- Author: Wendy Powers
It's hot out there. Even the group in the Bay area I saw wearing long sleeves last week, are looking for ways to cool down. This, too, shall pass. Mark Bell has spent some time on the water. I've spent some time in the pool. I ran across an old photo that had me longing for a swim that requires fins.
I had an opportunity to review the ANR section in the Public Service Chapter for the systemwide 2021 UC Accountability Report. The California Naturalist Program is one program called out this year. Take a look at the impressive accomplishments that Greg and the team have had:
UC ANR's statewide California Naturalist Program promotes stewardship of the state's natural resources through education and service. The program delivery model involves partnering with around 50 well-established institutions to form a statewide network of organizations that offer the California Naturalist certification course. Since its inception in 2012, the program has certified over 3,770 graduates as California Naturalists who volunteer to support conservation and restoration efforts in 51 counties. In response to the 2020 national push for racial justice, the program re-examined its approach. As a result, the program is further emphasizing building meaningful relationships with organizations serving underrepresented groups and focusing on workforce development organizations; ensuring the relevance of program content, language, and delivery to diverse groups; increasing recruitment to those historically underserved by reducing barriers to access, including offering more scholarships; and taking responsibility for their own professional development and growth. In 2020, the program developed new partnerships with the following organizations serving underrepresented groups: Community Nature Connection, Nature for All, Outward Bound Adventures, and Southern California Mountains Foundation's Urban Conservation Corps. In Southern California, the program has seen the largest growth in partnerships with organizations serving underrepresented groups. In the Central Sierra region, non-white participation has gone up from 20 percent in 2019 to 35 percent in 2020.
I am looking forward to the STAR Award program tomorrow afternoon. An advanced ‘congratulations' to all of our winners! Earlier in the day, I will participate in a NIFA listening session to share Extension priorities that overlap with NIFA priorities, such as climate change, resilient communities, urban agriculture, workforce development, and DEI.
I head to the Hansen REC on Sunday. My first work-related trip in a very long time! I hope things cool off before then.