- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Brent Hales joined UC ANR as the new associate vice president for research and Cooperative Extension on July 3.
Hales brings over 20 years of higher education research and leadership experience, including at land grant institutions and in Cooperative Extension. He most recently served as an associate dean of Pennsylvania State University's College of Agricultural Sciences and director of Penn State Extension.
Before joining Penn State in 2019, he served as the senior associate dean and chief financial officer of the University of Minnesota Extension, associate dean for the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, and the director of the Economic Development Authority Center at University of Minnesota, Crookston.
Hales earned a Ph.D. in rural sociology from Iowa State University, a master's degree in sociology from Middle Tennessee State University and a bachelor's degree in sociology from Brigham Young University in Utah.
While attending the UC ANR statewide conference in April, he was interviewed by Rodger Wasson for the “Farm To Table Talk” podcast. You can hear Hales explain that “Cooperative Extension is more than just kids, cows, sows and plows” at https://farmtotabletalk.com/beyond-kids-cows-sows-plows-brent-hales-uc-anr.
Hales is based at the Second Street building in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com, (530) 786-0256 and on Twitter @BrentDHales. Vanya Woodward, who is providing his administrative support, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laurie Wayne joined UC Cooperative Extension on July 5 in Modoc County as a nutrition and food systems advisor for Modoc, Lassen and Siskiyou counties. Wayne will work with community members on healthy lifestyles, nutrition, food access and security, local food production, preservation and availability.
Wayne brings years of high-desert food systems experience to her role: she owned and operated Locavore Farms in Fort Bidwell, helped found the Surprise Valley Saturday Market and Modoc Harvest, and was on the team that started the Modoc Harvest Food Hub. She also has worked supporting healthy communities for Oregon State University Extension in Klamath Falls, and at the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance in Bend, Oregon.
She earned a master's degree in TESOL (to teach English as a second language) from Portland State University and worked in school and community gardens with immigrants and refugees as part of her research project. She earned a bachelor's degree in Italian literature from UC Santa Cruz.
This job feels like the culmination of the farming, studying, supporting farmers and working in food systems she has done in the past 15 years, Wayne said.
“I'm especially interested in working on expanding access to affordable, healthy, local food year-round, including extending and preserving the harvest,” Wayne said. Her goal is to help everyone feel empowered to make healthy food choices, and she's learning what resources producers need to improve processing, transportation and production strategies, and overcome barriers that are unique to the region.
To better understand both the food systems needs and the abundant food assets of northeastern California, she will be meeting with community members; state, local and regional nonprofits; schools and other organizations in the next few months. They will discuss ways to strengthen community food system resilience.
“It's all about healthy community members who can eat good local food without breaking the bank, and producers who can make a living feeding them,” Wayne said.
Based in Alturas, Wayne can be reached at email@example.com and (530) 233-6400.
Carly Hyland joined UC ANR in July as a UC assistant Cooperative Extension environmental health sciences specialist/assistant professor in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
She recently finished a mixed-methods project at Boise State University examining pesticide exposure and perceptions of the risks of pesticides among Latino men and women farmworkers in Idaho. In California, she is pursuing projects examining interventions to protect farmworkers from pesticides, extreme heat and wildfire smoke in collaboration with community partners.
“There are so many reasons I wanted to come back to Berkeley, and I think one of the biggest motivating factors for me was the collaborative environment focused not just on conducting innovative research, but also translating those findings into solutions to improve community health,” Hyland said. “Farmworkers are increasingly experiencing the health impacts of climate change on a daily basis, and this position will provide me with the resources and collaborations necessary to identify strategies to address these urgent issues.”
Hyland earned her Ph.D. in environmental health sciences and master's degree in global health and the environment, both from UC Berkeley, and bachelor's degree in environmental science from Carthage College in Wisconsin.
Hyland is based at UC Berkeley and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @c_hyland1.
Samantha Sam-Chen joined the Nutrition Policy Institute on June 15 as a new project policy analyst.
She began her work at NPI as a graduate student and received her master's in public health with a concentration in public health nutrition from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
Her primary research interests include food and nutrition insecurity, evaluating food and nutrition programs, and early childhood nutrition interventions. Through her work, Sam-Chen hopes to contribute to research that will result in policies that eliminate nutrition-related health disparities. She brings over a decade of experience working with California school districts, primarily in rural and predominantly Latino communities. At NPI she works on several projects, such as evaluating the California Nutrition Incentive Program and California's Universal Meals Program.
