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PAC welcomes 4 new members, discusses future role

From left, Cher Watte, Corinne Martinez and Celeste Cantu recently joined the PAC. Lucas Frerichs, not pictured, is also a new member.

Expanding ANR's academic footprint, leveraging citizen science and applying research to policy were on the agenda for the UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources when they met Dec. 18 in Oakland at UC Office of the President. The commissioners also discussed how to ensure the long-term success of UC ANR and the role of the PAC in helping to sustain UC's Agriculture and Natural Resources research and Extension mission. 

Jean-Mari Peltier, who succeeded Don Bransford as chair, welcomed new commissioners: Celeste Cantu, vice chair of the San Diego Water Quality Control Board; Lucas Frerichs, associate director of state policy for The Nature Conservancy; Corinne Martinez, partner in the Martinez Family Limited Partnership and Berryessa Gap Vineyards; and Cher Watte, executive director of the California Asparagus Commission. Mike Mellano, CEO of Farming for Mellano & Company, also began serving as vice chair. 

UC President Janet Napolitano was unexpectedly summoned to meet with Governor Gavin Newsom in Sacramento, so she met with the group later in the day.

From left, David Ackerly, Yana Valachovic, President Napolitano and VP Humiston.

Academic footprint 

Vice President Glenda Humiston gave the commissioners an update on UC ANR activities and plans to expand the academic footprint. Although a flat budget has constrained hiring, ANR partnered to fund nine academics, which will provide salary savings of $700,000 over 5 years. With $1.6 million from the California Department of Food and Agriculture, UC ANR hired 14 community educators for 3 years. The UC Presidential Matches leveraged six donors to provide $6 million for UC ANR endowed positions.

She showed a series of maps, explaining how UC ANR is trying to fill positions by discipline and location in the state.

Humiston lamented that most UCCE advisors serve more than one county. “Multicounty assignments are not ideal,” she said. “This is a big state -- 30 of our counties are bigger than other U.S. states. We've got to get more people out in the field.”

To meet the evolving needs of California, the division will seek to hire academics to address farm mechanization, pest management for organic agriculture, fire science,agritourism and community and economic development, in addition to current positions. 

Kathryn Uhrich, dean of UCR College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, right, visited with Napolitano.

Engaging stakeholders

To give the PAC members a broader perspective of the ways UC ANR connects with the public beyond UC Cooperative Extension advisor and community educator interactions with clientele, Humiston invited speakers from within and outside of UC ANR.

Heidi Ballard and Ryan Meyer of the UC Davis Center for Community and Citizen Science and Mark Bell, UC ANR Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, discussed opportunities for expanding citizen science with UC ANR.

Yana Valachovic, UC Cooperative Extension director and forest advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties, described how she engages stakeholders and policymakers in her region. She is an active member of the California Fire Science Consortium to educate the public – including regulatory agencies, the insurance industry and community planners -- about fire. Because of her expertise, legislators have asked Valachovic for advice in crafting policy for forest management and wildfire.

“All of our academics have expertise,” Humiston said, “but not everyone is comfortable talking to legislators.”

Anne Megaro, government and community relations director; Lorna Krkich, executive director of development services; Linda Forbes, director of strategic communications; and Jim Downing, director of publishing, described the functions of their units. 

Krkich reported an 8% increase in donations and a 79.4% growth in Giving Tuesday donations over the past two years. 

Humboldt County rancher Dina Moore speaks during the breakout session about the future role of PAC members.

Breakout sessions

The participants, seated at tables of four to six people, discussed the following questions:

1. What are your recommendations on actions needed to ensure the long-term success/sustainability of UC ANR? (including communications, programming, expanding reach, government relations, fund development, etc.)

2. What should the role of the PAC be in helping to sustain UC ANR?

3. What will make your membership/participation on this Commission personally meaningful?

Some of the recommendations for ensuring long-term success included training academics to be spokespeople, taking funders on tours to see firsthand the benefits resulting from UC ANR research and extension, and educating the new UC president about UC ANR. The commissioners also suggested crafting messages about UC ANR that are easy for the public to understand.

PAC members offered to introduce UC Cooperative Extension directors to other influencers and to tell people about the value of UC ANR. They asked to receive information about UC ANR activities more often than the biannual meetings and Connected newsletters, including calls for specific actions that PAC members could take to help.

Deans Helene Dillard, David Ackerly, Kathryn Uhrich and Michael Lairmore gave campus updates, then the commissioners met with President Napolitano at her residence. 

