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Posts Tagged: April 2024

Legislators hear about UC ANR research, outreach to improve California

From left, Cindy Chen, Glenda Humiston, Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Esmeralda Soria, Gabe Youtsey and Victor Francovich, chief consultant for the Assembly Agriculture Committee.

UC ANR held its annual advocacy day on April 10, meeting with state legislators to build awareness of how Californians are benefiting from its work across the state. The group, led by Vice President Glenda Humiston and Associate Vice President Brent Hales, met with Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Esmeralda Soria, Assemblymembers Vince Fong and Juan Alanis, and Senators John Laird, Bill Dodd and Anna Caballero.

From left, legislative staff Quincy Stivers, Gabe Youtsey, John Laird, Glenda Humiston and Cindy Chen.

They also met with the staff of President pro Tempore Mike McGuire, Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, Senators Monica Limón, Steve Padilla, Roger Niello and Josh Becker, and Assemblymembers Bill Essayli, Cottie Petrie-Norris, Jesse Gabriel, Damon Connolly and Steve Bennett.

From left, Haris Gilani, Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Assemblymember Vince Fong, Brent Hales, Cindy Chen and Gabe Youtsey.

This year, Anne Megaro, government and community relations director, and Sheron Violini, associate director government and community relations, added a midday coffee break to showcase UC ANR's wildfire resiliency research and outreachand offer resources for legislative offices to share with their constituents in May, which is Wildfire Preparedness Month. Assemblymember Vince Fong sponsored the room in the Capitol for the briefing. Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Fire Network director, spoke about the importance of prescribed burns and forest management practices and associated job opportunities. Missy Gable, director of UC Master Gardener Program, described how UC ANR is helping communities become more resilient and prepared.

“Our knowledge and prepared outreach materials could be used by offices to help their constituents mitigate wildfire risk,” said Violini. “We garnered great interest from representatives of several caucuses and offices and we are already working with them to share information.”

From left, Cindy Chen, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Loyal Terry and Glenda Humiston.

In meetings with legislators and their staff, the UC ANR representatives shared a one-pager that included the new Luna UCR avocado, reducing food insecurity, and pest management in urban communities as well as on farms.

Humiston and Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer, discussed the merits of CropManage, an app used by growers to reduce water and fertilizer inputs while harvesting the same crop yields. The decision-support tool developed by Michael Cahn, UCCE irrigation and water resources advisor, will be showcased at the UC Innovation Fair at the state Capitol on May 8.

From left, Brent Hales, Senator Bill Dodd, Lenya Quinn-Davidson and Haris Gilani.

Cindy Chen, UC Cooperative Extension woody biomass and forest products advisor in the Central Sierra, and  Haris Gilani UCCE biomass and bioenergy advisor in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, described UC ANR's role in ARCHES, California's initiative to accelerate renewable hydrogen projects and the necessary infrastructure. The scientists are identifying ways to use biomass to provide energy and consumer products while creating job opportunities in rural areas.

To continue the learning relationship, they invited the legislators and staff to attend UC ANR events in their respective districts.

From left, Brent Hales, Assemblymember Juan Alanis, Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Haris Gilani and Anne Megaro.
From left, Brent Hales, Assemblymember Juan Alanis, Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Haris Gilani and Anne Megaro.

Assemblymember Megan Dahle gave the group a tour of the Assembly Chamber.
Assemblymember Megan Dahle gave the group a tour of the Assembly Chamber.

Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 1:47 AM
Tags: advocacy (29), Anne Megaro (15), April 2024 (12), Sheron Violini (2)

Governing Council, PAC tour Desert REC, Salton Sea

4-H member Bayne Bernal, left, met UC President Drake during his visit to Desert Research and Extension Center.

Vice President Glenda Humiston and UC ANR employees gave UC President Michael Drake, the UC ANR Governing Council and the President's Advisory Commission members a tour of the Salton Sea area and Desert Research and Extension Center in Holtville on April 25 and 26.