Sam-Chen is based at UC Office of the President in Oakland and can be reached at email@example.com.
Murillo-Barrick named BIPOC advisor for Bay Area
Murillo-Barrick, who had worked as UCCE academic coordinator focused on planning grants for Fresno, Merced, Madera and Tulare counties since 2021, described her new role as “more holistic,” prioritizing historically marginalized communities. Murillo-Barrick will be identifying opportunities to leverage the strengths of BIPOC communities.
In addition to conducting a needs assessment, Murillo-Barrick is planning to form a language access group at ANR – something she is very passionate about. This group will focus on identifying language barriers and best practices by engaging programs like CalFresh Healthy Living, UC and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program that have expertise conducting multilingual programs throughout California. For example, they may recommend increasing accessibility using infographics and/or video, both of which can be translated into different languages and/or dialects.
The realm of diversity, equity and inclusion is not new to Murillo-Barrick, who has worked in outdoor education spaces, serving historically underserved communities of color. “I worked in DEI before it was considered ‘cool,'” she said.
“I have a lot of influence over program development in this role,” said Murillo-Barrick, who is fluent in Spanish. “So, my goal as an advisor is really focused on the community engagement part,” she added.
Murillo-Barrick earned a master's degree in geography and community development and a bachelor's degree in Spanish and international relations at UC Davis. During graduate school, she studied conservation issues in Nicaragua, as well as in her homeland, Costa Rica.
Aside from her academic training and previous work, Murillo-Barrick believes that mentors – including Mary Blackburn, UC Cooperative Extension health and nutrition advisor for Alameda County – who were instrumental in creating the BIPOC community development advisor position, have prepared her well for this role.
“I'm the only one within UC ANR who has ‘BIPOC' in my title, but everyone has BIPOC among their clientele,” said Murillo-Barrick. “I'm tasked with leading our community development efforts, but we all play a part in this work.”
Murillo-Barrick is based out of the UCCE office in Hayward and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oberholster honored with American Dream Award
“Dr. Oberholster is an example of the promise of the American Dream and importance that immigrants play on education in our country,” said Thompson. “UC Davis is one of the premier research universities in the world, and it is thanks to people like Dr. Oberholster that a UC Davis education is highly sought after. I am proud to honor Dr. Oberholster with the American Dream Award and I look forward to seeing how her research and contributions at UC Davis continue to benefit our region and the world.”
Oberholster was born in South Africa, where she received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and chemistry and an honors degree in chemistry from Stellenbosch University. She earned a Ph.D. in wine science from the University of Adelaide in South Australia in 2008. In 2011, she moved to the United States to work as UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Davis.
Oberholster has been a board member of the American Society of Viticulture and Enology for six years and is currently the 2nd vice-president of the society. She also has worked as the secretary of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture Foundation, which fundraises to give scholarships to viticulture and enology students. Furthermore, she is a member of the LLC Management Committee that organizes the Unified Grape and Wine Symposium. She is currently the chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology's coordination and extension committee. Previously, she was the chair of the Viticulture and Enology graduate group and advised incoming students.
Oberholster is vice-chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology and is doing important research to benefit the grape and wine communities. She focuses on grape and wine challenges, including grapevine red blotch disease and the impact of wildfire smoke on grape and wine quality. Oberholster helps the wine community become more sustainable, such as improving the quality of winery wastewater recycling methods.
The American Dream Award honors immigrants who have excelled professionally, through entrepreneurship and innovation, in the arts and culture, or through community service.
Informed by the socioecological determinants of nutritional health, Diaz Rios studies methods of reaching groups at risk of malnutrition. She specializes in applying cross-cultural adaptation methodologies to develop nutrition education and to measure the value of tools. She has contributed to the production of culturally relevant educational resources to improve the food environment for people at critical stages of development, especially young children. Her approaches to adapt and validate evaluation tools for cultural relevance allow for accurate and reliable documentation of the impact of nutrition education programs in California and nationally. Recently, she has been exploring approaches to improve nutrition education in medically underserved communities.
Diaz Rios's published work informed the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior's guidelines for authors, reviewers and editors on publishing race and ethnicity data. One of her studies pointed out the scarcity of quality studies on interventions to improve diet-related health disparities. Her research also highlighted structural factors affecting food security among Latinas during the pandemic.
