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Posts Tagged: Luke Macaulay

Names in the News

Macaulay named rangeland specialist

Luke Macaulay
Luke Macaulay joined UCCE on June 30 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist for Rangeland Planning and Policy in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley.

Macaulay was involved in the formation of the Graduate Training in Cooperative Extension Pilot Program in 2013, and went on to become one of its inaugural participants in 2014-15. The three-year pilot program partners UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources students with UCCE specialists and advisors as mentors to carry out extension-based projects. For his project, Macaulay gathered information from private landowners and managers to determine how recreational hunting for big game and upland game may influence decisions regarding land-use and conservation practices.

As a UCCE specialist in rangeland planning and policy, his research focuses on land use change, the interaction of wildlife, livestock and people across the landscape, and policy that impacts conservation and use of rangelands.

Prior to joining UCCE, Macaulay was a postdoctoral researcher evaluating land use and ownership of California cropland. Before his graduate studies, Macaulay worked for the U.S. Department of Justice in the Antitrust Division and later as the spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco.

Macaulay earned his Ph.D. in environmental science, policy and management and M.S. in range management from UC Berkeley. He completed a B.A. in liberal studies (a Great Books program) and Spanish from University of Notre Dame.

Macaulay is based at UC Berkeley and can be reached at and @LukeRangeWalker on Twitter.

DiCaprio named food safety specialist

Erin DiCaprio
Erin DiCaprio joined UCCE on June 30 as a community food safety specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis. DiCaprio focuses on community food safety. She is involved with the UC Master Food Preserver Program and extends safe food handling, preparation and storage information to the general public.

DiCaprio earned a Ph.D. in comparative veterinary medicine and a M.S. in food science and technology from The Ohio State University and a B.S. in biology from Virginia Tech.

Prior to joining UCCE, DiCaprio was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences at Ohio State. Her research project was focused on studying the interaction of foodborne viruses with fresh produce and developing methods to eliminate viruses in foods. She has worked in microbiology laboratories in both industry and academia and she has experience working with a wide array of microorganisms including mycorrhizal fungi, bacteria and viruses.

She is based at UC Davis and can be reached at (530) 752-6594 and

Brim-DeForest named rice advisor

Whitney Brim-DeForest
Whitney Brim-DeForest joined ANR on June 20 as an area rice advisor in Sutter-Yuba, Placer and Sacramento counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Brim-DeForest was a graduate student researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, working at the California Rice Experiment Station in Biggs. She managed the UC Davis Weed Science field and greenhouse trials, and worked with industry and academic scientists to design field and greenhouse trials for weed management in rice.

Her past research has focused on the germination, emergence, and ecology of key weeds in the rice system and their impact on yields, and managing weeds of rice with subsistence farmers in the Kolda Region of Senegal.

Before starting graduate school, Brim-DeForest served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Kolda and Dakar, Senegal. During her service, she worked with local farmers on best management practices in rice, cowpeas, millet, sorghum and corn, as well as horticultural crops. She is fluent in Pulaar (Fulani) and French.

She completed a Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy and an M.S. in international agricultural development at UC Davis and a B.A. in biology from Brown University.

Brim-DeForest is based in Yuba City and can be reached at (530) 822-7515 and

Diaz named 4-H STEM coordinator

Jessica Diaz
Jessica Diaz is the new 4-H Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academic Coordinator.

As STEM academic coordinator, Diaz leads California's STEM Initiative to develop, strengthen and evaluate programmatic opportunities for California's young people in the areas of science, engineering and technology education. She will adapt and design culturally responsive best and innovative practices, programs, activities, and curriculum to reach underrepresented youth, particularly Latino youth.

Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Diaz earned her B.S. in biotechnology with a minor in chemistry from Cal State University, Northridge. While pursuing a Ph.D. in plant biology at UC Riverside, she co-created the Botany and Plant Sciences Department's Plant Discovery Day, where fifth- and sixth-graders were invited to learn about various aspects of plant biology. 

Diaz is based in the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530)750-1341 and

Fontecha joins CSIT as artist

Katt Fontecha
Kathreen Fontecha has joined Communication Services and Information Technology as a senior artist.

Prior to joining ANR, she was the senior designer at the California Lighting Technology Center, a lighting efficiency research center at UC Davis, for eight years. Her career has focused on visual communications, branding and content development. She enjoys using her design skills to communicate technical information. She has a penchant for data collection, discovering patterns in information and interest in presenting analysis visually and succinctly. 

