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Baur named Western IPM Center director

Matt Baur

After leading the Western Integrated Pest Management Center through the global COVID crisis as acting director, Matt Baur has been named permanent director effective July 1 to lead the center into the post-pandemic future.

Baur, an IPM practitioner and entomologist by training, had been the Western IPM Center's associate director since 2014. 

“Like everyone, the center had to change the way we worked during the pandemic and some of those changes are likely to continue into our future,” Baur predicted. “The region we serve in the West is huge – Guam to Colorado, Alaska to New Mexico – and the remote technologies and virtual platforms we all became familiar with in 2020 can help us connect across those miles.”

Baur's goals for the center are to build on its successes and expand its outreach to serve new areas and audiences, promoting smart, safe and sustainable pest management across the region to protect the people, environment and economy of the American West. 

“The vision of the center is “A healthier West with fewer pests,'” he explained, “and that's something I care about deeply. I have two sons and promoting integrated pest management is one way I help protect their world.”

Baur sees a need to reconnect with the people who research and teach IPM, and plans to attend meetings and conferences for all the scientific disciplines involved in pest management. He also plans to expand the center's connections to communities that have been under-represented and under-served in the past.

“I believe it's vital that we not only listen to but represent all the stakeholders in the West affected by pests and pest-management practices,” Baur said. “There are voices we haven't heard and communities we haven't served well in the past, and I am very happy to have the opportunity to change that. Integrated pest management can be a way to promote environmental and social justice, and as a regional IPM center, we can be leaders in that.” 

Before joining the Western IPM Center, Baur worked as a research scientist at DuPont/Pioneer and was a research assistant professor at Louisiana State University. He received his doctorate in entomology at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and his bachelor's degree in biology from UC San Diego. He is a licensed pest control adviser in the state of California. 

Baur is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at – Steve Elliott

Shum named director of Business Operations Center

Su-Lin Shum joined UC ANR as director of the Business Operations Center June 14, 2021. Shum will oversee the consolidated Business Operations Center in Davis.

Shum brings over 25 years of experience in financial management, budget oversight, and financial operations and analysis within the UC system and beyond. Throughout her career, she has specialized in finance and business services while serving as the director of finance and business services at Sierra College, the director of budget and finance at the UC Berkeley Library, the interim assistant dean for Finance and Administration at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, and project manager and principal budget analyst at the UC Davis Budget Office.

While living in Canada, Shum served as the executive director of strategy and operations at the Pacific Carbon Trust Environmental Investment Agency and as director of corporate planning, reporting and program reviews/audits at the British Columbia Office of the Auditor General.

Shum earned an MBA from Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University, and a BA from the University of British Columbia.

Shum is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at

Kawakami named associate director of statewide programs operations and RECs

Heather Kawakami

Heather Kawakami rejoined ANR as associate director of statewide programs operations and research and extension centers on June 7.

Kawakami, who has worked for UC since 1992, served as chief business officer for the Nutrition Policy Institute in 2017 and 2018. She has also worked in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, most recently as the business unit manager for the Department of Plant Sciences.

She earned a BA in medieval studies with a minor in Latin from UC Davis.

Kawakami is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at

Haghverdi receives UCOWR Early Career Award 

Amir Haghverdi

Amir Haghverdi, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in irrigation and water management in the Environmental Sciences Department at UC Riverside, has been selected to receive the 2021 Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) Early Career Award for Applied Research. The national award recognizes outstanding early contributions in applied research related to water and promise of continued professional growth and recognition. 

Haghverdi's research focuses on developing and disseminating scientific knowledge, practical recommendations, and tools for sustainable urban and agricultural water resources management. His approaches include field research trials, laboratory analyses, and computer modeling to identify opportunities for synergy between research and extension activities. His main research themes include irrigation water management, root zone soil hydrology, and precision agriculture. He is also interested in applications of advanced data acquisition and mining techniques, including remote sensing, GIS (geographic information systems) and GPS (global positioning system) technologies, machine learning, and wireless sensors.

UCOWR is a consortium of academic institutions and affiliates invested in water resources research, education and outreach.  

4-H wins Diversity & Inclusion Award

The 2016-2019 UC 4-H Latino Initiative is the recipient of the Diversity & Inclusion: Expanding the 4-H Audience Award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals.

Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, statewide 4-H director, and 4-H advisors Steven Worker, John Borba, Claudia Diaz-Carrasco, Russell Hill, Katherine Soule and Liliana Vega, and Lupita Fabregas, former 4-H Youth Development assistant director for diversity and expansion, developed, implemented and evaluated culturally responsive program models to attract and retain Latino youth, families and volunteers into 4-H.