As a member and later chair of SNEB's journal committee, Diaz Rios led the creation of a mentorship program and recruitment of the first JNEB Mentored Editor; oversaw approval of three of the society's position papers; and participated in advancing the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion in the journal.
This award recognizes one SNEB member who has made notable contributions in the field of nutrition education and behavior and to SNEB as an organization during the early stages of their career, defined as less than 10 years as a nutrition educator.
Diaz Rios, who joined UC ANR in 2014, received the award at the SNEB International Conference in Washington D.C. on July 21.
UC IPM wins ACE gold award for online course
The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program won a gold award from the Association for Communication Excellence for its online course “Urban Pyrethroid and Fipronil Use: Runoff and Surface Water Protection.”
Cheryl Reynolds, UC IPM interactive learning developer, led development of the self-paced course and served as lead instructional designer, audio/video editor, photographer and narrator. Petr Kosina, UC IPM content development supervisor, contributed instructional design, cartoon animations and photography. Karey Windbiel-Rojas, associate director for Urban and Community IPM, and Loren Oki, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, were principal investigators for the project. California Department of Pesticide Regulation's Robert Budd, Aniela Burant and Carlos Gutierrez served as subject matter experts.
Pesticides are the most common way structural and landscape pests are managed in urban environments. It has been estimated that more than 2 million pounds of urban pesticides are used for structural and landscape applications annually in California, resulting in the potential for pesticide residues to be washed into storm drains during rain or irrigation events. Water carrying this residue runs directly into creeks, lakes, and rivers, harming aquatic organisms and disrupting the entire food chain within sensitive water ecosystems.
The “Urban Pyrethroid and Fipronil Use: Runoff and Surface Water Protection” online course presents information on California's Surface Water Protection Regulations that were put into place in 2012 to reduce the amount of pyrethroids in surface water runoff. The course illustrates the types of applications allowed under the regulations, as well as those that are prohibited and those that are exempt.
This course was developed for licensed pest management professionals who work primarily in structural pest control or landscape maintenance and use pyrethroid pesticides and fipronil for their work.
Funded by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the interactive course has received positive comments from participants such as, “This was a good course to take. It was interesting and well done. It will make you think about what goes down the storm drains.”
The course was developed using the Adobe Captivate authoring software and is hosted on the eXtension platform, which uses the Moodle learning management system.
To learn more about the course, watch this video: https://youtu.be/5ogj2ZLk5XA.
Keatley Garvey wins ACE photo award
Headlined “Monarch Butterflies: Closer to Extinction,” the blog included photos of a monarch egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and male and female butterflies, all images she captured in her family's pollinator garden in Vacaville.
The blog noted that the International Union for Conservation of Nature announced on July 21, 2022, that the migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) was now on its "Red List of Threatened Species as Endangered--threatened by habitat destruction and climate change."
Gosliner appointed to National Institute of Health working group
The ADVANTAGE project is an effort to better understand the intersection of food systems, diet, nutrition and health in a changing environment by addressing how the current realities of climate/environmental change are affecting dietary choices, patterns and relevant aspects of the food system, as well as implications for specific public health outcomes of interest. This effort seeks to determine how an ecological approach can be applied to assess the nature and impact of these relationships and how to best translate the evidence generated to promote health and prevent disease.
Gosliner is a member of the ADVANTAGE Working Group 5, tasked to focus on translation and implementation to support context-specific, equitable, safe and efficacious interventions, dietary guidance and standards of care in a changing environment.
Working Group 5 conducted a virtual workshop on June 12. Gosliner and collaborator Jenn Otten from the University of Washington hosted “A Conversation about Dissemination and Translation.” The recording from their presentation is available online and their talk begins at 1:46:30.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Undergraduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities visit UC for summer session
Na'Zyia Dowdy-Arnold and Destinee S. Whitaker, both of Spelman College, Christopher Bass of Morehouse College, and Carlos Jackson of Tuskegee University spent the summer getting research experience with UC Berkeley scientists. The four undergraduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities were participating in the UC Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management HBCU Environmental Scholars Program.
“The program aims to facilitate two-way learning while fostering preparedness and belonging for HBCU students interested in graduate school at UC Berkeley,” said co-founder Rosalie Zdzienicka Fanshel, UC Berkeley doctoral candidate.
