We all had the opportunity to enjoy the equinox this last week. This marked the official end of summer and reminded us that cooler days are on their way. Davis had more than 3.5 inches of rain with our first storm of the season. Although rain was welcomed by those fighting the Mosquito and other fires, it wasn't as welcomed by some growers with crops remaining in the field (tomatoes, grapes, almonds, etc.). As with many other things in life, things come with degrees of goodness.
Here's a shout out to Yu Meng our Youth, Family, and Community Advisor in Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Teams she works with received awards from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences for Communication Video ( Garden Video Project “Grow Healthy Foods, Harvest Healthy Families” (“Cultiva Alimentos Saludables, Cosecha Familias Saludables”) and Family Health and Wellness. Videos are in English and Spanish. For more information contact Yu directly.
The CalFresh Healthy Living, UC and Farm Smart teams delivered garden kits to preschools. From left, Yu Meng, UCCE Youth Family and Community Advisor; Stacey Amparano, Farm Smart Manager; Stephanie Collins, Farm Smart Outreach Assistant; Chris Gomez Wong, CalFresh Community Education Supervisor II; Vincent (contract gardener), Paul Tabarez, CalFresh Community Education Supervisor II; Rigo Ponce, Community Education Specialist II-CalFresh; and Martha Lopez, CalFresh Community Education Specialist II.
A bit ago, VP Council met. This group includes directors of each unit within ANR as well as our statewide program directors. We meet quarterly to provide input to the Vice President. It was a jammed packed meeting. I'll just cover a few take-aways from the day. Kathy Nolan reported out on the UC ANR Customer Satisfaction Survey. For those new to ANR this is a recent annual opportunity for us to identify areas for improvement in operational services within the organization. Great improvements have occurred as a result of the findings of the first survey. It's exciting to work for an organization seeking continued improvement.
We focused one session on onboarding. With all our new hires this is an essential activity. Jodi Azulai and Jona Pressman (Butte County Nutrition Education Program Manager) shared best practices to help onboard new employees. Do plan ahead and be prepared to spend time with your new hire on their first days! Human Resources is working on a great to-do list to aid in onboarding new employees. Do make time to introduce them around and make them feel welcome. Be sure the workstation and equipment needed are set up and ready. We're excited to be growing our ANR family and we want people to stay for a career!
Please extend a warm ANR welcome to our new colleagues! There were a few limited hires for camp counselors including Klacey Worthington, Glenn; and Norman Alberti, San Joaquin; student hires included Granville Goza, Santa Clara; Cedric Renaudin, Megan Cross, Nutrition Family and Consumer Science; and Evelyn Mandujano Capitol Corridor MCP; and staff research associates Efrain Barrera, Fresno Madera MCP and Daylin Wade, Central Sierra Nevada. We are happy you've joined the ANR family.
We are ANR. Together, we effect positive change in California.
Days are cooler and rain may be coming. Fires continue to burn. We are keeping good thoughts for our first responders and everyone in these areas living with smoke, evacuations and uncertainty.
Last week Program Council reviewed the UC Master Gardener Program. The review encompassed 10 years of work including major budget cuts, a global pandemic, and incredible growth in volunteers. Kudos to the review committee and Kit Alviz and Leyla Marandi of Program Planning and Evaluation. Program Council appreciated the detailed analyses and contributions of information from many sources.
Did you know the UC Master Gardener Program started in 1980? The current volunteer roster exceeds 6,000 people. Sustainable landscaping, food gardening and community well-being are key focus areas. Workshop topics cover everything from food security to water conservation. Understanding the right plant and the right place is increasingly more important with our changing climate, unpredictable precipitation and scarce water resources. Plants improve our well-being through beauty, shade and improved soil characteristics. The Master Gardener website is a fabulous resource! It's a great resource if you need information or if you're just curious about the program. Give it a read!
Goings and comings. As the calendar turned to September, we thanked Katherine Soule who served as Assistant Vice Provost of UC Cooperative Extension for the last two years. We appreciate all her efforts in that role. Just a few days later, we wished David Bunn a happy retirement. Both David and Katherine worked closely with County Directors. Their energies, efforts and enthusiasm were appreciated. The first Friday CD/REC Director meeting in September was informative and a great information exchange occurred.
Leadership development is important for our organization. Keith Nathaniel is working with Western Extension Leadership Development Class XI. Oli Bachie and Jennifer Heguy are interns from UC ANR. Thank you, Keith, for your leadership. Betsy Karle is on the last part of her her 17 month leadership development in the California Ag Leadership Program's Class 51. Congratulations to Anne Megaro for being accepted into Class 52! I applaud everyone for continuing their leadership journey.
We continue to grow! Welcome Hanif Robert Houston, digital communications Alameda; Chun Fung Yu and Stephen Dampier, IT services; blank assistants Maximus Mendez, Kearney and Todd Wenstrom San Diego; Jose Pax Villegas and Jackson Dias, Fresno Madera MCP; Community Education Specialists Sierra Washington, Plumas and Sierra counties; Julie Salomonson, Ventura; Braulio Rodriguez Villalobos, Ana Mora Camacho, Coral Franco, Fresno and Madera MCP; Kathleen Carter and Alfonso Mota, Sierra Nevada; Nichol Santisteven, Santa Clara; Arlene Silva, Imperial; Tara Kelly, San Mateo; and Brandon Frost, Shasta. We are happy you have all joined the ANR family!
Thank you for all you do for California! Together we effect change for California, and beyond.
Snow melts to water and flows from Yosemite.
