It's hot out there. Even the group in the Bay area I saw wearing long sleeves last week, are looking for ways to cool down. This, too, shall pass. Mark Bell has spent some time on the water. I've spent some time in the pool. I ran across an old photo that had me longing for a swim that requires fins.
I had an opportunity to review the ANR section in the Public Service Chapter for the systemwide 2021 UC Accountability Report. The California Naturalist Program is one program called out this year. Take a look at the impressive accomplishments that Greg and the team have had:
UC ANR's statewide California Naturalist Program promotes stewardship of the state's natural resources through education and service. The program delivery model involves partnering with around 50 well-established institutions to form a statewide network of organizations that offer the California Naturalist certification course. Since its inception in 2012, the program has certified over 3,770 graduates as California Naturalists who volunteer to support conservation and restoration efforts in 51 counties. In response to the 2020 national push for racial justice, the program re-examined its approach. As a result, the program is further emphasizing building meaningful relationships with organizations serving underrepresented groups and focusing on workforce development organizations; ensuring the relevance of program content, language, and delivery to diverse groups; increasing recruitment to those historically underserved by reducing barriers to access, including offering more scholarships; and taking responsibility for their own professional development and growth. In 2020, the program developed new partnerships with the following organizations serving underrepresented groups: Community Nature Connection, Nature for All, Outward Bound Adventures, and Southern California Mountains Foundation's Urban Conservation Corps. In Southern California, the program has seen the largest growth in partnerships with organizations serving underrepresented groups. In the Central Sierra region, non-white participation has gone up from 20 percent in 2019 to 35 percent in 2020.
I am looking forward to the STAR Award program tomorrow afternoon. An advanced ‘congratulations' to all of our winners! Earlier in the day, I will participate in a NIFA listening session to share Extension priorities that overlap with NIFA priorities, such as climate change, resilient communities, urban agriculture, workforce development, and DEI.
I head to the Hansen REC on Sunday. My first work-related trip in a very long time! I hope things cool off before then.
Wildfire activity is picking up across the state and this wind isn't helping. It is no surprise that wildfire is the topic of webinars around the state. Word is that Lenya was an incredible speaker for the federal UC Wildfire Briefing. There was great attendance, several questions were directed to or answered by Lenya, and she quickly had two legislative offices contacting her to arrange meetings. Anne Megaro commented that Lenya brought life to the briefing - she was interesting and engaging and connected the value of federal investment to real-world work reducing catastrophic wildfires and improving forest and land management. Take a look at the recording for yourself. You can find the recording here.
Safeeq Khan spoke at a UC Wildfire Symposium last week. I was unable to attend by hear that he explained the impact of the loss of snowpack and the forest ecosystem, more generally, such that all could understand. Congratulations, Safeeq!
Also on fire, is the Forever 4-H Endowment! Lassen County just established the eighth Forever 4-H Endowment! I know this was a high priority for David and his team. Congratulations, all!
Thank you to all who participated in Big Dig Day! I haven't heard the total raised, but the mid-afternoon progress was promising. I noticed that Missy and her team were doing particularly well when I made my donations. Hopefully we made new friends in the process.
Once again the week is flying by. It has been particularly hectic this week with standing meetings, wrapping up merit and promotion decisions, working through plans for returning to the workplace, Vice Provost interviews, and a few national meetings related to Cooperative Extension. I am not bored.
Soon I am leaving the garage to make a visit to the Hansen REC. Who knew this could be so exciting. Normally, I would look forward to the visit. This time, I am giddy with excitement just thinking about spending a day, not in the garage and not on Zoom all day. While we aren't even close to herd immunity, I am optimistic we can keep the incidence of new transmissions low and resume some semblance of normal activity.
The short week is off to a great start, weather aside! I hope everyone enjoyed the Memorial Day holiday and took time to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. Take a look at this short video to learn how Michelle Hammer-Coffer reflects on Memorial Day. Thank you, Michelle, for your service and efforts to keep us all safe!
Big Dig Day is this Friday! It's time to show your support for UC ANR. We are so fortunate to have made it through this last year and UC ANR has much to be proud of and thankful for. I haven't heard if there will be matching opportunities, so I am unsure how early I need to set the alarm, but no doubt I will be showing my gratitude.
There's good news in Orange County! Thanks to the generous support of the Orange County Farm Bureau and the Orange County 4-H Council, he Forever 4-H Orange County Endowment will be established. Congratulations to the Orange County UCCE team!
Master Food Preserver received a plug in the Washington Post. Congratulations to both Sue and Erin who were quoted. And a huge ‘thank you' to reporter Becky Crystal for calling out the program!
