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Posts Tagged: Jim Downing

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Delk joins Development Services

Emily Delk

Emily Delk joined the Development Services team in August as the director of Annual Giving and Donor Stewardship Programs.

She brings fundraising and event planning experience from a broad background of nonprofit organizations including the Crocker Art Museum, Sutter Health, and Fairytale Town. Earlier this year, Delk was selected as one of 10 development professionals to compete for cash and in-kind support through a public-speaking program called Fast Pitch, where she earned high praise and won top prizes.

She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in communications from Chapman University in Orange.

Delk is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1346 and eddelk@ucanr.edu

Eskalen moves to UC Davis

Akif Eskalen

Akif Eskalen, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist whose research focuses on plant pathology at UC Riverside, has accepted a new position at UC Davis. He will be filling the position of his late mentor, Doug Gubler. From now on, he will work on grapes, strawberries, caneberries, blueberries and other tree fruits.

“Akif has been instrumental in bringing new light to the understanding of such basic disease problems as citrus twig and shoot dieback, citrus botryosphaeria branch canker, citrus dry root rot and ‘Fukumoto' foamy bark (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/citrusdiseases.html),” wrote Ben Faber, UCCE advisor in Ventura County, in the Topics for Subtropics blog. “He has cleared up the mysteries surrounding avocado black streak, dothiorella branch canker and avocado stem and leaf blight. His studies have also covered oak diseases that are exacerbated by invasive pests (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/handouts/oakwoodlandsdiseasesmanagement.pdf).”

Eskalen and John Kabashima, UCCE advisor emeritus, recently received the Award of Arboricultural Research from the Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture, recognizing their research on the polyphagous shot hole borer, a beetle that is causing severe fusarium dieback damage to avocado and landscape trees in Southern California (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/pshb.html).

Eskalen can be reached at 267 Hutchison Hall at UC Davis and aeskalen@ucdavis.edu.

Hoddle and Stouthamer elected ESA fellows

Mark Hoddle, left, and Richard Stouthamer

Mark Hoddle and Richard Stouthamer have been elected 2018 fellows of the Entomological Society of America, the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and individuals in related disciplines.

Hoddle and Stouthamer are among 10 new fellows elected by the Governing Board of the ESA, an honor that acknowledges outstanding contributions to entomology in research, teaching, extension and outreach, administration or the military.

Hoddle, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist and director of UC Riverside's Center for Invasive Species Research, is known for his work on the biological control of invasive arthropods that adversely affect agricultural, urban and wilderness areas.

Stouthamer, a UC Riverside professor of entomology, is known for his research on wolbachia, invasive species and insect-transmitted plant pathogens.

The fellows will be recognized during Entomology 2018, the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada and British Columbia, Nov. 11-14, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Merenlender elected California Academy of Sciences fellow 

Adina Merenlender
UC Cooperative Extension specialist and UC Berkeley adjunct professor Adina Merenlender has been elected a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. She will be formally inducted on Oct. 9 during the Fellows Annual Meeting and Gathering in San Francisco. The Fellows of the California Academy of Sciences are a group of distinguished scientists, nominated and appointed in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the natural sciences. Fellows help extend the academy's positive impact on research, public engagement and education through individual and collaborative efforts with academy researchers and staff.

In a nominating letter, UC Berkeley biology professor Claire Kremen called Merenlender “an accomplished and impactful conservation biologist.”

Merenlender's work spans an array of topics, from genes to ecosystems and single species management to regional land use planning. Currently she is involved in three main research efforts:

  • Land use planning to support biodiversity conservation and climate resilience in California oak woodlands
  • Watershed restoration and sustainable watershed management in Mediterranean ecosystems
  • Development of effective citizen science and amateur naturalist and steward training programs with lasting benefits for biodiversity conservation

According to the academy, the scientists elected as fellows have shown strong evidence of world-class impact, measured through publications, discoveries and awards. Merelender has published more than 80 papers in conservation biology, including co-writing the book “Corridor Ecology: the science and practice of linking landscapes for biodiversity conservation.” In 2016, Merenlender was recognized for her extension and outreach when she won the UC ANR Distinguished Service Award.

In its selection criteria for fellows, the academy notes that potential candidates are engaged in science communication efforts.