Now in its second year, the program, was co-founded by UC Berkeley professor Tim Bowles who also co-directs the program with Fanshel in cooperation with Tuskegee University and Spelman College faculty members.
“After two years as a mentor in the ESPM/UCB HBCU summer research immersion program, I was thrilled to witness the transformation of students,” said Vernard Lewis, emeritus UC Cooperative Extension entomology specialist. “This transformation included doing high-level science and increasing the feeling of belonging. The current cohort of four HBCU students have immersed themselves in lab and field sciences that include campus and ANR units. The hope is to expand the program and to increase the talent pool of HBCU students for graduate programs and careers at UC and ANR.”
During their two-month program, the students toured the San Joaquin Valley with Fanshel and Kristin Dobbin, UCCE water justice policy and planning specialist at UC Berkeley. They visited Allensworth, a utopian agricultural community focused on self-reliance in Tulare County founded in 1908 by African Americans, and UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, where they met Houston Wilson, UCCE entomology specialist.
Near the end of their stay, Lewis and his wife, Lisa Kala, who held administrative, research and teaching positions in UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education for over 40 years, hosted a backyard barbecue at their Hayward home for the students to meet Black UC faculty, administrators and alumni.
Lewis assembled African American friends Mary Blackburn, Gloria Burkhalter, Bill Stevens, Bilal Shabazz and his daughter Amani, Fred Logan, Ben Tucker, Elize Brown, Gregory Bradley, Vincent Duncan, Maria Shalita, Carol Chambers-Blockton, Jariel Arvin, Frank McPherson and Charles Clary – some retired and others still enjoying long careers – to meet the young scholars on July 24. Harry LeGrande, emeritus UC Berkeley vice chancellor of student affairs who served in higher education for 45 years, joined the group by Zoom.
McPherson, who retired from UC ANR as UCCE director for the Bay Area in February, cooked up hot links, seafood gumbo and black-eyed peas, served with salad and fresh fruit for the occasion.
“It's okay to be different,” Lewis, the first Black entomologist hired at UC Berkeley, told the students. “You're not alone. We're all with you,” he added, gesturing to the older guests, who had described their professional journeys and how they navigated sometimes unfriendly environments. Some had graduated from college amid the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
Blackburn recalled being offered one of four coveted spots in UC Berkeley's new Master of Public Health Nutrition – Dietetic Internship program after graduating from Tuskegee University in 1963. It didn't seem feasible to move since her husband owned his business in Atlanta and they had four young children. But when the Tuskegee University president said she had to go, Blackburn understood that opportunity was not just about her and three days later she boarded a plane to California. In 1968, Blackburn became one of the first Registered Dietitians in the U.S. and completed her Ph.D. in human nutrition and health planning and administration at UC Berkeley in 1974.
“Find your allies; find your advocates,” Blackburn, UC Cooperative Extension's community nutrition and health advisor for Alameda County for the past 33 years, advised the students.
After the barbecue, the students began collecting email addresses and making connections with their new allies on LinkedIn.
“During our feedback sessions with the students, they expressed their appreciation to all those in attendance, especially Vernard Lewis, who orchestrated the event,” said McPherson. “One of the most important takeaways from the event was their desire to have this type of event with accomplished Black administrators and professionals continue to be part of the programming while at Berkeley.
“They also suggest that these events take place earlier, so that they might take advantage of the knowledge and experience these Black professionals bring to the table, not only as they return to their individual institutions and career paths, but also have access to this network while in the Bay Area.”
A week earlier, during a lunch with Blackburn and Lewis, the students had said they appreciated meeting the two accomplished Black scientists and wished they could meet more. That comment spurred Lewis and Blackburn to organize the barbecue. Despite the short notice, several of their Black colleagues attended. “They showed up because they care,” Lewis said.
They will continue to modify the program based on feedback from the students.
The first year of the program was funded by UC Berkeley's Berkeley Food Institute and Spelman College. The second year was funded by the UC Berkeley Office of Graduate Diversity; Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management; and donations from other campus programs and individuals. Each student receives a $5,000 stipend, room and board and travel.
Bowles and Fanshel have applied for a UC-HBCU initiative grant from UC Office of the President to continue the program for another three years.
- Author: Jodi Azulai
UC ANR has several learning platforms you can use to help you grow in any of four strategic learning themes: extension methods & delivery, building support, office & team management, or diversity, equity and inclusion.
Register for any of these platforms and access content important to your work and role at UC ANR and beyond.