The big news is that the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees released on Tuesday a joint plan to be negotiated with the Governor that provides a $32.1 million ongoing increase to UC ANR. This conversation isn't over, but we are far closer to a meaningful increase that I have seen in my time at UC ANR!
My garage has heated up considerably over the last week, but I hear my key FOB will work in the Davis building in just a month. I hope the good news keeps coming!
The Pleasanton City Council voted unanimously to offer an “A” priority for designing the Community Farm at Bernal Park, then phase the final project through completion. Initial steps include planting cover crops to condition the soil and provide a pollinator habitat. Master Gardeners are planning for a demonstration garden at the site to encourage healthy environments with sustainable gardening, green waste reduction, and water conservation, while providing food security assistance for those in need. Congratulations to Dawn and team for their contributions to moving this forward!
The 2021 Colt Challenge on June 19th in Alturas, CA. Youth that took home weanlings from the Devil's Garden Wild Horse Territory submitted videos as part of the competition. Take a look at the winners from the video portion. Congratulations to the winners and, a huge ‘thank you!' to the Modoc National Forest for financial and programmatic support.
- 3rd Place, winning $50, was Grace and Murphy https://youtu.be/6YMLQIKzvfI from Santa Clara 4-H,
- 2nd Place, winning $100, was Wyatt and Narnia https://youtu.be/ZWRU8fAKQt8 from Siskiyou 4-H, and
- 1st Place, winning $150, was Goldie and Bella https://youtu.be/6NWD0gQrVwE from Shasta FFA
UC Federal Governmental Relations is hosting a briefing on Thursday this week to showcase the research being done across the University of California (UC) system to address wildfire impacts in California. I am thrilled to see that Lenya is part of the panel who will cover wildfire research performed on UC campuses and highlight the importance of increased federal investments critical for our ability to predict, plan for, and rebuild from wildfires. Way to go, Lenya!
If you are interested in another UC Wildfire event, consider attending the one on June 4th. The agenda features many of the Vice Chancellors for Research as well as researchers from across the UC system.
I won't make it to the briefing and Lenya's presentation on Thursday because I have the chance to spend Thursday with the REC directors, the REC superintendents, and the REC business officers. We will discuss progress on our recent undertakings, plan some next steps to advance the REC Strategic Framework, and talk about a pending grant opportunity that I personally think is perfectly suited for the REC system. I don't get to spend enough time hearing from the superintendents or business officers, so I am looking forward to the meeting.
What a beautiful week in the valley! I hope everyone gets a chance to spend some time outside. Other than our neighbor's fire in their hay barn, I have no complaints.
The long weekend is only a week away. I need it now. This week the meetings seem to go forever. Did you know that if we lived on Venus, the ‘day' would be equivalent to almost 117 Earth days? Earth clearly has its advantages. I can't even imagine a day of Zoom meetings on Venus!
This week I am on a review panel for a joint effort between CDC and the national Cooperative Extension system. We are reviewing proposals for funding to increase vaccination rates. Proposals were due last Friday. As a result we are reading, reviewing, and ranking all this week. No room for changing our evaluations.
Scheduled around panel meetings have been a number of other meetings including a design-a-thon led by Darren to envision a Hub for Urban Living. A number of people from around the country registered; I am curious how many participated. The breakout sessions I attended were primarily, almost exclusively, California-based participants. The conversations were fascinating. I am eager to think through next steps to keep the conversation and momentum going.
I had a chance to attend a portion of the Asian Pacific Heritage month webinar. I liked the format as it was fast paced and full of information. If you haven't had a chance to attend yet, consider next week's session (Tuesday at 3 PM). The session will focus on bystander intervention training. We all need to do our part to end Asian hate and associated violent acts!
I had an interesting call inviting UC ANR to participate in a 5-state project to promote community health. The effort will link us more closely to UC Health. An exciting opportunity that could lead to all sorts of new adventures! Today I participated in a call to envision how Cooperative Extension could increase efforts around workforce development for youth and adults, by functioning as conveners, facilitators, and educators. Those of us on the call were charged with bringing our visions to a meeting on Monday to move forward funding conversations. Time to get the dream board out this weekend and put some ideas on paper. Fortunately, this connects back to some of the conversation about the Hub for Urban Living.
I am down to 60 or so merit/promotion decisions left to finalize. But, before I get back to dossiers or dream about funding sources for new programming, I had better get back to those vaccination proposals. Occasionally, I could use a day on Venus to get things done.