A few of us attended the RCRC new supervisor installation meeting last week. It was rewarding to hear the new chair, Daron McDaniel of Merced County, acknowledge the importance of the partnership with Cooperative Extension in carrying out RCRC's work. Following the CORO meeting last week, I see all kinds of ways to expand our partnering that translates to a more significant impact without greater individual effort. Following their exercise to learn about UC ANR, The Northern cohort members identified several ways that they believe they can connect with UC ANR. Ideas ranged from UC Health to the engagement of UCSC undergraduate students, to the UCB School of Business as a prospective collaborator working towards shared goals. I am eager to hear from Keith and Darren if they had similar interactions with the Southern CORO cohort. I do not doubt that together the UC system can better translate research into public impact.
I read an FFAR announcement last week that directed readers to recently funded proposals. The amount of funding received by the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a center that was unknown to me, was surprising. Perhaps those who work in plant agriculture are familiar with the Center. It appears to be privately funded but closely associated with Washington University in Missouri, among others. The Center houses a Maker Lab and an impressive listing of corporate partners ranging from Nestle to the airport. I immediately started wondering what their draw was, other than the local support that the Center offered the local economy by investing in an innovation hub (39° North). Could we be successful, even at a smaller scale, in a location such as Elkus Ranch or one of our RECs? What grabbed my attention was the link to a Ted Talk by the President, Jim Carrington. His lecture, The Science in Our Food, addressed the benefits that science has allowed for in advancements in growing food. He cites that in 1960, one farmer fed 26 people. Today, one farmer feeds 155 people. The Center's website is worth a look if you aren't familiar with the Center.
I am challenged by innovation. Last week I switched to a new laptop and learned that we are leaving the age of USB ports and moving into a USB-C world. While I recognized the connection (think cell phone connection to the power supply), I had no idea some laptops don't have USB ports anymore. That is the case with my new laptop. Change is uncomfortable, and I have not fully adjusted yet, though I have purchased a USB hub that connects to the computer using the USB-C connection.
During the acclimation period, I had a chance to take advantage of the long weekend. In addition to a close up with the elephant seals in Pt. Reyes, I watched what had to be hundreds of sandhill cranes fly in to the Woodbridge Preserve one night. While it would be nice to be at or above average in rainfall, I am grateful the cranes aren't in our backyard this year.
If someone had told me even ten years ago that I would be watching a Governor's budget release as closely as I did on Friday, I would have thought they were crazy. But, that's precisely what I did, in between other meetings. I wasn't alone, either. The anticipation of waiting to see how our budget turns out for this upcoming fiscal year caused a number of us in ANR to listen to the unveiling of the budget while we multitasked, as were I suspect many across the UC system. You just never know where you will end up and how that changes your day-to-day work. So far, there seems to be some recognition that you can't indefinitely continue to do the same with less.
Over the weekend, Pam forwarded a Tweet from Camille von Kaenel (@conka) that said, “From the journalist perspective, extension advisors are golden sources for local environment, agriculture, and climate change articles.” Thanks, Camille! And, thanks to all who make that statement real! Let's hope many feel as Camille does, and we see even further support for our budget that allows for program expansion!
I met with the University Committee on Research and Policy (UCORP) on Monday, hoping to enhance their understanding of UC ANR and recognition that we can all achieve more by working collaboratively and pooling resources. The call was very positive, and I believe the members of UCORP would like to help their campuses better understand how they can work with UC ANR and benefit from that relationship. We talked about campuses perhaps ‘adopting a UCCE office' as a way of building a relationship, sort of Sister Cities. At least a couple of the members liked that concept, so perhaps, if there are UCCE offices also interested, the idea may grow into a pilot in a few locations.
The Peer Review Committee and the Ad Hoc Committees met Monday to review the logistics of their 2020 assignment. Both Pam Tice and Linda Manton didn't miss a beat in the preparations to serve as support and chair, respectively, despite a few years passing since they were full-time in UC ANR.
I am looking forward to attending a few of the Water Program Team webinars on California Water Challenges. I would anticipate strong attendance given that we seem to be a bit short of rain this year (compared to 2019). I love the idea of regular webinars as a means of providing education and conversation! Thanks to the Water Program Team for taking leadership on this effort. Take a look at the Learning and Development page for more information on this series and other opportunities.
The UC-CORO leadership program 2020 cohort starts this week. Although I nominated a few individuals for the program, I am uncertain who from UC ANR is participating this year. I will have a chance to meet with the Northern cohort on Tuesday which will alleviate the mystery for that group, but I will have to wait for an update about the Southern cohort group. It is always fun to hear from participants how they benefited from the program and what project their cohort took on during the program. I will have to wait and see.
I seem to still be in a bit of a fog today. I am in Davis for the second day of Program Council. Yesterday's fog resulted in cancellation of flights for our two Program Council members from Riverside. Flights eventually left Ontario and they both made it before the first day of the meeting ended. Georgios Vidalakis, a CE Specialist at UCR, just joined Program Council so it was his first meeting. I can't help but wonder if Chris Greer made special note of the fact that he didn't have to attend this week after what may have been 8 years as a member. That leaves Rob Atwill (UCD Vet Med) as the most senior consistent member of Program Council (excluding facilitator and ex-officio members), followed by me!Tim Paine may have the most total years on Program Council, with a break here and there. I was already feeling a bit older yesterday even before we identified that factoid. Things change quickly everywhere.