- You can learn from, teach, and collaborate with colleagues across the nation through Extension Foundation
- You can learn “the art of saying 'no'” from the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity
- LinkedIn Learning has 16,000 high-quality on-demand courses in seven languages
We recommend looking at these top sources; we also have additional resources below them.
Extension Foundation (formerly eXtension)
Register here. As a UC ANR employee, you have free access to the Extension Foundation and Connect Extension. The Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on
As UC ANR employees, all academics and staff have free access to the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. The NCFDD is the leading provider of professional development in higher education. Working with over 300 colleges and universities, as well as thousands of individuals in schools across the country, we are 100% devoted to supporting faculty members, postdocs and graduate students in making successful transitions throughout their careers. Refer to NCFDD for strategic planning, explosive productivity, work-life balance, and healthy relationship building by learning.
For many years, UC ANR has been providing employees with access to LinkedIn Learning. There you can access more than 16,000 high-quality, on-demand courses in seven languages as well as podcasts. Furthermore, you'll find certificate preparation courses developed in partnership with certificate providers so you can earn their professional certificate and showcase your mastery of in-demand skills to employers. There are courses representing each of UC ANR's learning strategies.
Additional Learning Resources
My UC Career
Create your account. As a University of California employee, you have free access to this online development portal, which
- View all UC opportunities
- Build a resume
- Create a pitch statement
- Network and research
- Build: Interview skills, decision making tools, negotiating on the offer
The mission of NAEPSDP is to improve communication and collaboration by discussing issues, needs and opportunities of
Create your account. Gartner, Inc. is an American technological research and consulting firm that
- Gartner Experts Answer the Top Generative AI Questions for Your Enterprise
- Building a Better Finance Strategy
- The Future of Marketing Organizations
- Cost Optimization Capabilities
UC Learning Center (UCLC)
The UC Learning Center is the web-based learning management system (LMS) used across the University of California for
The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI Program) is a trusted standard in research, ethics, compliance and safety training, serving the training needs of colleges and universities, healthcare institutions, technology and research
- Responsible Conduct of Research for Administrators
- Social & Behavioral Research - Basic/Refresher
- Author: Jodi Azulai
- Identify three basic human needs and how they relate to positivity and well-being.
- Review barriers to individual happiness and positivity.
- Discuss simple happy hacks individuals can use to boost their positivity and productivity at
- home and at work.
- Identify tools individuals can use to help improve the lives of those they serve and work with.
- Increased motivation to put the 8 words for resilience into practice.
This webinar will discuss the trends that redefined 21st century volunteers,
help better understand the motives of people who volunteer, utilize
strategies for how to recruit volunteers, and foster inner volunteer
motivation to stay. Participants will learn tips on writing a position
description for episodic volunteers, the role of a volunteer-friendly environment in retaining volunteers and how to deal with a “bad” volunteer and tips on how to engage with volunteers through tech. Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay.
What's Extension Doing in Workforce Development? An Update from the Workforce Program Action Team (Extension Foundation)
Registration & Detail.
The Workforce Program Action Team (PAT) continues its efforts to coordinate, expand and build the work that Extension is doing in workforce development. Join this Program Center Stage to learn more about the many efforts that Extension is already engaging in in workforce development and to learn more the next steps the PAT is engaging in to build Extension's efforts to tackle our workforce needs.
Cultivating Your Network of Mentors, Sponsors & Collaborators (National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity)
11 a.m.-noon PT
Open your free account here.
Registration & details.
Join us for a webinar that will help you:
- Map your current mentoring network
- Identify your unmet needs
- Plan how to expand your existing network to meet your current needs
Fast Track to Contracts & Grants Recordings (April-May 2023)
Introduction to Contracts & Grants (video) Slide deck, with Kim Lamar
From Concept to Submission (AKA Proposal Development and Proposal Process video), Slide deck, with Vanity Campbell, et al
Proposal budget preparation basics (or Budget Basics and Calculator) (Video), Slide deck (PDF) with Kendra Rose
Using the new ANR Workflow Automation program to route C&G Forms “800“and Advance Account Request (Video), Slide deck (PDF) Form 800 Quick Guide (PDF) Advance Account Quick Guide (PDF)
Understanding the awards process (Video), Slide deck (PDF)
Working with Subrecipients (Video), Slide deck (PDF)
Post Award Process (Video), Slide deck (PDF)
Grassroots Engagement and Social Justice through Cooperative Extension (Extension Foundation)
11 a.m. – noon PT
A Guide to Pronouns and Inclusive Language (UC Davis DEI Resources)
What are pronouns?