We are UC ANR! Our role as change agents is to effect change. Every employee in the organization participates in making change happen. Do you want to feel proud about the work you do? Read our 2020-2021 Annual Report. It's incredible. The report touches on just a fraction of our collective impacts.
For those who follow this space, you realize Dr. Wendy Powers has assumed her new post as the first Cashup Davis Family Endowed Dean of Washington State University's College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. We are grateful for her contributions to UC ANR. I've stepped into the Interim Associate Vice President, Academic Programs and Strategic Initiatives role and look forward to working with the many teams and individuals in our organization.
Also new to our organization is Dr. Daniel Obrist serving as Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and Development. Daniel started August 15th and is working with the hiring team to staff search committees, complete position vacancy announcements, conduct interviews, negotiate successful searches and on-board new academics. We are grateful to all who participate in this process. Hiring new academics is much work and VERY exciting! Thank you everyone involved in the process.
Speaking of new employees we welcomed new advisors in June: Hardeep Singh, Central Sierra, local food systems (June 1); Chris Shogren, Los Angeles County, environmental horticulture (June 5); Cameron Zuber, Merced and Madera counties, orchard crops (June 6); Eric Middleton, San Diego, integrated pest management (June 6); Barb Satink Wolfson, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, fire (June 30). I can only imagine the great ideas and impacts these individuals bring to our organization.
I look forward to our future as your Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Programs and Strategic Initiatives. I've been a Specialist (UC Davis) for nearly 30 years and have served in various roles within ANR. My research and extension programs enabled me to work on the North Coast, Central Valley and Southern California with Farm Advisors and clientele. I've served on Program Council for 5.5 years, and as the Sustainable Food System Strategic Initiative Leader. Through my role as a Vice Chair of my academic department, I understand recharge rate concerns and needs and the merit and promotion process. On a personal note, I am excited to serve in this role as UC ANR has provided me with a career opportunity not available anywhere else in the world. This is my way of giving back to the organization and people I believe in.
Thank you for all you do for California! Together we effect change for California, and beyond.
- Author: Wendy Powers
My UC ANR Adventure is winding down, and while difficult to leave UC ANR, I am looking forward to new challenges, new places, and new partners. The scenery will be different, the mission the same. UC ANR should be looking forward to new things, too, including new people. There are so many good things to come, perhaps not always easily, but with commitment and intention so much can be achieved.
When I arrived, I heard often about the need to increase the academic footprint – it's happening at an unprecedented level and at a pace that is keeping everyone a bit overwhelmed.
Cost of living has seen incredible increases recently, and UC ANR received its largest COLA adjustment from the state since I joined in 2016.
A long-time deficiency in meeting the needs of all peoples in California continues to receive attention, now 2 years past the horrific murder of George Floyd. Perhaps this time there is long lasting commitment as many of the new academic positions are focused on underserved and unserved audiences.
We have diversified funding sources, improving the UC ANR resiliency to poor state budget years that are ahead at some point in the future. This has come from partnering with new agencies, writing more grants, and conveying a message at resonates with donors.
UC ANR has delivered new and established programs in novel ways, pre- and post-pandemic. With greater online instruction and design capacity, the growth will continue. The new academic footprint and expanding team of community educators brings new ideas and new talents. And new operations support will ensure timely delivery of business services. What's not to be excited about?
Thank you, each of you, for allowing me the opportunity to serve as the Associate Vice President of UC ANR. It has truly been a privilege and honor to be a part of this amazing organization. I hope our paths cross often!
- Author: Wendy Powers
I took a 4-day trip last week to help someone move across the country. Two vehicles, two drivers, 4 dogs. It is not a trip I would recommend. However, I never tire of seeing the snow-covered mountains, whether it be the Sierra, the Wasatch, or the Rockies. Oddly, and perhaps fitting, this trip the best views seemed to be when I looked in the rear view mirror. The road trip took me through Iowa, past highway 169 that would take us to our house of many years ago and highway 69 that runs into campus. The next day, we drove past I-69 in Michigan, the road to Lansing. I have had the good fortune of spending time in great places, with great people. Eventually we made our way to the waters of the east coast, where we were greeted with 4 days of rain, followed by heat and humidity. A vastly different place, with its own endearing attributes.
While I was in the car, a lot of good things happened at UC ANR. Our retiring academics were busy putting together emeritus package requests. Program Council will review more emeritus requests when it meets next week. The Council of University of California Emeriti Associations (CUCEA) recently published UC emeriti activity equal to an 11th UC campus, survey finds on UCnet, featuring the highlights of A Virtual Eleventh Campus: The Tenth Inventory of University of California Emeriti Activity. The article confirms the substantial contributions of UC emeriti, including teaching, research, creative work, professional and community service, mentoring and more. While UC ANR emeriti are not considered part of CUCEA, we know well the value of emeriti contributions to Cooperative Extension and the work of UC ANR!
Congratulations to the California Let's Eat Healthy Leadership Award winners! Awardees include individuals and organizations, including the UC CalFresh program that is a partnership between UC Davis and UC ANR. Congratulations to the entire team and especially MaryAnn for her leadership of the program!
This week the UC ANR Governing Council meets in Hopland. I am looking forward to the in-person meeting, even if we need to take face covering protections. It is not often that the Governing Council meets in person and this will be the second meeting at a REC, having met at South Coast in February 2020.
I will spend most of Friday finishing up merit and promotion decisions and write-ups. For the most part, this year's process will be in the rear view mirror by this time next week. Time flies, particularly when you are not bored!