implemented and evaluated culturally responsive program models to attract and retain Latino youth, families and volunteers into 4-H.
The project focused on seven counties – Kern, Merced, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Sonoma – selected to represent rural, suburban and urban communities. The number of Latino youth participating in the 4-H program increased more than 250% in three years. Youth enrollment statewide grew from 1.1% of the school-aged population in 2016 to 1.9% at the end of 2019. All counties achieved parity – within 80% of Latino youth in the population – by the end of year three (except Orange County which withdrew in year two). Read more about the UC 4-H Latino Initiative at http://4h.ucanr.edu/Resources/Latino/.
The NAE4-HYDP Diversity & Inclusion Award recognizes outstanding effort and accomplishments in achieving, expanding and/or sustaining diversity in the NAE4-HYDP organization, programs, and/or audiences.
The UC 4-H Latino Initiative team will be recognized at the NAE4-HYDP Conference in Memphis, Tenn., on November 16 or 17.
WEDA honors California Dairy Quality Assurance Program
The Western Extension Directors Association presented a 2021 Award of Excellence to the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program - Environmental Stewardship: A Public Private Partnership.
Launched in 1997, the program is led by Deanne Meyer, UCCE livestock waste management specialist, UCCE advisors Betsy Karle, Jennifer Heguy, David Lewis, Jeffery Stackhouse, Nicholas Clark, Randi Black and Daniela Bruno, and Denise Mullinax of the California Dairy Research Foundation.
The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is a voluntary partnership between the dairy industry, government and academia. It has been proactive in addressing environmental concerns, setting up a voluntary certification project before the adoption of water quality regulations that targeted nitrogen management. To protect California's air and water quality, more than 700 dairy farms have completed an on-site, third-party evaluation of their facility's manure management.
Katherine Uhde, UC Master Gardener Program coordinator in Santa Clara County, has been selected as one of 50 Bloomberg fellows to receive full scholarships to earn a Master of Public Health through the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Uhde's project will focus on environmental challenges. She is working with Lucy Diekmann, UCCE urban agriculture and food systems advisor for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, to develop project ideas that address public health practice needs.
“Generally, the project will focus on environmental health and wellness in Santa Clara County and the Bay Area,” Uhde said.
Ali Harivandi, emeritus UC Cooperative Extension turfgrass advisor, recently received an Ike Grainger Award from the United States Golf Association.
A UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulturist based in Alameda County who specialized in turf, soil and water for 33 years, Harivandi served on the USGA's Turfgrass and Environment Committee and Green Section Research Committee. He is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert on recycled water use on golf courses and other landscape sites. His expertise in soil and water quality have been important to the USGA.
Each year, the USGA presents the Ike Grainger Award to individuals who have served the Association as a volunteer for 25 years. These dedicated men and women tirelessly give back to the game through a variety of roles.
Harivandi was instrumental in encouraging the committee to seek out research to develop warm season grasses with greater drought tolerance and grasses that will some day be able to remain green during the winter in areas where bermudagrass has historically gone dormant.
Garvey wins ACE photo awards
Kathy Keatley Garvey, UC Davis communications specialist for UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won silver and bronze awards in a photography competition hosted by the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). ACE announced the awards June 22 at its virtual conference.
She captured the silver with a Canon MPE-65mm lens and posted the image at https://bit.ly/3cUx358 Aug. 10, 2020, on her Bug Squad blog.
“The purpose of my image is to draw attention to the dwindling monarch butterfly population,” wrote Garvey, who creates habitat for monarch butterflies in her family's pollinator garden. “They are on life support.” The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation reports that overwintering monarchs have declined 99% in coastal California since the 1990s.
In addition to the silver award, Garvey won a bronze award for her photo series of male and female Gulf fritillaries, Agraulis vanillae, “keeping busy.” Her post, “Fifty Shades of Orange, with a Touch of Silver,” appeared July 13, 2020, on her Bug Squad blog at https://bit.ly/2Q6cU3q.
I am pleased to announce funding decisions for the 2017 UC ANR Competitive Grants Program/High Risk, High Rewards Program. As in past years, the number of requests received exceeds funding available. With 45 competitive grant proposals requesting over $7 million and six high-risk high-reward proposals requesting over another $500,000, we are pleased to be able to support around 25 percent overall.