Merenlender is founder and director of the UC California Naturalist program. The program launched in 2012 with five partner institutions and has grown into a network of more than 37 partners. They have collectively offered more than 100 certification courses, training 1,864 naturalists who have contributed more than 100,000 volunteer hours, reaching 53,000 people.

Building on the success of the California Naturalist program, Merenlender is designing a Climate Stewards program to provide outreach, training and engagement with diverse audiences on climate change science and policy. The Climate Stewards advisory team has set the goal of launching the program in 2019.

“As an extension scientist, (Merenlender) is strongly attuned to the importance of conducting research with direct relevance to contemporary environmental challenges and to connecting research with conservation on the ground,” wrote UC Berkeley professor David Ackerly in a letter seconding Merenlender's nomination to be a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. – Jeannette Warnert

UC communicators bring home gold, silver and bronze

Steve Elliot, left, of the Western IPM Center, and Diane Nelson the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences won multiple communications awards.

Six communicators affiliated with UC Davis and UC ANR received a total of 10 awards for excellence from the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE).

They brought home five gold or first-place awards: three silver or second-place awards; and two bronze or third-place awards. “That was quite a haul!” commented an ACE member on Facebook.

Diane Nelson, communication specialist with the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, won two golds. One was for promotional writing, “Weighing Pig Personality,” (https://bit.ly/2KDdYmQ), featuring animal science professor Kristina Horback's pioneering research examining the role personality plays in the welfare and sustainable production of pigs. The second gold was for web writing, “The Last Stop: When There's Nowhere Colder to Go,” (https://bit.ly/2M6iOOR), spotlighting research by animal science professor Anne Todgham, who studies how climate change affects polar species. Both of Nelson's submissions drew perfect scores from the judges.

Kathy Keatley Garvey, communication specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won gold for best newswriting, “Why These Youngsters Want to Become Entomologists” (https://bit.ly/2sYwhye), about children of California migratory workers touring the Bohart Museum of Entomology and then staging a press conference to interview director Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology. Judges awarded the news story a perfect score. Garvey also received a silver in the writing-for-the-web category for her Bug Squad blog post, “Once Upon a Monarch” (https://bit.ly/2BrePU5). She writes the blog, launched in 2008, every night, Monday through Friday, on the UC ANR website.

Jim Downing picked up an ACE gold award for California Agriculture journal.
Jim Downing, executive editor of California Agriculture, the peer-reviewed journal of UC ANR, won gold in the magazine division (http://calag.ucanr.edu). California Agriculture is a quarterly peer-reviewed journal reporting research, reviews and news on California's agricultural, natural and human resources. First published in December 1946, it is one of the country's oldest, continuously published, land-grant university research publications.

David Slipher, director of marketing and communications for the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, won gold for best picture story for his piece on “Pigeon Parenting” (https://bit.ly/2KCfCoN), focusing on research from the Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez lab. Calisi Rodríguez is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior.

Steve Elliot, communication coordinator for the Western Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center, won two silvers and a bronze: a silver for his photo essay, “America's Arctic Agriculture: Growing Crops, Managing Pests and Monitoring Invasives in Alaska” (https://bit.ly/2OS2Vtc); silver for the diversity awards video category, “Gold Spotted Oak Borer: A Threat to California's Oaks” (https://youtu.be/In2e5atd3ZY); and a bronze for the Western IPM Center's monthly newsletter, “The Western Front” (https://bit.ly/2M5mL6s). The center, a USDA-funded program, aims to promote smart, safe and sustainable pest management to protect the people, environment and economy of the American West, encompassing 17 western states and territories.

Gregory Watry, science writer for the College of Biological Sciences, won a bronze award in the “Writing for Diverse Audiences” (https://bit.ly/2M4Nq3o) in a diversity awards category. The story described undergraduate research opportunities in Calisi Rodriguez's lab.

ACE is a worldwide association of communicators, educators and information technologists, offers professional development and networking for individuals who extend knowledge about agriculture, natural resources, and life and human sciences. The awards were presented Aug. 7 at the 2018 Ag Media Summit held in Scottsdale, Ariz., where ACE members joined forces with U.S. crop and livestock news media professionals. – Kathy Keatley Garvey

Posted on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at 5:42 PM

Downing to lead Publishing and Production

Jim Downing
Jim Downing has been chosen to lead Communications Services and Information Technology's publishing group, succeeding Ann Senuta, who retired June 28 as director of Publishing and Production. 

