This last week had its peaks and valleys. We are closely watching weather updates and predictions as more rain is heading our way.
Many heard the news that Richard (Dick) Rosenberg passed away at 92 years strong. His philanthropy will forever be remembered. For ANR, the Rosenberg International Forum serves to reduce conflict and promote cooperation in management of water resources. The endowment supporting this work began in 1996. As one article said his "attention to details, drove change and made a huge difference". The same article quoted his son Peter “He always said no matter what success you have in life, you can never enjoy it unless you're using that success to help others.” Dick's mission of making the world a better place is inspirational. I highly recommend a quick internet search to learn more about this amazing man and see similarities between all of us at ANR and his life's mission.
Tuesday was a super mentoring event for both staff and academics held in the Valley rooms. It was exciting to greet everyone and welcome them to their ANR family. We had a wonderful mix of mentors and mentees. Thank you to everyone who took part in the event. The energy in the room could have powered the building all day! The group met together and then split for more detailed information specific to staff or academics. A huge shout out to retired advisors John Karlik and Glenn McGourty for participating as mentors. As a reminder to everyone working in ANR—please remember to put you on your calendar! No matter your role in ANR, carve out time each week or month to reflect on accomplishments; what went well; and where improvements can be made. Make a habit of reflection so you see your value regularly. Set aside time for professional growth. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of work. File articles that look interesting, intriguing news pieces, a UC training, a TED talk, or any other opportunity to grow. Make time to dig in and learn at least monthly.
March 3rd was the first day for Elizabeth Moon, Director of Workplace Inclusion and Belonging. Director Moon is busy mapping out ANR. She's excited about our mission and encouraged by all the work being done within ANR surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. Please introduce yourself to Elizabeth. Her office is in Davis at 2nd Street.
Internal submissions are sought for the National Extension Awards. Three awards exist: Extension Diversity, Individual Excellence in Extension and Team Excellence in Extension. The application process isn't painful. We have incredibly strong programs in California and should have strong applicants in all three categories if people take time to complete the survey.
Welcome new hires in January: Grace Dean (Comm Specialist, Central Sierra Nevada MCP), Adolfo Limon (Financial Analyst, Resource Planning and Management) and Agron Kllogjri (General Accountant, Financial Services); students Jayla Pollard and Yasmeen Castro Guillen, Sutter/Yuba; Gema Gutierrez, Desert REC; Liam Gravvat, Human Resources; and Giovanna Bavaro, Riverside County.
The California CARET (Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching) members and the Administrative Heads Section (AHS) of the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities (APLU) meets Sunday and Monday in D.C. This year's theme is Ag is the Answer: Building Land-grant Solutions for Global Food, Agriculture, and Resource Challenges. After the meetings, our delegation will do hill visits and meet with elected officials' staff. It will be an an exciting week.
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.
Last week was a world wind tour of three Research and Extension Centers (RECs). Oranges, cotton and sorghum were not yet harvested at our South Valley RECs. Darren Haver, Maru Fernandez and I had great visits at these RECs. It was thrilling to hear about the various research projects and how UC ANR and campus faculty are finding ways to improve California agriculture.
Jasmine Del Toro (Business Officer), Don Cleek(superintendent) and Ashraf El Kereamy (Director) shared activity at Lindcove from research projects to how the processing/packing shed works. We were just a few weeks before harvest begins so we imagined the packing shed in full swing. Citrus of all types, from kumquats to pomelos and Buddha's hand, are grown at Lindcove. There's even a project on reuse of ground trees as mulch. This year's fruit is not yet harvested and already blossoms were on trees continuing the cycle. Maru spent quality time with Jasmin to help through new financial record keeping requirements. Much better than doing it over zoom.
Buddha's hand, Lindcove Pistachio tree, West Side Greenhouse, Kearney
At West Side we met with Karen Motly (Business Officer), Brian Neufeld (superintendent) and Tom Turini (Interim Director). Tom discussed center history and needs. Brian gave us a top-notch tour of the REC. Karen worked with Maru and Darren. It was exciting to see pistachios still on the tree. We were able to pick them and realize how soft the shell is while the nut is on the tree. If you're used to almond hulls, pistachios don't have that amount of external cover.
Wednesday we toured Kearney. There's much activity with detailed alfalfa work, organic plots, trees (fruit, nut, novel), vines, hemp, etc. Also, there is IR-4 work. Scientists from University of California campuses (Davis, Riverside and Berkeley) make Kearney their home. It was great to meet our newest Cooperative Extension Specialist Jackie Atim as well as see exciting work done by others.