I want to thank the Strategic Initiative Panels for their work in screening letters of intent and the Technical Review Panels for their efforts reviewing proposals for technical merit, feasibility and extension prior to the review by Program Council. Program Council then reviewed proposals against all the criteria and had the difficult task of making recommendations to me how best to distribute the finite resources available. I commend the principal investigators and their teams for their submissions. While each submission represented important work, not all proposals could be funded.
I am particularly pleased to see that funded proposals represent each of the Strategic Initiatives and have as principal investigators advisors, specialists, academic administrators and AES faculty from each of the AES campuses, our county academics, and our UC ANR statewide programs. The partnering in each of the proposals illustrates one of the principles of our ANR Promise.
The Strategic Initiative Leaders will be sending review comments out to all applicants over the next few weeks.
Congratulations to all of the awardees. The list of funded proposals is below and also posted on the 2017 funding opportunities web page.
Title Principal Investigator Award Amount
Pathways to Your Future: Destination UC Shannon Horrillo $200,000
Massive tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada: Jodi Axelson $200,000
Consequences for forest health
Reducing nitrate leaching to the groundwater by accounting Daniel Geisseler $199,978
for the soils' capacity to supply N through mineralization
Advancing urban irrigation management to enhance water Amir Haghverdi $199,975
The California Master Beekeeper Program: Development of a Elina Nino $199,949
continuous train-the-trainer education effort for CA beekeepers
Silent straws: understanding water demands from woody Lenya Quinn-Davidson $199,937
encroachment in California's oak woodlands
Impact of a warmer and drier future on rangeland ecosystems Jeremy James $199,831
and ecosystem services
Closing the adaptive management loop for sustainable Leslie Roche $199,502
Developing a culturally relevant civic science approach to Steve Worker $194,768
improving scientific literacy for Latino youth
Creating cyst nematode suppressive soils by managing James Borneman $100,000
indigenous populations of the hyperparasitic fungus
Smart Farming: Monitoring the health of chickens Maja Makagon $81,293
Recruiting the next generation of extension professionals Jennifer Heguv $11,030
Car Mun Kok joined UC Cooperative Extension on Jan. 11 as an area 4-H Youth Development advisor in Mendocino and Lake counties. Her research focuses on the influence of family on children and youths' development of healthy dietary behaviors. For her dissertation, she explored the role of parental socialization during family mealtimes on youths' attitudes and behaviors regarding food and eating.
Prior to joining UCCE, Kok had been a graduate research and teaching assistant since 2009 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she worked on various research projects with faculty. These included programs for children and youth in Nebraska in various fields of STEM, healthy living, and positive youth development. Her work included the ‘Eat 4-Health' Healthy Living Workshop, the ‘Grow a Beautiful Space' 4-H Youth Development Program, the ‘Seeing i2i' cultural competence curriculum, and the Big Classroom Day at the Nebraska State Fair. Kok, who is fluent in Malay and Cantonese, also studied nutrition education in childcare settings. With other Cooperative Extension professionals, she developed, implemented and evaluated nutrition education programs for children and developed evidence-based resources for childcare providers.
She earned her B.A. in psychology, M.S. in child, youth, and family studies, and Ph.D. in human sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Kok is based in Lakeport and can be reached at (707) 263-6838 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steven Worker, the California 4-H Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) coordinator, will become the UCCE area 4-H advisor in Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties on May 2.
Since 2009, Worker has coordinated statewide professional development, program planning, evaluation, and curriculum development efforts to increase the science, engineering, and technology literacy of California's youth. His work has focused on strengthening 4-H STEM programs using inquiry-based, experiential education in the context of positive youth development.
Worker joined ANR in 2001 as a state 4-H program representative coordinating adolescent leadership, recognition and technology programs. In 2006, he was honored with an Achievement in Service Award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents. He has co-authored 4-H curricula, including Junk Drawer Robotics, There's No New Water! and iThrive 3: Leadership, Science and Me!
Worker is a Ph.D. candidate at the UC Davis School of Education, studying youth learning in design-based projects in informal and out-of-school environments. He earned his M.S. in community development from UC Davis, a B.S. in computer science from California Polytechnic State University, and an A.A. in liberal arts from Allan Hancock College.
He can currently be reached in Davis at (530) 750-1341 and email@example.com. After May 2, Worker will be based in Novato and reachable at the same email address.