Senuta joined UC ANR in 1994 after serving as an external member of the ad hoc review committee tasked to evaluate the future of publishing in the Division. She helped shape the Communication Services unit, which, in its early days, concentrated on publishing and gradually expanded to address the Division's growing information technology and strategic communications needs. With academics from the Communications Advisory Board, Senuta helped formulate all aspects of the ANR peer-review process, which ensures that ANR's education materials are accurate, useful and timely. With her staff, Senuta created a professional unit that produced, published, and marketed ANR research in awarding-winning books, online publications, California Agriculture journal, and provided attractive visual services of graphic design, photography and videography.

Senuta credits her creative staff, the committed scientists of ANR and her two supervisors – former CSIT executive director Bob Sams and AVP Tu Tran – for challenging and inspiring her. “When my son was little, he asked what I did at my job,” she said. “I told him that I help our scientists explain to Californians how to grow more food, use fewer chemicals, eat healthier and keep the land protected. That simplistic explanation has been my motivation for 24 years.”

David Lewis, chair of the Communications Advisory Board, congratulates Ann Senuta on her retirement.

In his new role, Downing will provide leadership of UC ANR publishing and advance Division strategic, business and operational objectives. Advised by the Communications Advisory Board, he will direct all phases of academic peer review, editorial planning and production for California Agriculture journal, print and electronic ANR publications, visual communications and, as appropriate, strategic communications materials. He will also manage the unit's professional staff, budget and physical resources.

Downing has served ANR for 3½ years as California Agriculture executive editor, steering the journal to its recent first-place award in the Periodicals category by the Association for Communications Excellence, the international professional association for agricultural communicators, educators and information technologists. Before joining UC ANR, Downing was the Sacramento Bee's agriculture, energy and climate reporter, and he produced publications on natural resources and agriculture for agency, NGO and corporate clients. He received a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering from Cornell University and master's degrees in energy and resources and in environmental engineering, both from UC Berkeley.

 

 

 

Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 5:55 PM

MSAP helps managers hone their leadership skills

Jaci Westbrook
Two ANR employees attended the April 2016 Management Skills Assessment Program (MSAP) at the UCLA Conference Center at Lake Arrowhead. Jaci Westbrook, community education supervisor for the UC CalFresh program in Stanislaus County, and Jim Downing, executive editor for California Agriculture journal, were selected for the professional development.

The goal of MSAP is to address skill gaps and grow competencies that will prepare people for future management opportunities in their UC workplaces.

During the four-day program, Westbrook and Downing participated in simulated UC management scenarios, received behavioral feedback from MSAP assessors, attended a career development workshop and connected with colleagues from throughout the UC system.

Before they arrived, Westbrook and Downing participated in pre-assessment activities and will be involved post-program activities to continue their professional development.

Jim Downing
Both participants reported positive experiences with the program.

“Being able to participate in the Managerial Skills Assessment Program was very intense,” Westbrook said. “However, it was also positively amazing. I'm extremely thankful to be given an opportunity to focus on my professional skills that are necessary as I continue to grow as a manager. Being in a beautiful location, dedicating time for professional growth away from the day-to-day duties, and connecting with other UC managers permitted me reflection and access to mindfulness on how I will use the experience after the assessment program. The positive coaching and feedback makes the program unique. I recommend all managers take part in MSAP.”

Downing expressed similar sentiments. “It was an intense and enlightening experience,” he said. “It has already made me a better manager. It was also a great opportunity to make connections with campus-based managers and spread the word about ANR's work.”

John Borba
Jodi Azulai, ANR learning and development coordinator, credits much of the success of the MSAP to the assessors – people who provide participants with feedback about their strengths and areas to develop – who also serve as mentors to program participants after the program.

“A big THANK YOU is due John Borba, 4-H Youth Development advisor from UCCE in Kern County,” Azulai said. “John served for three very full days as the ANR assessor this April, as well as taking the assessor training.”

“It was a mind-expanding experience for the assessees and the assessor,” Borba said. “It also reinforced to me that some of the issues they need to address are also issues I personally need to address.”

The next MSAP will be held Oct. 10-13, 2016. Application announcements will be made in early June. We strongly recommend that department heads, unit leaders and directors discuss the program with supervisors and managers who exhibit potential for management development and encourage them to apply.