The tour started with visit to Aziz Farms in the Coachella Valley. At the date farm, they met Rita Clemons, director of UC Cooperative Extension for San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties; Philip Waisen, UCCE vegetable crops advisor; and Yu Meng, UCCE youth, family and community advisor. Grower Mark Tadros gave an overview of the benefits and challenges of operating a small farm.

At Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, Jim Turner, president of Controlled Thermal Resources Holdings, Inc., gave a talk about geothermal energy and lithium extraction. Hoori Ajami, UC Riverside associate professor and member of the Salton Sea Task Force, and Ali Montazar, UCCE irrigation and water management advisor for Imperial, Riverside and San Diego counties; described the area's ecological and agricultural challenges.

On the second day of the tour, Darren Haver, director for the REC System and interim South Coast REC director, gave the group an overview of the Research and Extension Center System.

Desert REC Director Jairo Diaz and the Desert REC team presented an overview of the community and youth education activities and field studies at Desert REC. The tour included drone and robotics demonstrations by Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer, and Ali Pourreza, UCCE digital agriculture specialist at UC Davis.

Ricardo Vela, manager of News and Information Outreach in Spanish, explained how UC ANR is connecting Latinos in California with information.

To wrap up the tour, Oli Bachie, UCCE Imperial County director and agronomy and weed management advisor for Imperial, Riverside and San Diego counties, and Clemons described local UC Master Gardener, 4-H and CalFresh Healthy Living, UC programs.

The tour was coordinated by Kathy Eftekhari, chief of staff to the vice president, and the Program Support Unit.


Posted on Monday, April 29, 2024 at 6:22 PM

Names in the News

Fujiyoshi joins Capitol Corridor small farms team

Phillip Fujiyoshi

Phillip Fujiyoshi joined UCANR on April 3 as a UCCE small farms extension and research associate in the Capitol Corridor. Working with Margaret Lloyd, UCCE small farms advisor, Fujiyoshi supports underserved farmers in Yolo, Sacramento, and Solano counties by providing them with financial and agronomic technical assistance, and making extension materials available in Spanish.

Born and raised in Santa Maria, Fujiyoshi earned his bachelor's degree in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His academic knowledge of Spanish transformed into bilingual proficiency thanks to his life experiences of living with Spanish roommates, participating in a tree-planting brigade in Nicaragua and setting up a Spanish-speaking household with a Nicaraguan partner. The Nicaragua trip also sparked his lasting interest in agriculture, leading him into doctoral studies in agroecology at UC Santa Cruz.

After completing his Ph.D., Fujiyoshi performed molecular assays, contributed to phylogenetic studies, and led a spore-trapping field study in a lab studying grapevine trunk diseases. In addition, he pursued outside interests in agriculture, including winning an individual grant to study cabbage aphid behavior, pursuing informal cover crop trials in a community garden plot, volunteering on the UC Davis Student Farm and giving agronomic advice to growers at the farmers market.

Fujiyoshi is based in Woodland and can be reached at (530) 666-8143 and

Gill joins UCCE as environmental horticulture advisor 

Haramrit Gill

Haramrit Gill joined UCCE on April 1 as an environmental horticulture advisor for Tulare, Kings, Fresno and Madera counties.

She will be identifying landscape plants that are heat-tolerant, disease-resistant and fire-resistant. Gill will be researching California native plants with sustainable attributes that include superior adaptation, biodiversity enhancement, water efficiency and soil health benefits.

A native of Punjab, India, Gill earned her undergraduate degree in agriculture followed by a master's degree in horticulture at Punjab Agricultural University, where her research focused on micropropagation and haploid production in muskmelons. She earned a Ph.D. from the Department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University.

Her early research investigated the impact of nitrogen on spinach root architecture. Her doctoral work concentrated on rose breeding and deciphering the genetic underpinnings of flower color transition traits, fragrance and dwarfing in roses, with a particular focus on the intriguing phenomenon of flower color transformation from yellow to dark pink as blooms matured. She also collaborated on projects aimed at enhancing heat tolerance and disease resistance in roses.

