- Author: Deanne Meyer
Last week Program Council met to review programmatic budget requests. February was our warm-up when Jennifer Bunge of Resource Planning and Management (RPM) walked us through the budget request process. Each of the statewide programs and institutes have funding that is allocated as permanent and other funding allocated as temporary. In some instances, the temporary has gone on for many years making it appear permanent. We went through each line of each budget and each organizational chart. Thank you to Jennifer and Han (RPM), each of the Program Council members and Katherine Webb-Martinez and Kit Alves for their phenomenal facilitation. A special shout out to Joni Rippee for her institutional and ability to provide important historic information.
Glenda, Erik Prose (Director of the California Institute for Water Resources) and I met with Magalí Muria-Tunon and Isidre Sala Queralt to discuss the UC Catalonia Memorandum of Understanding. Glenda and Doug Parker had visited Catalonia previously after the MOU was signed. Since we are now in a new phase after COVID 19 it's an opportune time to more fully identify the activities that will occur between the two groups. Given our climates, drought, impacts of changing climate there is no time like the present to strengthen this working relationship.
Following the UC Catalonia meeting I drove to Ukiah to work with John Bailey and Lenya Quinn-Davidson. The drive over 20 and around Clear Lake was fantastic. Hills were green and the lake was full! A year or so ago as I drove around the lake nearly all boats were out of the water and docks seemed like they were in a different zip code since water levels were so incredibly low. What a difference a year makes!
With April 1 comes the official start of “retirement season”. Whereas Daniel Obrist has the excitement of hiring new academics, I get the pleasure of thanking others for their service and wishing them a happy next chapter in their lives. Although a letter of intent to retire is not necessary, it is appreciated so we may track position gaps. It's the UC Path documentation that every retiree needs to get straight! Many in ANR have contributed for decades and likely will continue to contribute in one capacity or another. Recently I signed a plan of work for a retired advisor who continues to work 25% time (near 50 years now). It's a testament to a passion for identifying driving questions, designing, and deploying research, summarizing information, and making change happen.
Everyone working on the All ANR conference is in high gear getting the last details in place. Thank you to all committee and subcommittee members, Kathy Eftekhari and Katherine Stein as well as Sherry Cooper and Program Support for all your efforts. A huge shout out for our phenomenal IT team who in between patches has been loading new equipment for us to use.
Speaking of IT, please have patience as they work through very complex and at times unpredictable issues with our website. Keep your eyes alert for ANR updates that provide additional information. There may be a few more bumps in the road. In the meantime, any new information on outages will be available on the ANR IT information zoom channel.
- Author: Deanne Meyer
This last week started with us waking up to learn of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria. Drone footage, satellite imagery, news reports all show the devastation. The World Health Organization estimates some 23 million people impacted by this natural disaster and the news outlets indicate more than 33,000 people dead. That doesn't count all the people who know those impacted. Our thoughts are with first responders, those in need of healing and those traumatized by the temblor. Many groups and organizations are on the ground to help including Californians. Californians know how long recovery can take and how lives change in an instant. Many in my family see earthquake disasters and are grateful to first responders from throughout the world. My great grandmother was married in 1903 and moved out of her family's home to live with her in-laws. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake (magnitude 7.9 estimate) and fire destroyed building, property and people. Because Grammy lived with her in-laws she survived and a few years later my grandmother and her sisters were born; decades later my mother, her brother and her three first cousins; my generation has 6 and the next generation has 4. I for one understand the value and importance of first responders and international help that came to San Francisco's aid in 1906 and I'm grateful to be able to help now.
How's our footprint doing? January was a busy month for hiring. Academics included: Eric Porse, Director California Institute Water Resources; Advisors [Ellie Andrews, Sonoma; Natalia Ott, Tehama; Justin Tanner, San Joaquin; Eddie Tanner, Humboldt; Tobias Oker, Kern; Haris Gilani, Riverside, and Ahmed Kayad, Intermountain REC. and Flavie Audoin, Central Sierra MCP]. It's exciting to have new Advisors from one end of California to the other! Two Project Scientists joined: Francisco Benitez, Berkeley Food Institute housed at Kearney and Alexis Zaragoza working with Vice President Humiston. There are also two new Staff Research Associates: Cristal Hernandez (Kern) and Nicole Dutch in Plumas/Sierra. Tim Nguyen joined the statewide IPM program as an applications programmer.
Great progress is being made toward the California Conservation Planning Partnership (C2P2) technical assistance agreementrollout meeting at the end of the month. You may remember previous discussions on this collaboration between ANR,CARCD (California Association of Conservation District), CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture), NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) and Resource Conservation Districts. We provide service to the same people and this agreement helps all staff align with the responsibilities of their organization.
What else is happening within ANR? The biweekly meetings with the Vice Chancellors for Research continue with discussions to incorporate the UC data policy into local policy. Specifically, we need to ensure data are protected when academics transfer, leave or retire. As a reminder, all data associated with research projects are the property of the Regents of the University of California. Also happening at this time of year is our Directors of State wide Programs and Institutes are working on the budget call for 2023/2024. These are due later in February and go to Program Council for discussion in April.
Winter rains may or may not be done. Yet, we're at that time of year when millions of workers invade California: bees! Often, almost every healthy beehive in the country is in California as we prepare for a big bloom. I remember reading there's a new technology that made the top 10 at the World Ag Expo related to hive management. Maybe I'll get a chance to see it in the week ahead. May the weather be warm enough for the bees to be buzzing around and doing their job as buds bloom. Bees teach us that the mighty are mighty because of what they do and not because of their size.
