- Author: Susie Kocher
As we all know, forests and fire are inextricably linked in California. Historically, both centers have carried out research, outreach, and education on human interactions with California ecosystems. Combining the centers under one roof will facilitate the work of our co-directors -- UC Berkeley professor Scott Stephens, and UC Cooperative Extension specialist William Stewart, both in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management -- our Berkeley Forests staff, and management of our new research forest, Grouse Ridge.
To this end, we are proud to release our new website at https://forests.berkeley.edu. The new website features easy-to-access information about our forests, fire resources, information on current research, our long-term datasets for our forests and more.
With these changes, we will also be hiring a new policy analyst (located at the Berkeley campus). We seek someone with experience in and knowledge of forests, fire, grant writing, social media, website work, and GIS/data analysis. An official position will be released shortly on the Berkeley jobs website, but please make sure to follow us on social media or email one of our co-directors so you don't miss it!
We're also merging all our social media pages! The Center for Forestry and Center for Fire Research and Outreach Facebook pages will be closed and transition to the Blodgett Forest Research Station page to become Blodgett Research Station at Berkeley Forests. Please like us at our new home if you have not done so already!
On Twitter, the @ucforestcenter page will be closed, and the @ucfirecenter page will become @berkeleyforests. If you are only following @ucforestcenter, please make sure to change your follow to @berkeleyforests!
- Author: Jim Downing
UC Cooperative Extension researchers convey need for more climate change communication and curriculum tools
[NOTE: The Integrating Climate Change in California Cooperative Extension Programs Workshop will be held Feb. 6-7.]
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from natural and working lands is one of California's key climate change strategies. In particular, the potential for farm and rangeland soils to serve as carbon sinks has been getting a lot of attention lately in the national media — and during California Healthy Soils week, which wrapped up Dec. 7.
These are areas where UC Cooperative Extension, with its local presence across the state, is well-positioned to drive change. But as a recent survey of UCCE advisors, specialists and faculty found, while there is a good deal of climate work happening, there are also some significant obstacles.
The survey results — reported in an article by UCCE academics Ted Grantham, Faith Kearns, Susie Kocher, Leslie Roche and Tapan Pathak in the latest issue of California Agriculture — showed that while nearly 90 percent of respondents believe it is important to incorporate climate science into extension programming, only 43 percent currently do so.
Respondents pointed to a number of issues. One was "limited familiarity with climate science fundamentals." It's one thing to cite the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and is being driven largely by human activity; it is another to be able to respond quickly and convincingly to detailed questions from doubters. This list from Grist, for instance, details more than 100 common arguments raised by climate skeptics, many of which have non-trivially complex answers.
Another important issue cited by respondents was "fear of alienating clientele by talking about a contentious topic," a response that highlights the importance of personal relationships in UCCE's work, and the challenge of communicating an area of science that is highly politicized.
The authors conclude: "To further increase the capacity of UC ANR staff to support the needs of their clientele and the broader public, professional development around climate science fundamentals, communication, and adaptation strategies is critical." As an initial follow-up, the UCANR climate change program team (led by authors Grantham, Kocher and Pathak) is presenting a workshop and professional development meeting for extension professionals in February.