Congratulations to Katherine Uhde! Katherine has been accepted into the Bloomberg American Health Initiative Fellowship Program at Johns Hopkins University. The Program is unique and a partnership between UC ANR and JHU. What a great opportunity for Katherine and UC ANR! Now, more than perhaps ever before, such partnerships are important. Cooperative Extension can play an important role to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities in our communities.
We were fortunate to hear from Fabian Rivera from UC San Diego during our May Town Hall. Since that time, Marcel and Ricardo have partnered with Fabian to work on a project designed to address vaccine hesitancy by indigenous farmworkers in California and their families, such as Mixtecos and Zapotecos of Oaxaca, the Totonacas of Veracruz, the Nahuas of Guerrero, and Purépechas in Michoacán.
The week has flown by. It helps that I was able to leave the garage and visit the Hansen REC on Monday. It was great to see people and have in-person discussions! I valued the time we had to discuss important issues. I missed most of the tour. I had toured the facility previously, but was surprised to see how big the Trees for Tomorrow plantings have gotten! It helps to not get snow.
During the tour, I participated in a meeting with 3 members of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Domestic Policy Council to keep the White House apprised of the value of investing in Extension to address Climate Mitigation, Resiliency, and Adaption; Economic and Workforce Development; and Health, Equity and Well-Being. The Project Board impact statements come in handy for such meetings! The first question from the White House staff was about how we are engaged, or could be more engaged, with Climate Hubs. The question was a fantastic opportunity to talk about the work of the Climate Smart Ag team and the opportunity that capacity funds provide for building long-term relationships between our academics/community educators and networks such as the Climate Hub. That same message about capacity funding is key to comments submitted in response to NIFA's request for feedback on priority needs. Those comments were submitted late this afternoon. Now I am ready to focus on tomorrow's meetings.
I am looking forward to a day off on Friday and the holiday on Monday. I hope everyone enjoys some time away from Zoom. Stay safe!
There is more good news for our nutrition programs. During the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) Virtual Annual Session team members were recognized for their outstanding contributions. Deepa Srivastava, and UCCE Tulare-Kings Nutrition Education Team placed second in the Western Region SNAP-ED/EFNEP award. This on the heels of a win last year! Mary and her CalFresh Healthy Living, UC Team in Alameda County are the 3rd Place Regional winner of the Community Partnership award. And, Mary Blackburn received the NEAFCS Hall of Fame Award! I've had to keep that one quiet for about a month now, but am so pleased to share the news! Congratulations to all! And, thanks to Katie for sharing the news!
Speaking of the UCCE Tulare office, they have quite the sense of humor. Take a look at their door sign. No doubt some are better able to estimate the length of a Holstein cow. Perhaps social distancing won't last long enough for all to learn that measure. It's hard to tell. Who would have guessed back in March that seasonal face coverings would be a fashion trend? Just to stay in practice for pre-COVID behaviors, I put on grown up clothes and sat in my real office today, downloading computer updates and grabbing some items to make life a bit easier in the garage. It was nice to be in the office for a brief visit before putting my face covering back on and moving into the rest of the day.
Glenda shared that she's been hearing great things about one of our 4-H projects focused on getting rural communities to fill out the census (https://ucanr.edu/sites/census/). “They've received kudos from county supervisors, farm bureau leaders and many others who saw the materials and really appreciated the help to make sure their communities were counted. This is a great 4-H civic engagement project”!! Let's hope everyone turns out to vote in November, too!
Strategic planning work is winding down, both for UC ANR as a whole and for the RECs. Last week the ANR planning team met to review and incorporate feedback from the August webinars. I have already finished my homework! Later this week the REC planning team meets and I am hoping to pass any homework assignments on to others. I will miss the Town Hall this week, but hope there is strong attendance to hear about all the great things Ricardo and his team are doing to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
I have almost completed my assignments for a national conference to be held next week so perhaps the weekend can focus on yard work. I think weed growth may be slowing a bit.
After reading about the Cornell professor, I decided to hang onto my thesis data just a bit longer, though I think after 20 years I'm suitably safe, particularly given that the sponsor of my Master's research was Jack Daniels and the Florida dairy industry funded my PhD work. Nonetheless, I took some time over the weekend to confirm that all of my paper towels (I wasn't much of a student so it never occurred to me to get a notebook) were safe and secured, each carefully dated and signed, then organized chronologically. On to the next thing on my list.
When we visited the UC ANR News and Outreach in Spanish (NOS) team last week, I learned that we are now halfway through Hispanic Heritage month (September 15 – October 15). That explains National Guacamole Day which, it turns out, I did not celebrate after all. Hopefully, Lupita pointed this out to her audience at the Engaged Scholar Consortium. One of the participants sent me a photo of Lupita talking to the group about her program. Along with the photo, the sender messaged “she's so passionate about her work!” Yep, we knew that!
NOS is located at the same site as the Citrus Clonal Protection Program at UCR which I had a chance to tour in March 2017, hosted by Georgios. I didn't get a chance to see Georgios this trip to UCR and, unfortunately, I will miss him at an upcoming event at the Lindcove REC on October 10. That day is shaping up to be exciting for Beth and the Lindcove team. Be sure to ask them about it.
I need to get going on my homework of reading through the 46 position proposals so that I am ready for the Program Council discussion of them next week. In the meantime, I am in Portland for the National Extension Directors Association's annual meeting. We talked about the Farm Bill (or lack thereof) this morning. We also talked about the value of our programs, across the U.S., in youth development, gardening, and nutrition/wellness and how the integration of those programs can serve to drive funds to Extension. Not to mention that these programs meet the goal of the Morrill Act. That's right, if you haven't read the Morrill Act, it is far more than just cows and corn. The intent was to improve the lives of people in rural communities by providing a public institution that included programs in youth development, home economics, agriculture, and mechanical arts. One of the things I've seen in my travels through our counties is that where these programs are highly integrated, we are able to have greater community engagement and, therefore, the potential for broader impact (i.e. changing lives). Our conversations this week have focused on how we ratchet that up a notch and accomplish even more, by leveraging all of the other resources at our respective land grant institutions. It so happens that UC's Global Food Initiative is looking for a means of greater systemwide connection. Maybe there's an idea forming…
Lots more to share, but this post is already long and already lacking cohesion. So many thoughts, so little time to pull them together.