Fontecha earned bachelor's degrees in design and English from UC Davis and is currently enrolled in Northwestern University's master's degree program for information design and strategy through distance learning.

Fontecha is based in the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1216 and

Bud inserted into rootstock.
ANR shares in multistate research award

Several ANR academics shared in the national 2015 Experiment Station Section Excellence in Multistate Research Award for a project to improve the sustainability of tree fruits. The NC-140 Research Project, “Improving Sustainability in Fruit Tree Production through Changes in Rootstock,” conducted innovative research on fruit tree rootstock genetics, production, management and economics.

UCCE specialists Scott Johnson and Ted DeJong, and Rachel Elkins, UCCE advisor in Lake and Mendocino counties, represented California at annual meetings held around the country, Canada and Mexico. Kevin Day, Johnson and DeJong led statewide trials in peaches, Johnson led apple trials, and Elkins led pear trials. UCCE advisors Joe Grant and Chuck Ingels also participated as trial cooperators in cherry and pear, respectively. DeJong and Elkins co-hosted and chaired the 2015 NC-140 Regional Rootstock Project Annual Meeting, attended by about 40 national collaborators.

The NC-140 Research Project has been in existence since the 1970s, and the award recognizes the project's large body of work contributed by many researchers.

NC-140 recommendations have resulted in earlier returns, greater yields, and higher fruit quality, with a financial benefit to U.S. fruit tree producers of at least $250 million. Less easily measured benefits, such as averted losses and enhanced environmental quality, likely increase the financial value of NC-140 to well beyond $500 million over the next five years.

For example, adoption of NC-140 recommended dwarfing rootstocks will result in a 50 percent reduction in canopy volume and reduce pesticide usage by half on 200,000 acres, providing net environmental benefits and savings of $150 million in pesticide application costs. With NC-140 recommended rootstocks, it is expected that yields will increase by 20 percent per acre, fruit size will increase by 10 percent and tree losses due to disease will decline by 10 percent.

The Experiment Station Section Excellence in Multistate Research Award, given annually, provides NC-140 an additional $15,000 in additional funding. A permanent plaque will be displayed at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in Washington, DC.

Elkins, Lucas and Pittenger win ASHS awards

ANR members won two awards from the American Society for Horticultural Science Extension Division for Outstanding Extension Education Materials.

Rachel Elkins, UCCE advisor, and Ray Lucas, ANR videographer, won the 2015 Outstanding Video Award for “Budding, Grafting and Planting Walnut Trees.”

“There have been over 100,000 views, the most of any UC ANR video, ever,” said Elkins.

The video can be viewed at It is also in the ANR catalog

As editor of the California Master Gardener Handbook, Dennis Pittenger accepted the ASHS Outstanding Book Award for the comprehensive reference on basic horticulture

The award is based on the book's completeness and accuracy of information, appropriateness for its intended audience, organization, attractiveness, originality/uniqueness and correctness of grammar. 

“This award is very meaningful and speaks to the technical merit and usability of the book because the judges are Cooperative Extension colleagues of other universities across the U.S.,” said Pittenger, UCCE area environmental horticulture advisor for Los Angeles County based at UC Riverside. “It verifies the quality of content provided by the 24 authors and co-authors and the production quality provided by ANR Communication Services.”

This is the second time the California Master Gardener Handbook has received this award from ASHS, as the 1st edition also received the award in 2002. The handbook is the leading Master Gardener training support publication nationally. 

Authors included Pamela M. Geisel; Ben Faber; James Walworth; Deborah D. Giraud; Deborah Silva; Janet Hartin; Demetrios G. Kontaxis; Richard H. Molinar; Julie P. Newman; Ralph Gay; M. Ali. Harivandi; Donald R. Hodel; Nancy Garrison; Paul M. Vossen; Delbert S. Farnham; Mark Bolda; Donald J. Merhaut; Carol Lovatt; Mikeal Roose; Georgios Vidalakis; Berthold O. Bergh; Akif Eskalen; John F. Karlik and Judith A. Alsop.

The ASHS awards were presented Aug. 4, 2015, at the ASHS annual conference in New Orleans.

[Editor's note: We're a bit tardy in reporting the 2015 ASHS awards.]


Posted on Saturday, July 30, 2016 at 9:02 AM

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