- Author: Wendy Powers
Odd that people from the Oakland office came to Davis Monday to cool off, citing that their homes in the Bay area don't have air conditioners and that it was actually cooler in Davis. That didn't last long. I am extra fortunate in that my house has A/C, but we didn't need to run it over the weekend or last night; that didn't last long either, and now it is running.
I spent Monday night in Riverside having attended the County Board of Supervisors Budget Hearing that evening. Despite the heat, well over a hundred people turned out for the meeting in support of maintaining the UCCE budget. Many, many thanks to all who helped turn the proposed '0 budget' into a '0 cut'! The supporters really put the heat on the Supervisors to reconsider the original funding (de-funding) proposal. Those who offered public comment provided heartfelt testimony about the impact of our programs and how they, personally, have benefited and how the County has benefited. Tuesday I returned to listen to the rest of the Budget Hearing. I thought about all of the untapped opportunities we have to partner more with other departments and achieve shared goals. Have we considered working with Corrections to leverage their funding with our Master Gardener Program as a means of increasing skills and citizenry of facility residents before their release? What are the possibilities to work with Riverside University Health System's Behavior division to provide programming that enhances wellness among youth, adult, underserved, or all populations? We have substantial, documented successes working with school systems, so why not assume our impact would be as meaningful if we partnered with other County units?
The work's not over. We need to continue to engage those who don't know us but make decisions that impact us. We need to continue to engage those who do know us, and brainstorm how to do better – reach more people, have a greater impact. The work is exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. Out of the meeting on Monday, I met many of our long-time supporters. I met new supporters who were learning about UC Cooperative Extension for the first time. I was genuinely moved by the show of support by a group from CalFire who were there to fight for their own funding. I wonder, were they familiar with the UC ANR efforts around firewise landscaping, prescribed fire, or our response efforts following recent wildfires throughout the state? Or were they moved by the stories from the 4-Hers, the Master Gardeners, or the families that have benefited, directly, from UC ANR programs?
Now Wednesday is almost over, my 'Thank You' notes to the Board of Supervisors are ready for mailing, I'm behind on deadlines for the week, and it is only Wednesday. The good news – I think I've helped someone each day, been challenged by something each day, and learned something each day this week. And it's only Wednesday! Three years ago yesterday, I wrote a letter to my immediate supervisor indicating I was leaving my faculty/director position. While the message didn't say so, the reason was, in part, due to extreme boredom. Not bored yet. But I am still looking for a strategy to beat the heat.