Gill is based in Tulare and can be reached at and on LinkedIn at

Mickle joins Central Sierra nutrition education team

Justin Mickle

Justin Mickle joined UC ANR on March 18 as a community nutrition educator for the Central Sierra.

Prior to joining UC ANR, Mickle was a performance nutrition intern working with Division 1 athletes to optimize each individual's nutrition to best suit the demands of their sport and position within the sport.

He also served as an intern with CalFresh Healthy Living's Sacramento Office working alongside the community nutrition educators to deliver lessons.

“I'm excited to learn and educate along with the rest of the team,” said Mickle, who works with children and adults.

“The other day I was doing a site visit at Indian Creek Elementary School where I was teaching the Go, Glow and Grow CalFresh Healthy Living Curriculum to transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students in class,” Mickle said. He also has provided nutrition education to adults at a learning center for adults with disabilities to teach them fundamental cooking skills.

“Later this year, I will be visiting high schools and teaching other curriculum there as well, such as Hunger Attacks/Money Talks and Cooking Academy,” he said.

Mickle is a recent graduate of Sacramento State University with a bachelor's degree in nutrition and food.

He is based at the UCCE office in Placerville and can be reached at

Rosenbaum named disability management coordinator

Jodi Rosenbaum

Jodi Rosenbaum is now the permanent UC ANR disability management coordinator. With extensive experience in various Human Resources roles, including HR Partner; Employee and Labor Relations Coordinator; Leave Coordinator; and interim Disability Management Coordinator, she contributes a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Rosenbaum has served with the University of California for 19 years, including UC ANR for the last nine years.

Disability Management Services provides a wide range of functions and services to UC ANR academics, staff and program participants. Services include but are not limited to engaging with employees who may have workplace restrictions that require accommodation, coordinating with workers compensation, as well as providing guidance and training with regard to promote workplace health, safety and wellness. 

If you have questions about disability management services,send an email to or directly to Rosenbaum at

Posted on Monday, April 29, 2024 at 12:54 PM

Webinars explore role of trees in climate change resilience, May 14-16

Janet Hartin and the UC Master Gardeners of Riverside County gave away trees at the "Trees for Tomorrow" event at the Salton Sea through a partnership with Alianza Coachella Valley and other local organizations.

A free webinar series titled “Trees to the Rescue: Solutions for Climate Change” will be held on May 14-16, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day. The webinars are sponsored by the University of California Thelma Hansen Fund.

“The webinars aim to increase our understanding of the role of trees in mitigating climate change, how to plant the right trees and keep them healthy in urban environments, and the challenges of increasing the number of trees at the local level,” said AnnemiekSchilder, director of Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center, who is organizing the series. Hansen REC is operated by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The agendas for each 90-minute webinar are listed below. To register, visit

Tuesday, May 14: Trees as a Tool for Climate Change Mitigation and Resilience

4 pm Welcome—Annemiek Schilder, Director of Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center

4:05 pm Opening Remarks—Matt LaVere, Ventura County Supervisor District 1

4:10 pm Improving Outcomes of Tree Growing and Forest Restoration Efforts—Karen Holl, Professor of Environmental Studies, UC Santa Cruz

4:50 pm Climate Resilience through Urban Greening—Edith de Guzman, UC Cooperative Extension Specialist, Water Equity and Adaptation Policy, UCLA

5:30 pm Closing—Annemiek Schilder

Wednesday, May 15: Optimizing Tree Survival in a Changing Climate

4 pm Welcome—Emma Volk, Production Horticulture Advisor, UCCE Ventura and Santa Barbara counties

4:05 pm Cooling Urban Heat Islands with Climate-Resilient Trees—Janet Hartin, Environmental Horticulture Advisor, UCCE Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties

4:30 pm Keeping Trees Healthy from Sapling to Maturity—James Downer, Environmental Horticulture & Plant Pathology Advisor Emeritus, UCCE Ventura County