NIFA recognizes UC EFNEP
UC ANR's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program was recognized with a Certificate of Appreciation from USDA NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy for being one of two land grant universities out of 76 that submitted the EFNEP five-year plan (July 2015), EFNEP Budget (Nov 2015) and Annual WebNEERs Data (Nov 2015) on time and all three documents accepted without needing revision. The certificate was presented on March 16 at the EFNEP National Conference in Washington, D.C.
“This is a huge accomplishment for our Statewide EFNEP program, EFNEP State Office staff and especially for our UCCE county advisors and staff who helped make it possible by getting the information that we needed to us in time,” said Katie Panarella, associate director of Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences Program & Policy.
To show how work at every level ensures the continued success of the EFNEP program, Nutrition, Family and Consumer Science advisors and supervisors who oversee EFNEP were acknowledged on March 30 at UC ANR's EFNEP advisors and supervisors meeting in Davis.
Our Strategic Vision 2025 highlights the importance of accurate, science-based information as a cornerstone in personal decision-making and public policy. The improvement of scientific literacy among the public is a joint, collaborative responsibility shared by multiple ANR initiative groups. The 4-H Youth Development Program has made significant efforts developing and implementing high-quality curricula and programs to address youth scientific literacy, and there are further opportunities to bolster youth learning and involvement by engaging young people across the range of ANR strategic initiatives.
“We would like to expand our work with our colleagues in ANR across the initiatives and statewide programs,” said Martin Smith, UC Cooperative Extension science literacy specialist in Veterinary Medicine Extension and the Department of Human Ecology at UC Davis.
The 4-H Youth Development Program already partners with several strategic initiatives to improve the scientific literacy of youth by giving them authentic opportunities to learn science and do scientific work.
Sustainable Food Systems
Through nutrition and gardening projects, 4-H programs incorporate the Sustainable Food Systems Initiative to improve youth science literacy. The Discovering Healthy Choices curriculum developed through a 2011 ANR Grant is a multi-component, school-based approach to supporting regional agriculture, promoting healthy behaviors, and reducing childhood obesity. Terri Spezzano, UCCE Stanislaus County director and nutrition, family and consumer science advisor, says “Through the Discovering Healthy Choices curriculum, youth learn not only about the nutrition in foods we eat, but also about the connections with agriculture science, native plants and animals available for food; geography; and the variation of fruits and vegetables between countries and cultures. Youth also have the opportunity to grow and eat the produce they learn about. This gives them a well-rounded background in food systems, both local and worldwide.”
Water quality, quantity and security
Efforts are underway to bring water-focused programming to 4-H youth, with opportunities to learn about the water cycle, human interventions in the cycle, the rural-urban interface, and mapping watersheds, and then apply this knowledge through a service-learning project in their community. A variety of resources have been developed, including the There's No New Water! curriculum, to improve youth scientific literacy and at the same time engage youth in real-world issues right at home. Darren Haver, UCCE water quality advisor and director of South Coast REC and Orange County CE, says “The UC ANR Water Quality, Quantity, and Security Initiative Strategic Plan identifies a number of water-related issues facing California. ANR's ability to tackle these issues requires significant investment in research and extension to the citizens of the state. 4-H efforts to improve science literacy in the area of watershed science not only provides youth with the opportunity to engage in a critical local issue, it also expands UC ANR's reach to the youth who will be responsible for developing and implementing water policies in the future.”
Endemic and invasive pests and diseases
ANR has a history of supporting 4-H youth in animal science projects where they care for, breed, grow, show and market their products. A cross-initiative effort is underway to help 4-H youth develop biosecurity practices that will reduce the risk of disease spread. These efforts include publishing the Bio-Security in 4-H Animal Science curriculum, conducting research funded by a 2013 ANR grant (Mitigating Zoonotic and Animal Disease Risks in 4-H Animal Science Projects through Coordinated Education and Research), and planning the inaugural 2015 State Animal Science Symposium.
To get involved, contact your local 4-H youth development advisor and/or youth, families, and communities advisor or a member of the 4-H SET Leadership Team:
- Steven Worker, 4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Martin Smith, science literacy specialist (email@example.com)
- Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, county director and 4-H Youth Development advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Andrea Ambrose, Development Services (email@example.com)