Several people asked Napolitano about the search for her successor. She explained the presidential search process and encouraged the PAC members to participate in the town halls and to submit their suggestions for criteria for candidates to UCPresidentSearch@ucop.edu.

The PAC will meet next in the spring.

 

Luawanna Hallstrom thanked Napolitano for her dedication and service as UC president.
Posted on Friday, January 24, 2020 at 4:06 PM

Clif Bar invests in UC’s first organic research institute

The California Organic Institute will accelerate the development and adoption of effective tools and practices for organic production of almonds and other crops.

The University of California system's first-ever institute for organic research and education will be established in UC ANR with a $500,000 endowment gift from Clif Bar & Company and $500,000 in matching funds from UC President Janet Napolitano. 

The California Organic Institute will accelerate the development and adoption of effective tools and practices for organic farmers and those transitioning to organic by building on the capabilities of UC ANR's Cooperative Extension and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. Although organic is the fastest growing sector of the food economy, funding for research has lagged far behind support for conventional agriculture. Farmers interested in transitioning to organic or improving performance of their organic systems often lack the guidance they need to succeed.

“California's organic farmers already benefit from UC ANR's pest management, irrigation and crop production research, and this partnership with Clif Bar will give UC more capacity to focus on challenges specific to organic farming,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president of agriculture and natural resources. “UC Cooperative Extension advisors work directly with farmers throughout the state so new organic farming techniques can be applied quickly.”

The California Organic Institute is Clif Bar's third organic research endowment and the first in its home state of California, where the company sources several key organic ingredients. Clif Bar is not alone in sourcing from the state, which has the most organic farms in the U.S.: California's nearly 3,000 certified organic farms grow crops on land that represents 21% of all U.S. certified organic land.

“The California Organic Institute will serve many of the organic producers we depend on for ingredients like almonds and figs, as well as farmers outside our supply chain,” said Lynn Ineson, vice president of Sustainable Sourcing for Clif Bar. “We recognize that the future of our food company depends on the ecological and economic success of organic and transitioning farmers.”

Recruitment for an institute director will begin in early 2020, with a search committee including industry representatives and partners. The director will work with a permanent advisory committee, Clif Bar, and UC ANR to launch the institute and recruit additional like-minded partners to support its long-term success.

Ultimately, with the support of UC ANR and a constellation of partners, the California Organic Institute will be in a strong position to increase the performance of organic farming for improved stewardship of natural resources, the economic well-being of rural communities, and greater stability for the next generation of California farmers.

 

Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 4:18 PM
  • Author: Linda Forbes
Tags: January 2020 (11), Organic (2)

UC ANR fundraising stars prove there really is ‘FUN’ in fundraising

The Nutrition Policy Institute's Research to Action newsletter makes supporters feel really good about the work NPI is doing.
Add fundraising to your long list of job responsibilities and budget woes, and it can make you want to run screaming in the other direction.

But it doesn't have to! UC ANR's Development Services team is here to partner with you. Whether you have a project that needs funding, need advice on a donor, or want to participate in a giving day campaign, our team is here to share best practices, provide tools and work with you to be successful.

The Development Services team wants to recognize the success of several recent partnerships — programs and individuals who see the potential impact of donor dollars in supporting UC ANR's important work.

Danielle Lee at Nutrition Policy Institute deserves a shout out for her new Research to Action newsletter format. It hits many of the highpoints that we look for because it makes supporters feel really good about the work NPI is doing, and it has a clear call to action, providing readers the opportunity to donate. It is not a solicitation, but it makes it easy for someone to take that step if they choose. 

Giving Tuesday All Stars

The 2019 Giving Tuesday campaign was another opportunity to “lean in” to fundraising; we'd like to recognize just a few of the #GT All Stars:

Best 1st Time Performer:                                               Sustainable Ag Research & Education Program

Best Use of Personal Network:                                       Ricky Satomi, Forest Ed. & Outreach

Best Use of Campaign Materials:                                    UC Master Gardeners of Los Angeles

Get On Board Award:                                                    Master Food Preservers, San Bernardino

Insomniac Award (most gifts after midnight):                 4-H, Glenn County

Outstanding Photo:                                                       4-H, Sacramento County

Team Spirit Award (matched her staff giving):                Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty

4-H Youth Development in Sacramento County had an outstanding photo to promote its program on Giving Tuesday.

In addition to these All Stars, we want to thank the Statewide UC Master Gardeners and 4-H teams for being “Perfect Partners” in working to promote Giving Tuesday across the state. And we recognize the President's Advisory Commission, senior leadership and the 4-H Foundation Board for being “Match Makers” and giving $40,000 in incentive funds to motivate and double donor dollars.