All three RECs work to address issues growers face related to nitrogen management, water conservation and integrated pest management. It's fabulous to have land available for controlled experiments, greenhouses, and areas to isolate plants and pests. These facilities provide researchers from all over California with unique opportunities. Thank you to all the staff who keep the RECs running.
An exciting part of the week was a Zoom meet and greet with many Community Nutrition and Health Advisors, Amira Resnick and many new colleagues at UC San Francisco. The combined group spent focused on community-based research and outreach programs to improve health. This is the first of many interactions. The groups had so much in common.
Human Resources and many search committees have been busy! We welcome student assistants Taylor Baisey and Sia'h Jimissa (NPI), Cedric Renaudin (NFCS), Amritpal Kaur (Kern), Yolanda Tabarez (Desert REC); agricultural technician, Jovani Renteria, Lindcove; Lab helper, Tyler Waltrip; Blank Assistants Shayna Blythe (BOC), Katherine Fessler (State 4-H office), Robin Martin (Central Sierra MCP) and Andrea Rayray (SWPR). Rounding out our new hires were Joaquin Vega (Facilities, Planning and Management), Uriel Gonzalez (IT Services) and Benjamin Saltzman (IGIS Programmer). Three more Advisors joined our ranks too: Stephanie Mar, Organic Waste, South Coast REC; Joanna Solins, Environmental Horticulture, Capitol Corridor MCP, Yu-Chen Wang, Plant Pathology, Santa Cruz.
It takes many people to keep UC ANR running! Thank you for your contributions.
We all had the opportunity to enjoy the equinox this last week. This marked the official end of summer and reminded us that cooler days are on their way. Davis had more than 3.5 inches of rain with our first storm of the season. Although rain was welcomed by those fighting the Mosquito and other fires, it wasn't as welcomed by some growers with crops remaining in the field (tomatoes, grapes, almonds, etc.). As with many other things in life, things come with degrees of goodness.
Here's a shout out to Yu Meng our Youth, Family, and Community Advisor in Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Teams she works with received awards from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences for Communication Video ( Garden Video Project “Grow Healthy Foods, Harvest Healthy Families” (“Cultiva Alimentos Saludables, Cosecha Familias Saludables”) and Family Health and Wellness. Videos are in English and Spanish. For more information contact Yu directly.
The CalFresh Healthy Living, UC and Farm Smart teams delivered garden kits to preschools. From left, Yu Meng, UCCE Youth Family and Community Advisor; Stacey Amparano, Farm Smart Manager; Stephanie Collins, Farm Smart Outreach Assistant; Chris Gomez Wong, CalFresh Community Education Supervisor II; Vincent (contract gardener), Paul Tabarez, CalFresh Community Education Supervisor II; Rigo Ponce, Community Education Specialist II-CalFresh; and Martha Lopez, CalFresh Community Education Specialist II.
A bit ago, VP Council met. This group includes directors of each unit within ANR as well as our statewide program directors. We meet quarterly to provide input to the Vice President. It was a jammed packed meeting. I'll just cover a few take-aways from the day. Kathy Nolan reported out on the UC ANR Customer Satisfaction Survey. For those new to ANR this is a recent annual opportunity for us to identify areas for improvement in operational services within the organization. Great improvements have occurred as a result of the findings of the first survey. It's exciting to work for an organization seeking continued improvement.
We focused one session on onboarding. With all our new hires this is an essential activity. Jodi Azulai and Jona Pressman (Butte County Nutrition Education Program Manager) shared best practices to help onboard new employees. Do plan ahead and be prepared to spend time with your new hire on their first days! Human Resources is working on a great to-do list to aid in onboarding new employees. Do make time to introduce them around and make them feel welcome. Be sure the workstation and equipment needed are set up and ready. We're excited to be growing our ANR family and we want people to stay for a career!
Please extend a warm ANR welcome to our new colleagues! There were a few limited hires for camp counselors including Klacey Worthington, Glenn; and Norman Alberti, San Joaquin; student hires included Granville Goza, Santa Clara; Cedric Renaudin, Megan Cross, Nutrition Family and Consumer Science; and Evelyn Mandujano Capitol Corridor MCP; and staff research associates Efrain Barrera, Fresno Madera MCP and Daylin Wade, Central Sierra Nevada. We are happy you've joined the ANR family.
We are ANR. Together, we effect positive change in California.