The Strategic Initiative Leaders met before Program Council. They talked about conference/workshop ideas, a summer roadshow, and their priorities for the upcoming year. A few of the SI panels are seeking members so, please, consider if that might be something that interests you and reach out to the appropriate SI Leader. The SI panels are a terrific opportunity to build connections for your own program and gain a better sense of the work going on under each SI umbrella.
The rest of this week includes a couple of conversations about the possibility of some new partnerships, preparation for a strategic plan goal owners meeting that is next week, and wrapping up some loose ends that remain from before the winter break. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have any visits out to county offices or RECs scheduled anytime soon; perhaps that will change in the near future. It is such an inspiration to meet people from across ANR and hear about their work, their struggles, and the possibilities. January is a short month and other travel and work picks up quickly after February 1. Perhaps I should take advantage of the lighter schedule, stay under the umbrella, and avoid travel delays due to fog and rain.
Happy New Year! I hope 2020 and this new decade is good to all! It seems like it has been a while since we last worked. While vacation is always a nice change in pace, I'm glad to be back to work with all of you. I can't complain about the break; I was able to see both snow-covered mountains and water simultaneously. That's always a good thing.
Today, Brittney Goodrich joins us as a CE Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, specializing in Agricultural Risk Management. Please be sure to welcome Brittney to UC ANR and back to Davis, CA. Brittney was hired as a result of the 2016 Position Call. Academic HR is gearing up to start recruitment for our most recent release of positions, a good sign for 2020.
If you didn't stay on top of Morning Ag Clips during the winter break, be sure to take a look at the Dec 30 edition. UC ANR is featured as the lead story, thanks to efforts of Linda Forbes and her team. I liked the focus on impacts of our work with partners. Hopefully we will see more of these stories in the future. Even though the readership is likely those who already know us, the reminder never hurts. And, we may reach a few more people.
I had a chance to watch a small part of the Rose Parade and recalled a recent conversation with Darren Haver where he mentioned that the parade preparations were nightly news in the Irvine area. I suspect the winter break starts now for those who worked tirelessly to prepare for the Parade. I wonder if the flower growers get any rest.
This is a bit of a light week. I suspect many extended their break through the weekend. Some may even be off to more tropical destinations and finding it hard to switch back to work mode. But there is much to be done in 2020. I have some work to do to prepare for the strategic plan retreat at the end of this month. In addition, the Blue Ribbon Panel is wrapping up its report of recommendations for key investments in the RECs and I need to package that with the REC Users Committee recommendations. Plus Program Council meets next week so I have some work to do to prepare for that. Then there are a few loose ends to tie up with respect to the Peer Review Committee and this year's review cycle. All in all, 2020 is off to a great start!
Congratulations to the team of California 4-H camp volunteers, program staff, and youth who plan and run our camping programs! The American Camp Association's Committee for the Advancement of Research and Evaluation (CARE), has recognized the California 4-H Camping Advisory Committee as a 2020 recipient of the Eleanor P. Eells Award for Research in Practice. The team is recognized for their extraordinary efforts in generating and using innovative and quality research and evaluation to improve program practice and in sharing findings with others. Of particular note is that the team's work has resulted in an increase in the number of participating 4-H Camps from 8 to 22! Marianne Bird, a team member, said of the team “Never have I witnessed such interest and investment in wanting to learn about and improve youth's experiences in their camp programs”. Nicely done all!
This week is full of meetings. I suspect many of us are scurrying to get things done before a 2-week break in activity. The Dean's Council meets tomorrow (Tuesday), in Oakland. This group includes the Deans from UCB, UCD, and UCR, including the Vet School. On Wednesday, the President's Advisory Council (PAC) meets in Oakland. We have new members on the PAC, who will be meeting with us for the first time. I will miss the latter portion of that meeting and the reception at the President's house because of another meeting commitment. Thursday the strategic plan goal owners meet and there is a year-end mixer at the Davis building. Friday is booked with Zoom calls and meetings until 5 PM, representing one last push to get things done for those not working next Monday. In the absence of any meetings on the 23rd, I plan to check off several things on the ‘to-do' list.
Several of our CARET representatives are members of the PAC. I was thinking about our CARETs last week during a presentation I heard while in DC. The presenter spoke about the need for an advocacy strategy to include grassroots, grass shoots, and strong stalks. This was all new information to me. He indicated that CARETs are strong stalks; those individuals who are the stalwart champions engaged in regular communications and activities. Then there are the grass shoots who are your ‘ringers', called in for key conversations with influencers. Amidst the meetings this week I need to give these concepts more thought. In the meantime, I am looking forward to meeting our new PAC members, who are also loyal, strong supporters of UC ANR.
I hope everyone has a restful and fun break!