Pronouns are linguistic tools that we use to refer to people (i.e., they/them/theirs, she/her/hers, he/him/his). We believe that it is important to give people the opportunity to state the pronoun that is correct to use when referring to them.
Pronouns are integral to who we are, and we share pronouns because we want to avoid assuming someone's pronouns based on factors like appearance. By sharing our own pronouns routinely, we encourage others to do the same and demonstrate that we understand the importance of sharing pronouns. Using someone's correct pronouns is an important way of affirming someone's identity and is a fundamental step in being an ally. Read more.
We offer this planning webinar at the beginning of each semester so that you can take time out of your schedule to identify your personal and professional goals, create a strategic plan to accomplish them, and identify the types of community, support and accountability you need to make this your most productive and balanced semester ever!
Personal Leadership Bootcamp (Extension Foundation)
Sept. 6, 13, 20
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Registration & details.
This three-part series invites individuals to really get to know yourself, choose a path and take action with the power of your personal leadership philosophy!
Promoting Equity, Transforming the Tenure Review Process (NCFDD, article)
We first recommend you reflect on and appreciate the role your specific perspective plays in your letter – your gender, race, class, sexual orientation, able-bodiedness, culture, ethnicity, religion and nationality. We also suggest ways to gather information about the perspective of the letter-requesting institution that encourage them to reflect on what they value in their faculty. Read more.
Listening is a critical competency, whether you are interviewing for your first job or leading a Fortune 500 company. Surprisingly, relatively few working professionals have ever had any formal training in how to listen effectively. In this course, communications experts Tatiana Kolovou and Brenda Bailey-Hughes show how to assess your current listening skills. Request your LinkedIn Learning account by contacting UC ANR IT email@example.com. Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay.
How to Speak So People will Want to Listen (LinkedIn Learning- audio course)
Do you want to be an engaging speaker? In this audio-only course from "How to Be Awesome at Your Job," international speaker Julian Treasure shares tactics and techniques that improve how you communicate. Julian stresses the importance of learning how to listen first. Understanding how your audience listens will improve your speaking. Read more. Request your LinkedIn Learning account by contacting UC ANR IT firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone can learn something new.
UC ANR Learning & Development
- Author: Gregory C. Ira, Director, UC Environmental Stewards
In 2012, the California Naturalist certification course became a statewide program within UC Agriculture and Natural Resources known as the California Naturalist Program. For 10 years, the course and the program have shared the same name. In 2020, we added the new Climate Stewards certification course. Both courses use education and service to inspire and empower individuals to create more sustainable and resilient communities and ecosystems.
Unfortunately, our program name only reflected one half of our work. To better reflect the scope of both the California Naturalist and the Climate Stewards certification courses, we've renamed our program “UC Environmental Stewards.” This new program name reflects the overarching importance of environmental stewardship to both courses.
While the program name is new, the two courses remain unchanged. The California Naturalist course still proudly focuses on California's natural history under the emblem of the California sister butterfly, and the Climate Stewards course still builds community resilience under the emblem of the lupine. Anyone certified as a California Naturalist or Climate Steward is still a California Naturalist or Climate Steward. UC Environmental Stewards is simply the new programmatic home for these two courses, and potentially any others we may add in the future.
Along with our program name, we are excited to announce additions to our small but growing program team. Jill Santos joins the program in Ventura County at the end of the month and next month we welcome Michelle Peeters, who will support our partners in Northern California.
The growth of the Environmental Stewards program reflects the demand for our courses and the growing need for community and ecosystem resilience. As Californians search for ways to productively engage in local solutions to the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss, they are finding our courses. Through community education, civic engagement, and the cultivation of a shared identity as environmental stewards, the program builds the adaptive capacity of individuals and communities to address the impacts we are already experiencing, as well as those yet to come.
Our collective impact network of 67 local partner organizations has conducted 422 California Naturalist and Climate Stewards courses and trained over 7,600 participants since the program started. These certified naturalists and stewards have gone on to volunteer over 240,000 hours of service across the state since 2018, worth over $6 million. The UC Environmental Stewards program continues the legacy of the original program started in 2012, and opens the door for many more Californians to effectively engage in discovery, action and stewardship.