- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
UC President Michael Drake and UC regents were treated to virtual tours of UC ANR similar to the tour taken by legislators on Nov. 20.
On Dec. 2, UC regents Charlene Zettel, Cecilia Estolano and Richard Lieb, alumni regent Debby Stegura and Anne Shaw, secretary to the regents, took a 90-minute tour via Zoom. They were joined by members of the UC President's Advisory Commission Corinne Martinez, Connie Stewart, Paula Daniels and Stuart Van Horn.
On Dec. 8, President Drake was joined by UC regents Michael Cohen and Hadi Makarechian, student regent Jamaal Muwwakkil, alumni regent Eric Mart, regent-designate Cheryl Lott and student regent-designate Alexis Atsilvsgi Zaragoza.
In introducing the virtual tour, VP Glenda Humiston explained that UC ANR does much more than they would see that day. “This is just to pique your interest,” she said.
Before the tour, “learning boxes” containing samples of almonds, smoke-tainted wine, moringa powder, California grown coffee and many other items related to the presentations were shipped to the participants to give them a more interactive experience.
For example, while discussing the impact of wildfires, Stephanie Larson, livestock range management advisor and director of UCCE in Sonoma County, invited the participants to reach into the learning box for the two small wine samples to taste first the regular wine, then the wine made from grapes exposed to wildfire smoke to see if they could detect the smoke taint. Another popular item was the Shot Hole Borer ID kit which included a real (dead) shot hole borer in a vial with a magnifying glass and damaged wood sample.
During the presentations, tour participants were encouraged to write their questions in the Chat feature of Zoom and presenters followed up with information. They also engaged with questions and conversation at points during the tour.
The regents said they were very impressed with the work that UC ANR does. They urged UC ANR leadership to tell more people about UC ANR programs and let urban legislators know that the programs affect all 40 million Californians, not just rural communities.
At the end of the tour, Humiston said, “This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more research going on.” She invited them to see more of UC ANR on actual field tours when coronavirus restrictions ease.
President Drake said he liked seeing the connection between globally important issues such as wildfire, climate and carbon soil sequestration and UCANR research. “It's good to know we're actively involved. Thank you for your hard work and contributions.”
Presenters included Missy Gable, director of the UC Master Gardener Program; Jim Farrar, director of the Integrated Pest Management Program; Greg Ira, director of the California Naturalist Program; Lorene Ritchie, director of the Nutrition Policy Institute; Kamal Khaira, director of CalFresh Healthy Living, UC; Cecilia Arellano Ibarra, former CalFresh Healthy Living, UC Youth-led Participatory Action Research participant and UC Davis sophomore; Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, director of the 4-H Youth Development Program; Alexis Peña, senior at Buhach Colony high school and past Juntos 4-H program participant; Francisco Salazar, UC Merced student and past Juntos participant; Jhalendra Rijal, area IPM advisor; Ashraf El-Kereamy, UCCE specialist and director of Lindcove Research and Extension Center; Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, small farms advisor; Mike Mellano, third-generation flower grower in San Diego County, UC President's Advisory Commission member and California representative for the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching; Betsy Karle, dairy advisor; Yana Valachovic, forestry advisor and UCCE director in Humboldt and Del Norte counties; and Larson.
Behind the scenes, many people contributed to the tour's success.
The story map framework of the virtual tour was introduced and supported by Shane Feirer and Robert Johnson of the Informatics and GIS Program, then Kathy Eftekhari, chief of staff and Anne Megaro, director of government and community relations, created the story map working with the 16 presenters to develop content. Ricardo Vela, manager of News and Information Outreach in Spanish edited most of the videos. Many people helped to assemble and ship learning box items, including 4-H members who sewed more than 40 COVID-19 masks as samples of their work in civic engagement.
A self-guided version of the virtual tour will be posted online in the new year.