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!
Break's over; back to work! The meetings have resumed. It was very nice however to hear voices in the ANR building this week. While a number of us have been in regularly, it has been rather quiet. Perhaps we are turning a corner, with more people coming in on a steady basis. Booster shots perhaps increase the comfort level. I even had two consecutive meetings in person this week! Well worth the masking. Even introverts are ready to resume some human connection.
The ANR Governing Council met by Zoom this week. The meeting was only 2 hours long with a number of guests from UC Santa Cruz and UC Merced joining us. Two hours wasn't quite enough time to complete the agenda items but there was good discussion.
In other meetings, Monday started off with the second meeting of a National Academy committee. Like the first meeting held last week, this one was 3 hours long. We have two more 3-hr meetings before the winter break. I like the fact that this committee will wrap up before August. Other panels I have served on have been closer to a year in duration. But this one is about best practices for building sustained partnerships so not as controversial as estimating air emissions from animal feeding operations. It's a nice change.
The week has several ECOP meetings scattered throughout, in addition to the first Friday CD and REC director meeting. In addition, there's a discussion about a novel partnership opportunity that finishes the week. Overall, not a bad way to come off a 4-day break.
The best news so far this week is that the first of the released CE Advisor positions has been filled! Congratulations to AHR and the search committee for identifying a stellar candidate to serve as a Viticulture Advisor! There are a few more offers out for other positions, so it is just a matter of time before I regularly welcome new faces in new places. Very exciting and the result of long term efforts! The Vice Provost position is under recruitment as well. I very much look forward to filling that position to help ensure career success at UC ANR for our new hires.
Next week includes some much welcomed travel and, more importantly, a chance to see our programs in action. Long overdue…
The Second Street parking lot is reasonably full these days. But the building is so large, it still seems like a ghost town. However, in walking around the hallowed halls, I met Dora in person for the first time, ran into Terri and Pam for the first time since the pandemic, and met Mike Hsu who started on Monday. Mike is part of the Strategic Communications team. David Bunn was in as well, also starting this week. Please send a warm welcome to both Mike and David when you get a chance.
I've spent the week in the Davis building to improve my internet connection given the number of meetings this week where I had a presentation. On Monday, there was a meeting with academics to kick off the merit and promotion process for the upcoming year. Yes, we just wrapped up last year's cycle. Both the Peer Review Committee and the AAC Personnel Committee work hard keeping up with everything.
Governing Council met on Tuesday. Budget was on their mind; both Cooperative Extension funds and Agriculture Experiment Station funds. We had constructive discussions about both, including a position call process to put the new state funds into operation. Now that we have the Council's input, be on the lookout for more information about that upcoming process.
Administrative Orientation for new personnel was held on Tuesday and Wednesday. Someday we will have those in person again, but for now, probably best to keep gatherings to a minimum while we get COVID under better control. Containment seems a bit out of reach these days, but I will remain optimistic. Regardless of the Zoom meeting, it was nice to meet some of the newest members of UC ANR!
A colleague from the East Coast shared with me a post about the fundraising at the Plumas-Sierra 4-H Livestock Auction. Buyers gave over $250,000 to youth, many of whom have been directly impacted by the Dixie Fire. Talk about community! The warm weather isn't helping to get fires under control. I know many have been evacuated. I am hopeful we won't suffer any additional home losses!
We are wrapping up interviews for the Kearney/West Side REC director position. With many more positions gearing up, it will be nice to wind one down. Ideally, all interviews would move to in-person; let's hope at least aspects of the interview can move to that mode soon. Personally, I am hoping to make a few trips in September and October. We'll see how the travel materializes and remain hopeful it becomes a safe option.
I had a chance last week to attend the annual Department of Pesticide Regulation's IPM Achievement Award ceremony. The first awardees worked with schools. The winners acknowledged Cheryl Wilen for her assistance with their project. Congratulations, Cheryl, for that recognition!
The second winners acknowledged was the Spray Application Pest Management Alliance Team. Lynn Wunderlich did a fantastic job providing an overview of the project and the impacts to date. The project is a team effort between UC and industry, including the following ANR colleagues:
Maria Alfaro, Community Educator Specialist, UC Statewide IPM Program.
Catherine Bilheimer, California Department of Pesticide Regulation-Grant Manager.