The project focused on seven counties – Kern, Merced, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Sonoma – selected to represent rural, suburban and urban communities. The number of Latino youth participating in the 4-H program increased more than 250% in three years. Youth enrollment statewide grew from 1.1% of the school-aged population in 2016 to 1.9% at the end of 2019. All counties achieved parity – within 80% of Latino youth in the population – by the end of year three (except Orange County which withdrew in year two). Read more about the UC 4-H Latino Initiative at

The NAE4-HYDP Diversity & Inclusion Award recognizes outstanding effort and accomplishments in achieving, expanding and/or sustaining diversity in the NAE4-HYDP organization, programs, and/or audiences.

The UC 4-H Latino Initiative team will be recognized at the NAE4-HYDP Conference in Memphis, Tenn., on November 16 or 17. 

WEDA honors California Dairy Quality Assurance Program

The Western Extension Directors Association presented a 2021 Award of Excellence to the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program - Environmental Stewardship: A Public Private Partnership.

Launched in 1997, the program is led by Deanne Meyer, UCCE livestock waste management specialist, UCCE advisors Betsy Karle, Jennifer Heguy, David Lewis, Jeffery Stackhouse, Nicholas Clark, Randi Black and Daniela Bruno, and Denise Mullinax of the California Dairy Research Foundation. 

The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is a voluntary partnership between the dairy industry, government and academia. It has been proactive in addressing environmental concerns, setting up a voluntary certification project before the adoption of water quality regulations that targeted nitrogen management. To protect California's air and water quality, more than 700 dairy farms have completed an on-site, third-party evaluation of their facility's manure management.

Uhde named Bloomberg American Health Initiative Fellow 

Katherine Uhde

Katherine Uhde, UC Master Gardener Program coordinator in Santa Clara County, has been selected as one of 50 Bloomberg fellows to receive full scholarships to earn a Master of Public Health through the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Uhde's project will focus on environmental challenges. She is working with Lucy Diekmann, UCCE urban agriculture and food systems advisor for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, to develop project ideas that address public health practice needs.

“Generally, the project will focus on environmental health and wellness in Santa Clara County and the Bay Area,” Uhde said.

U.S. Golf honors Harivandi

Ali Harivandi

Ali Harivandi, emeritus UC Cooperative Extension turfgrass advisor, recently received an Ike Grainger Award from the United States Golf Association. 

A UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulturist based in Alameda County who specialized in turf, soil and water for 33 years, Harivandi served on the USGA's Turfgrass and Environment Committee and Green Section Research Committee. He is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert on recycled water use on golf courses and other landscape sites. His expertise in soil and water quality have been important to the USGA.

Each year, the USGA presents the Ike Grainger Award to individuals who have served the Association as a volunteer for 25 years. These dedicated men and women tirelessly give back to the game through a variety of roles. 

Harivandi was instrumental in encouraging the committee to seek out research to develop warm season grasses with greater drought tolerance and grasses that will some day be able to remain green during the winter in areas where bermudagrass has historically gone dormant.

Garvey wins ACE photo awards

Award-winning image of a monarch egg by Kathy Keatley Garvey,.

Kathy Keatley Garvey, UC Davis communications specialist for UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won silver and bronze awards in a photography competition hosted by the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). ACE announced the awards June 22 at its virtual conference.

She captured the silver  with a Canon MPE-65mm lens and posted the image at Aug. 10, 2020, on her Bug Squad blog. 

“The purpose of my image is to draw attention to the dwindling monarch butterfly population,” wrote Garvey, who creates habitat for monarch butterflies in her family's pollinator garden. “They are on life support.” The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation reports that overwintering monarchs have declined 99% in coastal California since the 1990s. 

In addition to the silver award, Garvey won a bronze award for her photo series of male and female Gulf fritillaries, Agraulis vanillae, “keeping busy.”  Her post, “Fifty Shades of Orange, with a Touch of Silver,” appeared July 13, 2020, on her Bug Squad blog at

Names in the News

Jairo Diaz-Ramirez
Diaz-Ramirez joins ANR as Desert REC director

Jairo Diaz-Ramirez joined ANR on Oct. 1 as the director of the Desert Research and Extension Center.

Prior to joining ANR, Diaz-Ramirez was an assistant professor at Alcorn State University and director of the Mississippi River Research Center – Center for Ecology and Natural Resources. He oversaw the creation and execution of the center's strategic plan for research, education, public outreach and potential industrial activities. Diaz-Ramirez was program leader for the Environmental Science program and taught undergraduate and graduate courses. From 2009 to 2012, Diaz-Ramirez was assistant research professor at Mississippi State University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, where he served as co-principal investigator, co-developed the Low Impact Development Implementation Assessment Tool – LIDIA, and taught undergraduate and graduate courses.