Posted on Monday, May 16, 2016 at 6:19 PM

Names in the News

Mike Janes
Janes to lead ANR Strategic Communications

Dear Colleagues,

Please join me in welcoming our new Strategic Communications Director to ANR.  Mike Janes comes to us from the Sandia National Laboratory in Livermore where he has been the Communications and Media Relations Officer for over ten years. His extensive experience with communicating science to a wider audience is a skill that will greatly benefit ANR. 

As you all know, we are heavily involved with many of the President's Initiatives – Food, Carbon Neutrality and Mexico. In support of these initiatives, we have an opportunity to share the research and program delivery stories from our academics all over the state of California. Mr. Janes is arriving at a critical time to help us leverage these opportunities, and showcase the exceptional work of ANR.

Mr. Janes also led the lab's Diversity and Inclusion Action Planning Team, and we look forward to having him engage with our own efforts to ensure that ANR has a welcoming and inclusive work environment. Earlier in his career, Mr. Janes worked as the Media Relations Director for the American Institute of Architects, and as the Senior Media Relations Manager for Special Olympics International.

Mr. Janes is an Air Force veteran and has an M.A in strategic communication and leadership and a B.A. in broadcast communications. He will be based in Davis and starts on February 2, 2015.

Sincerely,

Barbara Allen-Diaz
Vice President

George Zhuang
Zhuang named UCCE viticulture advisor

Shijian (George) Zhuang joined UCCE on Jan. 2 as a viticulture advisor in Fresno County. His background is in Viticulture and Enology, Food Science and Horticultural Science. Zhuang's research focuses on wine, raisin and table grapes.

Prior to joining UCCE, Zhuang was a viticulture intern at E & J Gallo Winery where he worked on several research projects that included precision viticulture and differential irrigation. This experience provided him a greater understanding about viticulture and vineyard management in the Central Valley and the needs and future challenges of the grape industry, such as limited water availability, labor shortage and invasive pest species. From 2009 to 2012, Zhuang was a master graduate research assistant at Michigan State University where he participated in research projects such as experimental trials of new varieties (NE 10-20), early leaf removal on pinot noir, foliar nitrogen application on chardonnay and crop and canopy management on concord grapes. Zhuang also worked on canopy microclimate management and crop load manipulation in order to improve fruit quality. During his research study, Zhuang gained skills in the analysis of different chemical components, such as anthocyanins and phenolics, in grapes and wines as well as grape flavor chemistry components such as methoxypyrazines.

Zhuang earned a B.S. in viticulture and enology from China Agricultural University, Beijing, China, and a M.S. in horticulture from Michigan State University. His master's thesis focused on the impact of viticultural practices (crop load and canopy management) on fruit quality of cabernet franc grapevines grown under cool climate conditions.

Zhuang can be reached at (559) 241-7506 and gzhuang@ucdavis.edu.

Jim Downing
Downing named Cal Ag editor

Jim Downing is California Agriculture journal's new executive editor. Downing, who joined UC on Jan. 12, is familiar with UC Cooperative Extension from his years covering agriculture, energy and climate policy for the Sacramento Bee. He even read California Agriculture as an undergrad at Cornell University.

Until joining UC ANR, he was principal in Jim Downing Consulting, where he wrote and produced publications on science, natural resources, policy and management for clients such as the Nature Conservancy, the Water Education Foundation and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Besides his Bee reporting, Downing has professional experience in agriculture, with international fellowships in water reuse and reclamation and in rural and urban water quality. He has two master's degrees from UC Berkeley, one in civil and environmental engineering and the other in energy and resources.

In his new position, Downing will oversee California Agriculture's content, quality, accuracy and strategic direction, planning and producing issues that speak to the journal's educated and cross-disciplinary readers.

Downing can be reached at jdowning@ucanr.edu and (530) 750-1352.

UCCE nutrition honored in Kings County

The UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program in Kings County was honored as the Most Outstanding Support Agency at the 2014 Kings Prevention Awards. UC CalFresh community educator Sue Lafferty and UC CalFresh program representative Denise Cuendett accepted the award at a breakfast program on Dec. 4 in Hanford. The Kings Prevention Awards were presented by a local coalition called the Kings Partnership for Prevention.

 

Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 11:33 AM
 
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