5:05 pm Dealing with the Inevitable Threat of Exotic and Invasive Pests—John Kabashima, Environmental Horticulture Advisor Emeritus, UCCE Orange County

5:30 pm Closing— Emma Volk

Thursday, May 16: Tree Advocacy and Planning at the Local Level

4 pm Welcome—Julie Clark, Natural Resources Community Education Specialist, UCCE Ventura County

4:05 pm Native Tree Restoration with Partners and the Public—Joey Algiers, Restoration Ecologist, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

4:30 pm Panel Discussion (Joey Algiers, moderator):

  • Joey Algiers, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
  • Mireille Vargas, County of Ventura Sustainability Division
  • Mikaela Randolph, Green Schoolyards America
  • Jan Scow, Registered Consulting Arborist, Ojai Valley
  • Max Young, Ventura Regional Fire Safe Council

5:30 pm Closing— Julie Clark

Posted on Monday, April 29, 2024 at 12:14 PM
Tags: April 2024 (12), climate change (14)

ANR takes kids to work at UCOP

At UCOP's Take Our Kids to Work Day, kids made fruit-infused water as an alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages. Photo by Ryan Williams

UC ANR employees at UC Office of the President in Oakland participated in Take Our Kids to Work Day on April 24.

Take Our Kids to Work Day is a national movement that allows children to explore career possibilities while learning more about their parents' work and organization.

“We did our session with the 6th graders,” said Summer Cortez, manager of the Nutrition Policy Institute's CalFresh Healthy Living Evaluation Unit.

Cortez and Ryan Williams, NPI project policy analyst and registered dietitian, explained to the visiting children that the Nutrition Policy Institute is a group of public health researchers. The group discussed what public health is and some of the different projects NPI is working on currently.

“We then introduced two public-health topics that NPI engages with through our research projects: sugar-sweetened beverages and processed foods. Each topic was paired with a hands-on activity,” Cortez said.

The kids made a healthy recipe of oats. Photo by Summer Cortez

For sugar-sweetened beverages, the kids made fruit-infused water in reusable water bottles. using their own mix fruits and herbs. One child exclaimed, “This is really good! I want to make more at home for my siblings.”

For processed foods, they played a game to get familiar with the terms “unprocessed,” “minimally processed” and “ultra-processed foods.” Cortez and Williams showed the kids images of fresh produce, freeze-dried fruit and frozen pizza rolls and other foods, and quizzed them on whether they were “unprocessed,” “minimally processed” or “ultra-processed.”

Next, they led the kids in making a healthy breakfast recipe – overnight oats in a Mason jar. “?They picked mix-ins like sunflower seed butter, coconut flakes, cinnamon, dried fruits, pumpkin seeds, etc.,” Cortez said. “They were instructed to add milk at home, of course!”

“Between topics, we did a movement break – yoga! Ryan led the kids in a sun salutation and discussed ?how yoga is an activity that encourages both mental and physical wellness.”

The kids took home their goodies in a fun fruit bag, along with recipe cards and a guide to doing a sun salutation at home.

Ryan Williams led children in a yoga exercise. Photo by Summer Cortez

Overnight Oats

Makes 1 Serving. 1 mason jar per serving


  • 2 Tablespoons nut or seed butter
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • ½ Cup rolled or old-fashioned oats
  • ½ Cup of milk (add any kind of milk you use at home!)
  • 2 Oz fresh, frozen, or dried fruits
  • Drizzle of honey (optional)


  1. Fill jar with nut/seed butter, pumpkin seeds, and oats (in that order)
  2. Next, you would normally pour in milk. Do this when you get home! Milk should just barely cover oats
  3. Top with fruit and honey
  4. Put lid on jar and refrigerate overnight, up to 5 days
  5. Shake before opening or stir to mix and enjoy!


Posted on Monday, April 29, 2024 at 10:11 AM

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