Diaz-Ramirez earned his Ph.D. at Mississippi State University and M.S. at University of Puerto Rico, both in civil engineering with specialization in water resources. He earned his B.S. in agricultural engineering, with a focus in soil and water conservation, from National University of Colombia and is fluent in Spanish.

Based in Holtville, Diaz-Ramirez can be reached at (760) 356-3065 and

Mark Lundy
Lundy named UCCE specialist

Mark Lundy has become a UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist for grain cropping systems as of Oct. 1. He joined UCCE in 2013 as the agronomy advisor in Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties and focused his research and extension on forage crops, wheat, safflower, processing tomatoes, dry beans, corn and hybrid seed crops. Before joining ANR, he served as an extension educator for the HortCRSP Trellis Program, working with fresh market tomato growers in southern Malawi.

Lundy earned a B.A. in English from the University of Arizona. He has an M.S. in international agricultural development and Ph.D. in agronomy from UC Davis.

Based in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, Lundy can be reached at (530) 458-0575 and

Clark named cropping systems advisor

Nicholas Clark
Nicholas Clark has become a UCCE area agronomic cropping systems/nutrient management advisor as of Oct. 26. He will be serving Kings, Tulare and Fresno counties.Clark joined UCCE in 2014 as a laboratory assistant in Tulare County, then was appointed staff research associate on March 13, 2015, in Tulare County. 

As an ANR staff research associate, Clark assisted in a breeding program for fusarium wilt-resistant cotton. He worked with local growers, USDA-Agricultural Research Service and international stakeholders on field trials in Shafter, Bakersfield, Tipton and Parlier over two growing seasons. He organized and conducted full greenhouse operations, including seed-to-seed production of novel Pima, Upland and interspecific cotton germplasms and breeding families.

Prior to joining ANR, Clark was a biological science technician for USDA-ARS from 2012 to 2014, where he designed a greenhouse, plant growth chamber, bacteriological and DNA sequence experiments; statistically analyzed research results; and maintained greenhouse tomato nutrition, pest control and irrigation.

Clark completed an M.S. in plant science from California State University, Fresno, and a B.A. in cultural anthropology from UC Santa Cruz. He speaks Spanish.

Based in Hanford, Clark can be reached at (559) 852-2788 and

Lang joins Central Sierra as NFCS advisor

Kara Lang joined UC ANR on Sept. 8 as a UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor serving the Central Sierra Multi-County Partnership.

Prior to joining UCCE, Lang was serving in concurrent positions. For Fresno State University's Department of Food Science and Nutrition, she was an adjunct professor educating undergraduate, graduate students and dietetic interns developing nutrition and food science research projects.  For UC Davis California Institute for Rural Studies, Lang coordinated research activities for a USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Local Food Promotion Program in Merced County, where she designed and implemented clinical and community-based nutrition research projects, secured funding to support research initiatives, and managed research teams. For the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program, Lang was a program evaluation specialist serving as lead evaluator of nutrition education, community nutrition and food systems projects. She has experience working on state-level food policy issues as a member of the California Food Policy Council and with the California Farmers Market Consortium.

Lang completed a Ph.D. in nutritional biology and a M.S. in nutrition at UC Davis, where she conducted clinical research at the USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center. Lang earned a B.S. in nutritional physiology and metabolism from UC Berkeley. She is currently working towards certification as a registered dietitian with an anticipated completion date of 2016.

Based in San Andreas, Lang can be reached at (209) 754-6476 and

Ira joins California Naturalist

Greg Ira
Greg Ira joined ANR on Oct. 1 as an academic coordinator for the California Naturalist statewide program.Ira is involved in the planning, management and operations of the program and its many partnerships.

Ira completed a M.A. in Asian studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a B.A. in environmental studies from Prescott College in Arizona.

Prior to joining ANR, Ira worked for the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection from 2000 to 2015. His initial focus was on environmental education and he established three statewide programs: Learning in Florida's Environment Program, Florida Green School Network and Awards, and the Science, Technology and Environment teacher professional development program. In 2014, when the Sustainable Initiatives program merged with environmental education, Ira assumed oversight of three additional statewide programs: Florida Green Lodging Program, Florida Clean Vessel Act Grants, and Florida Clean Marina Program. From 1992 to 1998, he worked for the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction in the Philippines as an environmental specialist, program manager and program director for the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture program. This work involved training, the production of extension materials, and collaborative field projects with local non-governmental organizations in Asia and parts of East Africa.

Based at the ANR Building in Davis, Ira can be reached at (530) 750-1265 and

Posted on Monday, November 2, 2015 at 3:00 PM

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