After a somber weekend recalling the tragic events of 20 years ago, the week has gone by quickly through meetings that spanned national committee budget approval, to discussion about allocation of ANR funding, to seeking new resources through grant brainstorming. The ambient temperature is improving as the week progresses, which is welcomed given that I will spend the weekend trimming 48 Queen Palm trees that are growing far too fast for my liking.
On Monday, I attended my second offsite meeting since the pandemic shut down. Glenda and I met in Modesto with several of the executive directors from commodity group partners. Of course, we talked about the position call process and recently released positions. The partners are eager to engage with Program Teams to develop positions that meet emerging needs.
Earlier on Monday, I had a meeting with a firm that is interested in partnering with UC ANR to develop metrics and a performance dashboard for a California city housing department. I think there is potential to strengthen efforts in that community. On Tuesday, a few of us met to discuss an interesting ecosystem project that seeks a long-term partnership with UC ANR. The project, while a bit out of our current program area, fits squarely into our mission and offers a novel approach to partnering with one or more of the campuses. I am interested to see how this advances.
Today, Wednesday, included a brief stint with the county directors. However, much of the day was spent working in ECOP committees to approve the fiscal year budget and further the work of the Program Action Teams. A day full of meetings tomorrow, directed primarily as touch-base standing meetings, leads into tree-trimming Friday.
A fun fact I learned this week: 4-H has its own American Idol tryouts coming up on September 24th! Tryouts will take place via Zoom. There are age restrictions, so this is not a career change opportunity for many, or most, of us. Regardless, I hope the weekend finds you singing!
The weeds continue to grow, despite the heat. I, however, have avoided the gardens for the last 2 weeks, and perhaps this weekend as well. When we first moved in the gardens were overgrown, or ‘lush' as the previous owner described, and hummingbirds were everywhere. Our first summer our record hummingbird spotting was 7 at once. This year, I am up to 5. Perhaps leaving the gardens for a bit will increase numbers. That's what I will use as my excuse for the next couple of weeks anyway.
The weeds aren't the only thing not slowing down. With this new funding, there's so much to do! We are already preparing for next year's merit and promotion cycle and recognizing that the following year or two will produce record number of cases. Tomorrow the Peer Review Committee meets for the day to talk about next year's process. Tina, Mark, Pam, and team are busy planning and preparing for an intense recruitment schedule. We'll need everyone's support and assistance to make this work. Since I arrived in 2016, I've heard regularly the goal to ‘increase the academic footprint'. Box checked.
Once we have the accomplishment implemented, it's time to establish our next mantra and aim to achieve it. Perhaps something that reflects the importance of program development and delivery with community partners. We need to give this some thought. Ideas welcome.
This week, I am attending a national conference. Sessions are pretty well spaced apart, leaving time to conduct UC ANR business as well. One session this morning include comments higher education's fears about an undergraduate ‘enrollment cliff'. The year 2023 is projected to be peak enrollment, following which the long term implications of restrictions currently faced by international students, reduced enrollments of 18 to 20-year olds during COVID, and declining interest in and ability to afford college may combine to create significantly reduced enrollment numbers across the U.S. While 4-year institutions appear to be a bit better off than 2-yr institutions, there are financial concerns for all institutions. More conversation and development of solutions that help institutions cooperate more, to the economic benefit of students and the institutions, are needed. Perhaps if Extension can figure out how to share non-credit curriculum across state lines, we will have something to model for credit-based instruction.
Admittedly, conducting both CA work and participating in the conference is making for a long, packed week, but with COVID cases back on the rise, I am okay staying off planes and out of crowded conferences a bit longer. Vaccinated or not, please be safe out there. We have made it too far to slip backwards.
Budget meetings were held this week. It was nice to be in the Davis building and see more people than I saw last week! Also nice, and timely for our budget discussion, was the Governor's signing of the state budget. We discussed much about the increased support for our work. The intent behind the restoration of the FY19/20 budget was to allow us to resume our efforts underway prior to the pandemic, including operating funds, equity program assessment, and strategic goals. The additional funds from the legislature are clearly aligned with the legislature's desire to restore the academic footprint to that of over a decade ago. These are all good things. After 5 years of a different picture, I am optimistic that a number of goals can be addressed with these funds; not everything, but enough that each and all benefit directly or indirectly.
The funding is the result of everyone taking time to tell our story. Take a look at this one example, where Lynn tells the 4-H story with Farm to Table Talk podcaster, Roger Wasson. We know Lynn's busy; please thank her for taking the time to do this. If you don't have time to listen to the entire podcast, just check out the first 60 seconds!
Have you had a chance to attend the interview seminars of the new Kearney/Westside REC Director candidates? Two of the three webinars are complete. I hope our stakeholders take time to review the recordings and weigh in on the candidates. We have a number of recruitments open now for director positions in counties, statewide programs or at RECs. I hope we are fortunate enough to have a strong pool of candidates for each position. These represent advancement opportunities for staff and academics, alike.
Tomorrow is a bit hectic with Zoom meetings with both state and federal decision makers, COVID meetings (I hope those wind down soon!), and a few odds and ends. Friday is a bit lighter on the agenda and cooler if I end up in the garage for the day. Next week is another virtual national conference. I'm still undecided if I am eager to end those or look forward to continuing abbreviated conferences with fewer sessions and less hallway time. One conference I am looking forward to is the next ANR conference. Five years goes by fast. And, with all of the hiring ahead of us, this next year will be crazy fast.
In the meantime, please welcome Sandipa Gautam who started this week as the Area Citrus Integrated Pest Management Advisor, based at the Lindcove REC, with programmatic responsibilities in Tulare, Fresno, Madera, and Kern Counties. Welcome, Sandipa! You are joining at an exciting time!
See everyone at the Town Hall!