Lisa Blecker , Pesticide Safety Education Program Coordinator, UC Statewide IPM Program.
Stephanie Bolton, Communications & Sustainable Winegrowing Director, Lodi Winegrape Commission.
Matt Bozzo, Chair, Yuba-Sutter Spray Safe; Farm Manager, Golden Gate Hop Ranch, Yuba City, CA.
Luis Espino, UCCE Rice Farming Systems Advisor, Colusa/Glenn/Yolo.
Franz Niederholzer, UCCE Yuba/Sutter/Butte Farm Advisor, Co-Principle Investigator.
Ken Giles, Professor, UC Davis Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department.
Gwen-Alyn Hoheisel, Washington State University Regional Extension Specialist
Petr Kosina, Content Development Supervisor, UC Statewide IPM Program.
Peter Larbi, UCANR Spray Application Specialist, Kearney Ag. Center.
Ray Lucas, Sr. Producer/Director UC ANR Communication Services.
Tunyalee Martin, Associate Director for Communication, UC Statewide IPM Program.
Louie Mendoza, Butte County Agricultural Commissioner.
Cheryl Reynolds, Instructional Designer UC Statewide IPM Program.
John Roncoroni, Weed Science Farm Advisor Emeritus, North Coast
Marcie Skelton, Glenn County Agricultural Commissioner.
Rhonda Smith, UCCE Viticulture Advisor, Sonoma County.
Matt Strmiska, (former) CEO, Adaptiv.
Emily Symmes, (former) Area IPM Advisor, Colusa/Glenn/Sutter-Yuba/Tehama.
Congratulations to the team! Be sure to take a look at the video to learn more. What a nice event.
I missed the last Black History Month activity this week. From what I have heard, it was another fantastic event. All of the sessions had great topics with outstanding presenters. I hope the attendance at this last session of the series was as strong as it was for the other presentations. Congratulations to Esther, Keith, and LeChe for their success. Their hard work is much appreciated.
Darren gave a great presentation to the UC ANR Governing Council. He talked about the role that the RECs, and UC ANR more broadly, can play in connecting different, reductionist research topics to construct a holistic approach to addressing the urban living realities. The Council had great ideas. One member said “I want to be a part of this”. Council members will be key to identifying partners and players from around the UC system and beyond. Well done, Darren!
I am looking forward to a warm weekend, with hopefully a bit less wind. I need the internet to move a bit faster.
This has been a relatively slow week for me. However, Thursday and Friday are packed with meetings so I suspect the week as a whole will end up ‘about average'. Last week featured discussions about the ANR strategic plan and the REC strategic framework with partners. The plan and framework were the focus of discussions at the ANR Governing Council meeting on Thursday and ranged from how we build relationships with new AES faculty to how we get to know more about shared interests on our non-AES campuses, and vice versa. I left with clear ideas about a process to engage the non-AES campuses in research, less clear on a path for extension and outreach collaboration. I am confident that collective insights will get us there and am grateful that many across UC ANR continue to pursue prospects. I know Frank and Keith are looking at opportunities in their counties and one of the Governing Council members reached out to brainstorm ideas about ANR working more closely with CITRIS in the telehealth space. Such efforts might couple nicely with CDC priorities and partnerships.
The partnering conversations continue this week as we begin to take on the work of the REC strategic framework, including planning for upcoming meetings with REC directors. In addition, I had an interesting and promising conversation today with what I hope is a new partner in supporting an academic position and that could readily expand into broader partnering across the UC system.
I get excited about partnering. Not only is it the foundation of Cooperative Extension, I see it as a way for an individual to do less, with more. At first, it might sound like I have that backwards, but I assure you, I don't. The benefit of a good partnership, in my opinion, is that I don't have to carry the entire workload (do less), yet, collectively, our pooled resources and assets offer all partners more with which to work, resulting in greater impact.
Friday is the first virtual tour of UC ANR for legislators and their staff. Anne and Kathy have worked tirelessly to pull the tour together. Based on the dry run last week the numerous hosts for tour stops have worked hard as well. It will be nice to share the self-guided tour with everyone. There is so much to talk about when it comes to the great work going on all across UC ANR. While the virtual tour is just a taste of that work, the self-guided tour can be expanded to tell more of the story, expanding on the breadth of partnerships we have.
I hope everyone is enjoying some rain (or snow)!