- Author: Wendy Powers
I've been living out of a suitcase for what seems like a month, but I don't dare actually confirm that. For some unexplainable reason March, July and October have always been months filled with travel throughout my career, regardless of where I was or what position I have had. Anyone else see the same thing? At least this year it has been more interesting than on average.
I had a chance to visit Kearney REC and Lindcove REC back at the end of February. I can't thank Jeff Dahlberg and Beth Grafton-Cardwell enough for the time they spent with me. I had no idea Kearney was like its own campus. In spite of knowing it was the ‘largest' REC that campus look and feel caught me off guard. Andre Westphal drove around to see some of his plots. I've already said all I know about nematology but clearly he is working with colleagues from around UC and beyond that have expertise in a whole host of disciplines. It was fascinating to see his work where trees have been cloned from one another. In the photo, below, the row of trees on the far left are all from the same parent stock (clones) and those in the row immediately to the right are also clones but from different parents. See how all of the trees in the left row are bent and consistently to the same extent, while those in the right are consistently more upright? Who would have thought? It certainly makes a case for nature over nurture; not a concept I had thought much about as far as its applicability to the ‘uprightness' of trees.
Andre and I discussed at length the topic of cost to doing research (indirect costs, user fees) and the value of partnerships with the commodity groups across California. He was in the middle of trying to get a proposal submitted so I didn't want to take too much of his time but appreciated the conversation. I have the same concerns and certainly had them over my career as I have watched the cost of research (tuition and assistantship rates, as well as IDC and user fees) skyrocket to the extent I sometimes hoped I didn't get the grant because managing the resources, while still producing defensible science, would be such a struggle. The stress was certainly much greater when I was more junior in my career, even though costs were much lower. So clearly a constant worry I suspect throughout all of our careers. No doubt Andre and I will have more conversations about this; perhaps when I meet with UCR at the end of the month.
Lindcove REC also caught me off guard. After spending 8 years in Florida I certainly wasn't expecting any ‘new' when it came to seeing a citrus orchard but then, there it was – a citrus grove with snow-covered mountains in the backdrop. Absolutely beautiful and just one more example in the list of surprises California has to offer. The facility is a tremendous resource from the meeting space to the lab to the amazing pack house. I could definitely spend some time playing with that software and instrumentation. And to see the regular investment by the industry into the facilities underscores the strength of the partnership UC has with the industry.
Much has happened since those visits but too much to write about here. Back in airports (another unexpected overnight) but hope to get back to sharing more ANR adventures soon.