Yes, fundraising takes effort. But know we are here to help. We're grateful for your partnership, but the ultimate reward comes when we engage donors to support the work we do to improve the lives of all Californians.

Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 2:31 PM
  • Author: Emily Delk, Director of Annual Giving and Donor Stewardship

Strategic Initiative Brief: video clinics, Knowledge Stream & thematic websites

Strategic Initiatives leaders will host workshops to create "how-to" videos.

Our digital journey: progress on video clinics, the Knowledge Stream blog and thematic websites.

Video clinics moving ahead - interested? 

Stay tuned for two Strategic Initiative-sponsored "how to" video clinics in April - one in the north and one in the south. We expect to train around 20 participants per clinic. 

What next? 5 steps to increased impact:

Step 1: an email to all from the SI leaders inviting indications of interest to participate 

Step 2: a pre-clinic webinar to learn the basics of storyboarding, branding, titling and describing videos, and more (applicable to all) 

Step 3: two days of hands-on experience, working with others on how to produce 1-5 minute branded “how-to” videos

Step 4: development of an online course and other resources to support on-going video production 

Step 5: people share with colleagues, using what they learn and upload. Best practices for uploading to the UC ANR YouTube channel (Strategic Communications will begin some serious curating and reorganization of our YouTube channel to facilitate discoverability of content). 

Currently available resources (please share if you have other good resources):

Strat Comm communications toolkit

For more information about the video clinics, Contact David Lile and David Lewis

Trivia Question: What is our top-viewed video with more than 1.5 million views? 

(Answer: Bed Bugs in Spanish)

Knowledge Stream blog and thematic websites

Join the movement: contribute!

The Knowledge Stream helps people find practical, "how-to" information. Submit a short story (200-800 words with picture and URL links) here. Stories will appear in the Knowledge Stream Blog and in the main web site Focus Areas. Stories may also appear on the home page tiles and in social media posts.

Focused, thematic websites like the UC IPM site are effective in delivering research-based, how-to information. Two other thematic sites are being further developed: Fire and Healthy Soils. Feedback and suggestions welcome. Please also share your suggestions for other potential thematic sites with the SI leaders. 

For more:

Fire: Max Moritz or Ricky Satomi

Soils: Mark Bell

SI leadership team: 

Posted on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 3:19 PM
  • Author: Mark Bell

Placer-Nevada wins Healthy over the Holidays group challenge

Congratulations to Placer-Nevada UC Cooperative Extension. The office's Staff Assembly Ambassador, Annette Cosgrove, submitted the winning entry to the Healthy over the Holiday's photo contest.

UCCE Placer-Nevada Healthy Over the Holidays Challenge 2019 by Annette Cosgrove.

Cosgrove led the staff and academics at Placer and Nevada UCCE in taking five group walks, two Zumba sessions, a holiday party using reusable utensils and a hallway chair race on a rainy day. The prize is an assortment of California-grown healthy goodies from Circle K Country Store in Fowler.

First runner-up in the contest was a photo collage of members of the Houston Wilson lab at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Staff research associate Jessia Maccaro (pictured in the lower left corner of the photo collage) leads staff in a daily yoga practice in the winter to get everyone in the right frame of mind for working together inside the lab.

Members of the Houston Wilson lab at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center practice yoga.

"Healthy over the Holidays was designed to remind us that wellness should encompass all pieces of our lives from mindfulness practices to dedicating time for meaningful relationships,” said Kaela Plank, chair of the UC ANR Staff Assembly wellness committee. “The feedback we have received from this year's program has been overwhelmingly positive. Our committee is excited to continue to improve this program in order to meet the needs of the ANR community.”

Individual participants took home prizes, while all 168 UC ANR staff who signed up to be Healthy over the Holidays were winners. They received weekly emails with encouragement to eat healthy, get physical activity and take care of their mental health during a time when many people set their health goals aside until the New Year.

Almost half of the participants submitted the completion survey. Of those, 87% reported making one positive change – such as practicing mindfulness, making time for their hobbies, choosing to eat more fruits and vegetables, and getting more sleep. Seventy-four percent of respondents said they enjoyed the holistic approach and 72% enjoyed the newsletter. One office has committed to continuing their weekly walks in 2020. 

The individual winners of Healthy over the Holidays were picked randomly from the participants who filled out the completion survey. Javier Miramontes and Keilani Cordero won Fitbits and Elizabeth Gong won a bamboo cutting board.

Posted on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 9:37 AM

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